Colonial America and the militia

In a recent letter in the Times by Gabby Talkington, the writer expressed amusement at some interpretations of the Second Amendment. But his own letter is filled with more than a little high comedy.

He artfully quoted the Second Amendment: "The right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed." However, he left out the part that refutes his argument. The Second Amendment is quoted as follows: "A well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed."

Like most Second Amendment absolutists, he leaves out the part that, indeed, states that gun ownership may be regulated.

The militia was a big deal in Colonial America. It did not mean a bunch of guys who shoot on the weekends. It meant an organized paid military unit that provided a badge of office. By banning militias, the British struck a blow at an organ of local government and the right of self-government itself.

Despite the myth, our freedoms were not won by the Minutemen. They were earned by the professionals trained by Baron von Steuben and the Marquis de Lafayette.

Harold Franklin

Richmond

Medicare for all would be best

Soon many Americans will be shopping on the newly created health care exchanges.


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Only after choosing an insurance company will they be able to turn to picking providers of their health care. This process could be simplified and made more efficient by merely expanding the Medicare model.

Think of all the money that could be saved by eliminating wasteful marketing costs. Then add the unnecessary profit margins insurance companies squeeze out of the process. All that money could be used to cover a wider range of medical services.

If we finally acknowledge health care as a right and all join one large, common insurance pool, we would eliminate the incentive for profiteers to cherry-pick the market to pad their bottom line. This streamlining would address the wastefulness that makes ours the most costly health care system in the world.

Medicare for all.

Dr. John M. Lee

Walnut Creek

There are ways to save money

This year brought several notable reports that shed a light on how much is wasted in North America.

Examples: 40 percent of food in the United States goes uneaten and $11.4 billion worth of recyclable packaging was landfilled in 2010.

Doctors Medical Center San Pablo has been facing shortfalls in money for years. I must ask, is the operation of the hospital really aware of ways to save money? For example, $5.4 billion could be saved in the health care industry over five years if hospitals would switch to more sustainable practices, such as better segregating waste and switching to reprocessed devices instead of single-use devices in the operating room.

Len Battaglia

El Sobrante

Do not blame murders on rifles

According to the FBI's Uniform Crime Report of 2011, 6,220 murders were committed with handguns.

The killers used a rifle of any kind on only 323 people. And while assault rifle murders aren't split out, it's safe to assume it's less than the 323. So it's probably a safe assumption to say assault-style rifles were used in less than 2 percent of all murders in this country in 2011.

The report goes on to further say that in 2011, knives were used in 1,694 murders. Fists and feet were used in 728 murders, and blunt objects -- like clubs, bats and hammers -- were used in 496 murders.

There are millions of assault-style weapons owned by good law-abiding citizens who will never harm anyone and only enjoy using them for target practice.

Our society should look elsewhere to solve the murder rate in this country and not focus on the out-of-the-ordinary case such as Newtown, Conn., to justify taking our gun rights away.

Richard Henne

Pleasant Hill