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Letters to the Editor 

Are you kidding me?
In reference to "Strange Bedfellows" (April 17), would U.S. Sen. David Vitter and Congressman Charles Boustany actually state for the record that they support presidential hopeful Rudy Guiliani because he promises to appoint strict constructionists to the bench and protect our families if he is elected the next president? I guess I have only a compound question for them: Do those two even know what "strict constructionist" means or do they really think federal judges or presidents are in the best position to protect the state of Louisiana's families, which are vastly different from California's?

I had an excellent American Government professor at my Mississippi undergraduate program, and he stressed the importance of having three separate branches of government: executive, legislative and judicial. After graduating from Mississippi State, I attended LSU law school, where I studied criminal law under one of the best, John Baker, and then learned constitutional law.

Here are the three points stressed by both professors. Under no circumstances is the judicial branch to legislate from the bench (yet that is all the U.S. Supreme Court and all courts below it have been doing since the 20th century -- all in the name of the 14th Amendment); second, the drafters of the U.S. Constitution envisioned a "decentralization of government" and believed there were issues for the federal domain and issues for the state domain (family issues are clearly state issues); and most importantly, God was very important to these drafters and our country will revere Him!

So, Mr. Vitter and Mr. Boustany, I hope you have done your homework and backed a true strict constructionist because at the very least a true strict constructionist believes in those three things. If not, perhaps it's time it becomes a man's prerogative to change his mind.

Holly Hammett

The Law is Strong Enough
I would say that with the introduction of the very nasty House Bill 869 with restrictive overtones far exceeding existing federal statues, Cedric Richmond of New Orleans does not deserve to be re-elected. Federal statutes exist for machine guns and similar weapons. We don't need even more restrictive measures legislated by the state. This bill sounds like something that comes out of Nazi Germany, or more recently countries like Australia and England, or maybe something the United Nations would like to introduce.

I realize there is a crime problem in New Orleans, but this type of legislation restricts everyone in the state and puts up barriers similar to what exists in New York City. With one of the most restrictive set of gun laws in the nation, it doesn't seem to have done them much good.

E. V. Sandy Blaize

Maybe Not
Having owned guns and hunted for more than 60 years, I feel qualified to speak about guns. I can think of only three possible reasons to own a gun: hunting, target practice and self-defense.

That being the case, why do gun owners need an assault weapon? Isn't it time we told the NRA to take the lead in calling for a ban on the manufacture of all automatic and assault weapons?

During WWII, a manufacturer had to have a Defense Order to produce anything for use by the armed forces. If we reinstated that requirement, we could eliminate the manufacture or importation of these "toys" for the general public and put an end to multiple slayings like Virginia Tech and Columbine. NRA could expand its membership and win over many anti-gun folks. The NRA needs to hear it from us gun owners.

John P. Hansel
Keene, N.H.

More Than a Shame
I read Ariane Wiltse's story "At-Risk Schools" (News & Views, May 1) and felt sick when I read Hal Roark's account of the fate of Wilson Elementary School. Like many who grew up here in the late '50s and early '60s, I attended Wilson and remember its hardwood floors, sturdy construction and large yard. More recently, I returned to Wilson once or twice a year to do election-night monitoring. Now I've learned that this school, an anchor for the Broadmoor neighborhood it served for more than 70 years, sat neglected after the storm, its roof, doors and windows unsecured, making it an easy target for vandals and thieves.

I hope Broadmoor residents get a straight answer to these questions: On whose authority was this school and others like it left unsecured after Hurricane Katrina? Was this oversight deliberate or was it pure, criminal neglect by school officials indifferent to the fate of neighborhood public schools? Who should be held accountable for what happened to this school and others like it?

This school should be repaired and returned to service immediately, as should many other schools in our area.

Wendy King


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