Letter to the Editor: Joe Paterno, Charlton Heston and the American Way of Life

We again have sorry events that captured the news cycle and are emblematic of what we seem to stand for.  And icons that shill for this, Joe Paterno for college football, and Charlton Heston (aka John Charles Carter) for a moron’s right to deliver unspeakable evil and harm from a gun barrel.

As to Paterno, I contend that looking the other way is shameful, particularly when the reasons for doing so were ignominious and venal.  Paterno is a creep for placing football above pederasty, which puts him squarely with the mealy-mouthed priests (or rabbis, ministers or imams) that violated innocent young people in the pursuit of their own perverse satisfactions.

Football is not salvation, nor is it a moral compass.  At bottom, it’s an advertising vehicle for snacks and beer and an entertainment for those requiring passive and vicarious pleasure.  And that’s all it should be.  There is nothing wrong with this but if you wish to acquire the life lessons to constitute a moral compass, as those paying to get an education at institutions that ostensibly prepare them for a rich, full, and productive life – exalting football uber alles ain’t the answer.

Neither is Charlton Heston.  Imagine for a moment Charlton Heston being required by a just God to deliver eulogies at funerals of Columbine, Tech, or Aurora victims. What do you suppose he’d say?  “Serves you right for not being armed?” Or would a just God have performed justly, giving CH a Sandy Weill moment by forcing him to say something like, “you know, I was wrong”.

There’ll be those reading this who can go no further since a brain spasm to invoke the argument that guns don’t kill people will have fully taken hold.  My friends, guns do kill people. Lots of them.  Everyday. Take guns away from Columbine, Tech and Aurora shooters, and they ain’t shooters anymore.  How would they then act out their desperate fantasies?  A bomb?  Poison?   Maybe.  But recognize that such incidents are rare because it takes much more planning and organization to perpetrate such acts, and because those modalities are very tightly controlled.

I’d guess the argument for gun rights is Constitutional or opposition to government intrusion.  But no Constitutional reasoning supports the massacres that a wrong-headed reliance on the 2nd Amendment has produced.  I challenge the many Constitutional scholars who read this paper and this letter to furnish a factual predicate and arguments to support a slaughter of innocents.  Even Scalia recognizes limits on guns, but don’t let that stop you.

As to government intrusion, I challenge those of you willing to set aside hypocrisy long enough to explain why it is a government intrusion to regulate strictly something that takes so many innocent lives when you’re perfectly willing to take away happiness from same sex couples or the freedom that permits women to decide on conception or childbearing.

Will I convince anyone with this effort?  Sure I will.  And I may persuade someone to speak out if they would have otherwise been silent.  Or perhaps persuade the otherwise closed-minded to read Tuchman’s The March of Folly or Diamond’s Collapse, books which articulate the social dangers better than I could ever hope to.  So I will have contributed, in some small way.


Donald Marro

The Plains, Virginia


  1. I shall focus my reply on the issue of guns and leave the discussion of football alone for now.

    First, no right thinking person is happy to hear news of innocent people slain. I reject your challenge due to its absurdity.

    Yes, a gun in the hands of someone kills people. A person is required for that. I can load a gun and put it on a table. A hundred years can go by and that gun will not have taken itself somewhere and killed innocents. That requires human responsible agency. A firearm is a tool/weapon. Like any tool/weapon it can be used in positive or negative ways.

    If enough incidents of people running over other people using a vehicle were to happen, would you be for banning driving? In the right circumstances it’s not hard to imagine such an incident (crowded city sidewalks or some outdoor event where a large crowd is gathered).

    Consider, sir, that Norway has strict firearms laws. I sure they do for bomb making as well. I refer you to the incidents of July 22, 2011. A bombing killing 8 (209 injured) and shooting killing 69 (110 injured). Both tragedies committed by the same person. The strict firearm laws in Norway did not foil his plans. He found a way. What would be your solution to that?

    The sad reality is that some people are just evil or not right in the head. When they are determined to hurt others, they will find a way.

    My heart mourns when people die by gunfire. Also by cancer and illness. As well as accidents (which I have seen my share of). And I have been in a situation where someone came after me with a gun.

    I do not worship at the alter of the NRA. Nor do I think we can ban firearms. Is there some work we can do to try and minimize the shootings and death you mentioned? I think there is. That is another discussion and is not just about firearms.

    The bottom line is that we cannot legislate away all the bad deeds of the world. Evil or mentally ill people who are determined to kill others will find a way.

    • life is good says:

      The murder in Norway, however, was unusual for that society. We seem to have them with increasing and alarming frequency.

      People should have firearms to protect themselves and hunt. I don’t really know why anyone can purchase volumes of ammunition and high powered assault weapons over the internet no less.Some people on forums claim to know what the founding fathers would think today, what Jesus would think today. I personally think they might be just a wee bit appalled at how far “a well regulated militia” has been “interpreted”

  2. On the gun owners side says:

    First, I fully support the 2nd ammendment.. the question begging for an answer is it time we look at the availability of assualt M-16 & AK47 type weapons and 6000 rounds of ammunition via the internet as a reasonable argument in todays world of people on the edge? Common sense must play a role here?

  3. Another View says:

    I know, I know. Let’s outlaw murder! Then there will be no more murder, because it is illegal! Oh, wait a minute . . . murder is already illegal. And yet, murder still exists.

    How can that be?

  4. ElinorDashwood says:

    Well written, Donald. I had a neighbor tell me last week that Obama was going to send the military after Americans guns, all because of some asinine, edited YouTube video he saw. Just like those that hailed the Romney ad, “You didn’t build that” with Jack Gilchrist. If they take the time to read the whole quote made by Obama instead one sentence taken out of context they would understand that Jack Gilchrist absolutely DID NOT build his metal fabricating company on his own. He received $800,000 in tax exempt bonds in 1999 to set up a second plant and purchase equipment and a loan of a half a million from the U.S. Small Business Administration in the 1980’s.
    There are individuals that comment exorbitantly on CDN articles, this man Gilchrist, by their definition is nothing but a ‘taker’ and so would anyone that ever received a Pell grant or government funded student loan.
    I see the problem as this. The right-wing zealots seem to use personal opinion pieces, blogs and biased news sources to support their views and all I’m trying to say is that people shouldn’t believe all they see or read on the internet or TV. Think for yourselves and check for FACTS. The Polifact website is an excellent, unbiased source of information.

    • Another View says:

      Politifact is very biased. It is a creature of left wing media, and seems to confuse opinion with fact, as you complain conservatives do. Perhaps you do not notice Politifact’s bias as it conforms to your worldview.

      • ElinorDashwood says:

        I won’t even waste my time arguing about bias, I know it is pointless. But let us address the Romney ad which you have ignored. I see nothing wrong with financial aid in the form of grants, student loans or small business loans as it makes me happy when my tax dollars help others but you have always called these people takers. By your own definition Gilchrist is a ‘taker’.

        Either the Romney people didn’t know that Gilchrist received well over a million in government financing before making the ad, which would make them ignorant or they knew he accepted the money and DID NOT BUILD his company on his own and chose to make the ad in order to deceive Americans, which makes them dishonest. Please tell me which is the case oh, all-knowing, omniscient, and powerful Oz… there are only two sides to this, so are they stupid or just liars?

        • Another View says:

          By the way, in case I was too subtle, even assuming your financing premise, Gilchrist DID BUILD HIS COMPANY ON HIS OWN. The government, his teachers, his parents, his high school sweetheart, his customers–NONE of these people have any legitimate claim to that business’s success.

          • ElinorDashwood says:

            What part of “He received $800,000 in tax exempt bonds in 1999 to set up a second plant and purchase equipment and a loan of a half a million from the U.S. Small Business Administration in the 1980’s.” don’t you understand? If not for the government money he received, his company wouldn’t be what it is today. And to confuse the issue even more you are defending someone that you define as a ‘taker’ .
            You appear to flip-flop just as much as Willard…and you still didn’t answer my question about the campaign ad.

          • Another View says:

            NO, I am not a flip flopper. The fact is that I condemned government loans. And I compared the government loans w/ bank loans. Either way, it does not give the government (or the bank) the right to claim credit for the business success.

            What part of consistent do you not understand?

          • clarke conservative says:

            Governments compete all the time to attract viable companies to locate, or remain, in certain communities. They do this by providing tax exempt bonds, reductions in property taxes for a certain period of time, etc. Normal, even conservatively run, Governments do not do this out of the goodness of their heart but because they realize the county or state next door will offer businesses incentitives. They do it to keep a strong tax paying company in their community paying taxes.

            Where it becomes a becomes a problem is when political cronyism dominates the agenda, and companies like Solyndra, General Motors, Goldman Sachs and others are kept alive by politician’s largess with tax payer dollars.

            The most successful companies in the world have made it on their own. Companies like Walmart, or Apple, or Microsoft, or Ford Motor Company. Companies that had usually one person – like Sam Walton, Steve Jobs, Bill Gates or Henry Ford – who had a dream and the ambition to achieve it.

            If anything Government gets in the way of success with excessive regulations and cronyism, most of it facilitated by the Democrats, and some Republicans, in the US Senate.

        • Who cares? Let’s not play the “Hey look! A squirrel!” thing where Obama’s quote comes into play. He said what he said. Every once in awhile when the TOTUS (Teleprompter of the United States) isn’t on game, he let’s the little socialist street agitator out of the bag and it results in quotes like this one.

          He said what he said. Given his background, we know what he meant. He is all about the little collective whole, fairness and all the hoo haa that comes right out of the best of communist political thinking and FDR’s “Second Bill of Rights”



          The Second Bill of Rights was a list of rights proposed by Franklin D. Roosevelt, the then President of the United States, during his State of the Union Address on January 11, 1944. [1] In his address Roosevelt suggested that the nation had come to recognize, and should now implement, a second “bill of rights”. Roosevelt’s argument was that the “political rights” guaranteed by the constitution and the Bill of Rights had “proved inadequate to assure us equality in the pursuit of happiness.” Roosevelt’s remedy was to declare an “economic bill of rights” which would guarantee:

          Employment, with a living wage
          Freedom from unfair competition and monopolies
          Medical care
          Social security
          Roosevelt stated that having these rights would guarantee American security, and that America’s place in the world depended upon how far these and similar rights had been carried into practice. Later in the 1970s, Czech jurist Karel Vasak would categorize these as the ‘second generation’ rights in his theory of three generations of human rights.

          Sound familiar?

          Know where that came from?

          Karl Marx

  5. Another View says:

    I’ve ignored nothing. But I’ll indulge you, even though I do not know the details of the Gilchrist company’s finances, and I doubt you do either.

    First, government has NO BUSINESS loaning monies to anyone (much less giving it away).

    Second, the FEDERAL government has NO AUTHORITY to loan monies to anyone (much less give it away).

    Third, assuming that the federal government loaned monies to Gilchrist, and Gilchrist paid it back, then how is that different from a bank? Are you claiming that banks can take credit for a company’s ultimate success because they lend money? How about customers? Can customers claim credit for a company’s success?

    Companies need many things to succeed, including credit, capital and customers. BUT WHAT MAKES A COMPANY WORK is the risk taking and creative vision of its founder. And the credit for building that company belongs to the founder. Not the bank. Not its customers. And not the government.

    Barack Hussein Obama wants you to believe that business cannot succeed without government. That is a lie. Barack Hussein Obama wants you to believe that without the federal government you cannot succeed. That is a lie.

    There were successful businesses before the federal government, and before Barack Hussein Obama. The question for this election is, are we going to be able to have successful businesses after Barack Hussein Obama. Because if he remains in office, our economy, our freedoms, and our way of life, including our prosperity, are dead.

  6. life is good says:

    I’d try to come up with what Willard stands for, but since he spends half the time backpeddling and apologizing, well, gee. I’ll just let him wallow.

    btw, both candidates are guilty with taking quotes out of context, as happens every election year, so I think you all need to read the whole thing, as ED suggested.

  7. life is good says:

    “The Romney campaign is hiring a corporate public relations specialist to HELP GUIDE THEIR RESPONSE TO QUESTIONS ABOUT THE CANDIDATE’S TIME IN THE PRIVATE SECTOR WITH BAIN CAPITAL, why a PR firm? And just curious about what’s with the only 2 years of taxes. Even Willard’s father released more. What’s the deal. I surely don’t think Harry Reid is correct in saying Willard did not pay taxes, but really, what’s up?

    And I’m sure both sides have used PR firms, it’s disgusting

  8. Once this weekend the headlines read about a law bidding citizen gone crazy with a gun, leaving a trail of dead bodies behind. It won’t be the anti-gun groups that will limit our second ammendment rights but it will come from our own.