State their cases

EDITOR: We go for long periods of time frustrated that certain things in our society need fixing, but resign ourselves to accepting that this is the way things are.

Then all of a sudden events intervene and what seemed impossible now becomes possible.

During the country's history there have been a few individuals who have exerted a power over our lives that defy comprehension.

Today, two such individuals come to mind, namely Grover Norquist, president of Americans for Tax Reform, and Wayne LaPierre, executive vice president and chief executive officer of the National Rifle Association.

Both individuals have been in the news lately due to events in the news. I refer to the debate in Congress over the fiscal cliff and the controversy over gun control.

Mr. Norquist and Mr. LaPierre are both unelected individuals who wield a great deal of influence over our legislators.

How do they do this?

Grover Norquist accomplishes his control over politicians by having them sign a "Taxpayers Protection Pledge," in which the signer promises to "oppose any and all efforts to increase the marginal income tax for individuals and businesses and to oppose any reduction or elimination of deductions and credits, unless matched dollar for dollar by further reducing tax rates."

Once a politician has signed the pledge, if he violates it he earns the wrath of the Americans For Tax Reform, but more importantly faces the threat that ATR will use their many millions to defeat the violator at the polls.

As for Wayne LaPierre, his power stems from the fact that the NRA uses its many millions to oppose anyone who advocates gun control legislation. Total NRA assets at the end of 2004 were $222,841,128.

What happens when a pledge is made to an unelected individual that is in conflict with the oath of office of an elected official upon taking office? Some elected officials have recently answered that question by publicly stating that they no longer feel bound by a "Taxpayer Protection Pledge" taken years ago.

Is it possible that we are at a turning point in which the power of the above named individuals and their organizations can be challenged?

If so, I suggest the best way is for the media to allow Mr. Norquist and Mr. LaPierre to state their case and submit to questions regarding their respective organizations specifically as it relates to their funding.

One can only hope.

David A. Fortune

Athens

Here's an idea...

EDITOR: There is no solution to the problem of disturbed individuals' deadly attacks on society that can be found through passage of new firearms legislation.

The laws prohibiting premeditated multiple homicides would have prevented the recent attacks if laws were the solution.

The National Rifle Association's suggestion of providing trained armed guards to our school is also not a solution. But when attacks occur, (As they will, regardless of any measure passed to appease constituencies that something is being done), their rational alternative of armed guards in our schools does have a good chance of eliminating the problem when it occurs.

At present we have thousands of trained people with real world experience in confronting terrorists available for service in every school. They only need to be recalled from their resented presence in outposts of our empire and put to better use.

A transition to an understandable objective would provide the added benefit to these men and women of not being traumatized by their reckless expenditure in pursuit of an ill-conceived projection of power.

Ronald C. Young

Troy