PRAISE FOR RETIRING 3-STAR
When I saw my old friend Lt. Gen. Willie Williams was to retire [“From poor kid to 3-star,” April 8], I thought I better say something for the Marines who’ve known and loved him. We served only a short while together at the Mountain Warfare Training Center in Bridgeport, Calif., from 1982 to 1984. At that time, he was selected for major, and I was a captain.
Willie was not a skier or climber but certainly was willing to learn. He was a great athlete and at one time probably the best golfer in the Marine Corps. He refereed the weekly basketball games, played football and did all manner of things pertaining to sports, extra duties and other matters not of a routine nature. His family remained in Southern California, so he and Lt. Col. Clyde Rilea made the twice-a-month trek to their homes for weekends with wives and children.
During the early 1980s, MWTC was a Spartan place. Willie’s smile, wit, charm, tact, bearing, zeal and love for Marines and the Corps certainly motivated me. The fact that we were in the early stages of building MWTC into the fantastic training facility it is today never fazed Willie at all. It was he who took the long view of what the place was to become, and he led by example.
At that time, I just thought he was a great guy, good officer and a man I was glad to have as a friend. It did not surprise me that he became a three-star general. Those of us who served at MWTC circa 1980s remember that it took men like Willie Williams to turn that remote outpost into a world-class training center. I was enriched and inspired by him.
Col. Tom Duhs (ret.)
Colorado Springs, Colo.
IRAQ MEDAL WELCOMED
In reference to the online story “Iraq war vets wait for ally’s Commitment Medal” [April 1]: I served two tours in Iraq — in 2007 and 2009 — and know hundreds more who have served once or on multiple tours. To be awarded a medal from Iraq signifies that the Iraqi people and their government acknowledge and appreciate the dedication and sacrifice the U.S. military has made to remove a terrible regime and ultimately help to stabilize its country.
Unlike the U.S. military medal for supporting Operation Iraqi Freedom, the Iraq Commitment Medal would be similar to the Kuwaiti Liberation Medal, symbolizing their thankfulness. Why shouldn’t Iraq show its generosity? I hope continued pressure will make this come to fruition in the near future so that the sacrifices service members have made during years of support can be acknowledged. Astonishingly, nearly 1 million people have served in Iraq. That’s half the number of veterans of the Vietnam War.
Navy Cdr. Paul Durand
GUN LAWS REVISITED
Regarding the letter from CWO3 Lonnie D. Martin Jr., “Time for more gun laws?” [April 15]: That one can suggest he cares more about children than I do because he wants government to “do something” after a tragedy like Sandy Hook, Conn., is offensive. People cry about gun violence and want to ban the gun, as though violence is okay as long as its not committed with a gun. Attacking the method instead of the motivation of crime encourages different methods.
If anyone feels that something should be done, why not become a big brother/sister, volunteer to help a group supporting at-risk youth, work with organizations dealing in gang prevention, mentor or tutor kids at terrible public schools, coach youth sports, become a foster parent? No, it’s easier to sit back and ask government to do something. People want new laws so they can feel good about pretending they accomplished something. Murder is already illegal. Cultural deviancy is the problem, not guns. Start there. That’s how you honor those children, not by shredding the Constitution.
There are more than 1.2 million abortions each year. Outrage? Preventable medical mistakes and infections cause more than 200,000 deaths each year. More children die from car accidents, drowning and suffocation than by firearm. Were those “meaningful deaths”?
The framers may not have been infallible, but they were not stupid. They made the amendment process to the Constitution difficult so it could not be changed on the emotional whims of the easily fooled.
I recommend the documentary “Innocents Betrayed,” R.J. Rummel’s “Statistics of Democide” and Stephen Halbrook’s “The Founders’ Second Amendment” to learn more about the uncomfortable realities of gun control and why our forefathers had the wisdom to enshrine the inalienable right to self-defense in the Constitution.
Gunnery Sgt. Frank Blazecic
Time for more gun laws? Negative, sir! Respectfully, to put more regulations on inanimate objects with the intent of affecting human behavior doesn’t make sense.
It is obvious we have an education and over-medication problem in the U.S. We are 14th in literature, 17th in science and 25th in math out of 34 countries. Our public education system is broke and broken. We continue to develop weapons of war we don’t need (F-35) and fund federal agencies for unconstitutional checkpoints and drones over U.S. soil — not to mention foreign “aid” — yet the education system is starved for funding. We need to get smart as a nation.
The times may have been different back when the Constitution was written, but crime and tyranny remain the same. Tyranny was such a fear of our forefathers that Gen. George Washington insisted the people be armed. The Second Amendment is the people’s teeth when it comes to liberty and a means of personal self-defense. To think tyranny is impossible in America is foolish. Such laws as the Patriot Act and the 2012 National Defense Authorization Act do more to threaten Americans’ civil liberties than to safeguard them.
In a republic, the people are the government. If any move is made, it should be the people persuading government, not the government persuading the people, as it is now.
Sandy Hook Elementary was a tragedy, and we should all mourn. However, to circumvent the Constitution or to repeal the Second Amendment will not benefit the American people. On the contrary, it will benefit criminals and bring us further into a police state.
We need a common-sense and educated approach. Education and health is where our focus should be. These things affect human behavior. The moral fabric of our country is unravelling. We can only stop this with education and health, not further regulations on law-abiding citizens.
Cpl. Howard Ball
Camp Lejeune, N.C.