Congress should regulate guns

The Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution concludes with the words “the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.” This was ratified in 1791, when the arms in question were single-shot, muzzle-loading muskets and pistols. The Founding Fathers had never heard of revolvers or repeating rifles, much less semi-automatic and automatic rifles and pistols, machine guns, or grenade launchers. Nor had they heard of extended magazines, which can be used to transform semi-automatic rifles into weapons of mass destruction. Is it likely that they would have approved common ownership of these powerful modern weapons?

The Founding Fathers began the Second Amendment with the words “A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State.” Surely these words give Congress authority to regulate the sale and ownership of guns and ammunition. For example, Congress could prohibit the sale, importation, or ownership of firearms that could shoot more than, say, 10 rounds without manual reloading. It could require a license (like a driver’s license) to buy ammunition. It could ban silencers and armor-piercing bullets. And it could certainly mandate a background check for anyone purchasing a gun. While it might be difficult to enforce such laws, they would also make it harder to commit criminal acts with guns.

Karl K. Norton

Bangor

A love of cribbage

We Mainers love to play cribbage. I have childhood memories of many a game of cribbage in the back room of my grandfather’s grocery story in the Little Italy neighborhood of Millinocket.

I didn’t learn to play cribbage until well into my 20s. I wanted to learn the game so that I could be a worthy opponent to my dad. Having played for about 70 years, my dad, Richard, is a master cribbage player. And he wins often. Many competitors have heard him say, “Nothing to be embarrassed about when you’ve been beaten by the very best!”

We often have arguments about whether cribbage is a game of luck or a game of skill. He argues for the latter, of course.

Once a cribbage player, always a cribbage player. You just never forget how to play the game. Even if you haven’t played in years, there is something so satisfying about pulling out the cribbage board, shuffling a brand-new deck of cards, and getting to it. Before we know it, daily tribulations are set aside, camaraderie returns, and hope springs eternal for the elusive 24 hand!

Cribbage is a first-rate card game. But it’s more than that. There are few moments as tender as the sight of an elderly grandparent with a precocious grandchild pegging away on a wooden board, counting and calculating their way beyond the “dead hole” to victory. Proving that a simple leisure pursuit like cribbage can serve as a link to the past and the future.

Deborah Johansen

Yarmouth

Progressives want no debate

Regarding the Nov. 8 editorial, “End Mascot Debate,” it should be cause concern to the reader that the BDN calls to end discussion on this or any subject. Is it the role of our media see itself as the presider over what may or may not be discussed by the rabble of citizenry before them?

If the progressive cause supported by this newspaper is defeated in referendum, the BDN editorial calls for widespread dialogue among disagreeing parties. But when their opinions prevail by the slightest margin, it’s time to “end the debate.”

This happened in 2009 around gay marriage. Remember the shrill wailing of BDN editorials for more “conversations.” As soon as the referendum passed by the same margin by which it had previously lost, a clear mandate was declared and the shaming of dissenters followed.

“Conversations” were no longer sought. The relativist progressives live by this code. And the cries for ending debates are glaring in that they represent intolerance of the worst kind. Ignoring the trend toward support for pro-life views is another technique this paper employs with little or no coverage of huge national and state pro-life events and issues.

Can you imagine what would take up editorial and editorial cartoon space in the BDN if the elections of Paul LePage and Donald Trump resulted in “ending the debate”? Recent election results might be disturbing to these hypocritical media progressives, but when it comes to the First Amendment, “Don’t Tread on Me” is the rallying cry of free people.

Donald Mendell

Palmyra

Keep cats indoors

I am definitely a cat person. I love them, and no one could be happier than I am that Romeo has returned to his home in Kennebunkport. Pets are family, and to have one returned that was thought lost must have been a gift beyond compare.

However, there is another side to this story. If Romeo had been an indoor cat, none of this drama would have occurred. If he had been an indoor cat, then the yellow warbler he killed just before disappearing would still be brightening the world. He lived as an indoor cat for a period of time when he was “lost.” Why not keep him inside and safe now?

Indoor cats live longer. Indoor cats are exposed to fewer diseases. And — very importantly — indoor cats kill no birds — no yellow warblers, no robins, no baby birds or others. Outdoor cats are responsible for killing approximately 2 billion songbirds a year. There are more than 74 million pet cats in the United States, with only about a third of them kept safe indoors. The rest are roaming about, and it is estimated that each one kills up to three dozen birds a year.

You may think that your outdoor cat is not a hunter, but it is what cats do. Don’t blame the cat for doing what it does, blame the fact that it is not being kept safe indoors.

I am delighted that Romeo is home. I hope his family decides to keep him indoors so not only will he be safe, but so will the yellow warblers.

Sue Shaw

Penobscot