Mr. Stich is wrong
In his letter printed in the Viewpoints pages of the Sept. 7 issue of Dallas Voice (“Gays should support gun rights”) Frank Stich writes: “That’s what Brady is about, us losing our Second Amendment rights and our ability to defend ourselves and our government.”
Mr. Stich is wrong. The Brady Campaign is not about anyone losing their Second Amendment rights. The Brady Campaign is for passing sensible gun laws to keep firearms out of the hands of criminals and other restricted purchasers.
We believe that every purchaser of a firearm should go through a Brady background check, no exceptions. The Brady Campaign wants to see laws passed that will help curb illegal gun trafficking. Eighty-five percent of crime guns in New York come from out of state. This must be stopped.
Considering that in the U.S. we have 90 guns for every 100 citizens, Mr. Stich should sleep soundly knowing that we can defend ourselves.
Marsha McCartney, president North Texas Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence
Stich was right on target
I would like to commend Frank Stich for his letter on the Viewpoints page in the Sept. 7 issue of Dallas Voice (“Gays should support gun rights”). I would say his comments were right on target (pun intended). His admonition was both historically and philosophically correct. However, I would widen the intended audience to include “all” Americans.
“We The People” are increasingly coming under attack in our civil liberties, not from without, but from within. We have not only the Patriot Act to concern us, but now also talks of a National ID. We have certain presidential candidates also in favor of “human chips” for tracking as well as others in favor of mass surveillance cameras covering major cities. We have been told for many years that whoever would sacrifice liberties for security will end up losing both.
Being a martial arts instructor, I am well aware of how many martial arts came about. In most cases it was when the government disarmed the people and those people were forced to learn how to defend themselves either with empty hands or with farm implements that could be adapted into weapons. But none of them had to face down the barrel of a gun from their oppressors. The founders of this country feared early on that government (ours, not “theirs”) could become the greatest threat to our internal security and freedoms, hence the Second Amendment.
Those well-intentioned people who are asking us to voluntarily surrender this right are looking at the more contemporary application and justification (street violence) rather than the historical application and justification (individual and national security). My simple response is, “Beware.” Our founders gave our Constitution a great framework for securing life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. However, freedom is a fragile gift, one that must be protected with extreme vigilance. I would warn against giving up one of the first and foremost means of protecting those freedoms given to every man and woman by our founders.
It’s not just guns that kill people or people that kill people. Tyranny can do the job as well. History does indeed have a tendency to repeat itself. And if you are looking for a presidential candidate who supports the individual rights of gays and the individual rights of gun owners both, vote Ron Paul in 2008!
Victims of sexual orientation discrimination
I am writing in response to the Rev. Michael Piazza’s Viewpoints column in the Sept. 7 issue of Dallas Voice (“Don’t be so quick to judge Craig, Bailey”).
Sen. Larry Craig should be asked to resign only if he has been found guilty of violating the requirements of membership in the United States Senate. Shannon Bailey should be asked to resign only if he has been found guilty of violating the requirements for serving as president of the Texas Stonewall Democrats.
In the case of Sen. Larry Craig, he was arrested on June 11 on a charge of lewd behavior, but on Aug. 8 he was allowed to plead guilty to the charge of disorderly conduct. Unless the United States Senate’s rules for membership specifically deny membership to individuals found guilty of disorderly conduct, Craig should not be forced to resign.
It is not the gay and lesbian community that is actually forcing the senator to resign; it is the members of his own Republican Party. It is difficult for me to believe that a person who is guilty of disorderly conduct violates rules for membership in the Republican Party.
This is such a convoluted issue. Regardless of how I or anyone else feels about Craig’s voting record or his denial that he is gay, Craig is a victim of discrimination based on sexual orientation.
Now the true irony of the situation is that, logically, the gay and lesbian community should be defending Sen. Craig.
In the case of Shannon Bailey, he was arrested on June 14 and charged with public lewdness. At the time of this response, Shannon Bailey has not pleaded guilty nor been found guilty of any violation of the law.
What, then, has Shannon Bailey done that violates the requirements for serving as president of the Texas Stonewall Democrats? Is it an actual requirement of the Texas Stonewall Democrats that their president can not be connected in anyway to “lewd” behavior?
Again, it is not the gay and lesbian community that is actually trying to force Shannon Bailey to resign; it is his fellow Texas Stonewall Democrats.
It is difficult to believe that anyone connected in anyway to “lewd” behavior can not be an officer, board member, or general member of the Texas Stonewall Democrats. Regardless of how I or anyone else feels about circumstances surrounding Bailey’s arrest, he is a victim of discrimination based on sexual orientation.
The true irony here is that the gay and lesbian community doesn’t realize its own blindness in permitting discrimination based on sexual orientation.
Finally, this brings me to the very subject of “bathroom” and/or “park” sexual behavior. The gay and lesbian community must not only remember such behavior in our history but also has an obligation to include the behavior.
However, what we should remember and include is that at that time there were laws which forbid and punished gay and lesbian sexual activity, and more importantly it was guilt and shame that gay and lesbians felt within themselves that forced such behavior. The laws have changed, and won’t it be a wonderful day when gays and lesbians are filled with such overwhelming pride in themselves that our sexual activity reflects that pride.
Thomas M. Osborne
Misstatements in Stonewall leaders’ letter
There were two misstatements of fact in the letter by Lisa Thomas and Jesse Garcia in the Sept. 7 issue of the Dallas Voice (“Stonewall backs transgender rights”).
My letter, published in the Aug. 31 issue of Dallas Voice (“Leadership lacking in Bailey debate”), stated: “Leaders of the caucus have expressed that sexual reassignment surgery … is the equivalent of being charged with criminal behavior.” The word “leaders” implies more than one incident. The first misstatement of fact is that my comment was solely in regards to the leader who expressed this on a conference call who later apologized after Jesse Garcia came to the aid of Christina. The fact is, that leader who apologized is not the only TSDC leader to make that statement about SRS. Mr. Garcia was aware of this fact prior to writing the editorial letter. The Sept. 7 letter seems to try to hide this.
The second misstatement of fact is that multiple board members criticized the leader who made that reference during the conference call. Jesse was the only TSDC executive board member on that call (other than Christina herself) who spoke out in her defense.
In Ms. Thompson and Mr. Garcia’s response, they suggest that my letter to the editor targeted the National Stonewall Democrats organization or any particular local club with regard to the inequitable treatment of the sole transgender leader on the current TSDC executive board. As I stated in my letter, “this organization” refers only to the Texas Stonewall Democratic Caucus executive board and no other.
I do not deny that National Stonewall Democrats does respect and advocate effectively for the transgender community, of which I am a staunch ally. The same can be said of individual chapters and members, such as Dallas, Austin and others. However, we cannot ignore what has been said, and what has not been apologized for at a Texas state level from the TSDC executive board.
I will not be silenced in this matter because I must, as the TSDC executive board should, stand for what is equitable and just.
Linda Ocasio, member,Stonewall Democrats of Austin and Texas Stonewall Democratic Caucus Christina Ocasio, president, Stonewall Democrats of Austin and executive board member, Texas Stonewall Democratic Caucus
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This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition September 14, 2007