Letters to the editor (08/29/12)

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Belief is not knowledge, and faith is not fact
Editor:
Robert Sanders seems confused (Aug. 8). Here’s a quote from Chris Hitchens that should clear up some of his uncertainty:
“Our belief is not a belief. Our principles are not a faith. We do not rely solely upon science and reason, because these are necessary rather than sufficient factors, but we distrust anything that contradicts science or outrages reason. We may differ on many things, but what we respect is free inquiry, open-mindedness, and the pursuit of ideas for their own sake.”
Belief is not knowledge. Faith is not fact. Neither is based on evidence. One does not “believe” in science.
Rather, one determines its efficacy from facts and evidence. Faith is not part of the equation.
So the term “grounds for believing and accepting them (laws of logic, probability, etc.)” is moot. You use them because they make rational sense, and because they work.

TD Hollinsworth
Belen

Read mail, vote early and work for the vote
Editor:
The vote of each and every citizen of New Mexico and across America is so important that the Republican Party is spending millions of taxpayer dollars to take away the rights of enough voters in this critical Election 2012 to ensure that the Republicans can steal the elections in states and districts that they will not otherwise win.
The 2000 presidential election was decided by the U.S. Supreme Court in their egregious Bush v. Gore decision of December 2000. Skipping all those hanging chads, George W. Bush was allotted 537 more votes than Al Gore, Jr., giving Bush 271 electoral votes and Gore 266 — quite a squeaker.
Had the Supreme Court not delivered their unconstitutional decision, Gore would have won Florida by a tiny several hundred votes and the electoral count would have jumped the other way: 293 for Gore and 244 for Bush.
That Florida election was already skewed by the 12,000 voters wrongly categorized as convicted felons and prevented from voting.
Here in New Mexico, our Secretary of State Dianna J. Duran has recently mailed out 178,000 postcards to potential expired voters. Her office made a really big mistake though in targeting Democratic voter Diane Wood, who happens to be a local officer in Common Cause, and a few other outspoken victims.
Luckily for New Mexico voters, the New Mexico Legislature made the process harder to corrupt — our state procedure is notification by postcard, status change if postcard is returned by the U.S.P.S., and then removal does not occur unless the citizen does not vote in any election in the next two years.
Ohio has been suppressing early voting by having polling locations in highly-Democratic urban precincts open only from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday thru Friday, thus preventing working citizens from voting.
In Florida, the corruption goes much deeper. The Florida Legislature cancelled the right to vote for 100,000 convicted felons this year. Republican Gov. Rick Scott ordered Secretary of State Ken Browning to compile a list of “non-citizen voters” to be purged; Browning resigned, stating that the database was not reliable in that area.
Browning’s successor compiled a list of 182,000 potential non-citizens registered to vote, along with a list of 50,000 supposed dead registered voters.
A lawsuit against the secretary of state from plaintiffs that included the non-partisan League of Women Voters asked for a temporary injunction; that filing in a Florida district court was denied; they were told to just file a lawsuit for a permanent decision.
Another district court judge then issued the permanent injunction against the state’s plan to remove voters who did not reply within 48 hours under threat of a $1,000 fine. The Department of Justice also issued a letter to the state of Florida declaring them in violation of federal law and demanding a halt to the biased voter purge.
Further evidence of the fascist corruption of American politics soon followed. The Republican-owned national media reported that Florida “won” twice in court and skipped the federal block of further action.
So naturally, Republican governors used the false news reports to justify similar voter suppression action — at taxpayer expense — in Pennsylvania, Arizona and Colorado.
On the good news side, the governors of New Hampshire and Michigan vetoed similar voter suppression laws passed by their legislatures. These laws were modelled after unconstitutional text written by Koch Brothers-funded lobbyist A.L.E.C., who are adept at purchasing state and federal politicians, including several in New Mexico.)
What can you do?
1. Read your mail closely.
2. Vote early.
3. Work locally to bring out local voters (any party) — call it anti-suppression.
4. Raise hell via the media if you are wrongly targeted.
If the Republican Party had anything of value to offer the American voter they would not have to lie and cheat and steal to win elections.

G.E. Nordell
Belen

Second amendment is still going strong
Editor:
Let me reply to Terry Mehaffey’s  emotional tirade against our Constitution and our Bill of Rights.
The NRA got political in 1964, the year I joined because one of our life members was murdered. His name President John F. Kennedy.
That is the reason I joined. I heard rumors that a plot was afoot to deny our ownership of firearms. Evidently, Mr. Mehaffey doesn’t realize that the Supreme Court has backed the second amendment against the city of Washington and the city of Chicago.
My ACLU friend, a former Valencia County resident and a retired defense attorney, has stated on more than one occasion that the highest courts in the land have decreed that the police are not required to protect us.
As for four million members, I can remember when there was less than a million. Currently the Boy Scouts of America, of which I was a member for 35 years, and also an Eagle Scout, with Bronze Palm has 2.7 million members. Of the four million NRA members, there are 40,000 in New Mexico.
If he is referring to the Aurora situation, the shooter had to have a Colorado driver’s license to purchase the fire arms. This is accepted as a government ID card and you can go through airport security with it.
As for “national conversation” regarding firearms, let me relay a couple of my personal experiences. I was  invited by the “other side” to a meeting since I was on the New Mexico Department of Health, Fire Arms Safety Committee for 12 years.
The man who signed the letter inviting me screamed and yelled at me. He was joined in the screaming and yelling by a female psychiatrist. I personally determined that she needed an anger management course.
During my time with the NMDOH, the “other side” was caught using phony statistics.  When confronted, the reply was “we don’t have time to verify every statistic.” Later, a New Mexico state senator called this same individual to task for attempting to use false information.
I remember several years ago watching Ms. Brady on TV saying, “We don’t care if you want to defend yourselves, we don’t think you need a 100 round magazine.”
First what business is it of hers? Who is we? I might need a large magazine because I’m a bad shot.
My background in brief:  certified law enforcement firearms instructor, automatic weapons instructor USMC,  Browning 30 cal. machine gun,  Browning Automatic Rifle,  PPC national competitor,  including Royal Canadian Mounted Police Academy;  New Mexico state coordinator Eddie Eagle Gunsafe Program for two decades,  trained 290,000 children kindergarten through third grade; volunteer, police shotgun range, National Police Shooting Championships, New Mexico Department of Health fire arms safety committee.

Paul Rockhold
Rio Communities

Concealed carry law is a good thing
Editor:
On July 20 in Aurora, Colo., a 24-year-old man walked in through the emergency exit at a movie theater armed with a semi-automatic rifle, a semi-automatic hand gun, and a shotgun shooting 71 people and killing 13.
On July 13 in Ocala, Fla., two 19-year-old men walked into an Internet café; one with a handgun the other with a baseball bat. The only people injured at the Internet café were the two criminals who were shot by a 71-year-old man, who had a concealed carry permit and was able to defend himself and everyone else in the café.
Unfortunately, because of the movie theater’s “no firearms” policy, no one was allowed to carry a firearm into the theater. I wonder how many lives could have been saved if someone with the proper training had been there armed with a firearm.
There are estimated to be about one to two million instances of self defense with a firearm in the United States each year, many times only displaying a firearm is enough do deter a person from committing a crime.
New Mexico’s concealed carry law was enacted in 2003. This law allows anyone that meets the criteria in the law the ability to carry a concealed firearm on their person.
The Department of Public Safety website, www.dps.nm.org, has a list of certified instructors who will be glad to assist you in obtaining your permit.
As we have seen in news reports all over the country, a violent attack can happen to anyone, anywhere, at anytime. Please consider taking advantage of the opportunity you have to protect yourself and your loved ones.
David Pounders
Bosque Farms