Sat, Nov 05, 2011 - Page 8 News List

[ LETTERS ]

Oh, the irony

According to your article (“Ma opens main campaign headquarters,” Oct, 31, page 1), a certain political party’s supporters “were encouraged ... to wear or carry ROC [Republic of China] national flags” as part of the party’s campaign theme.

So the party that condoned police officers forcibly taking away ROC national flags during a visit by an important Chinese Communist Party official and has strongly discouraged Taiwanese from showing this flag during international sporting events in Taiwan in the recent past now would like to encourage pasting it pretty much everywhere?

I hope the irony here is not lost on those who have a vote to cast in January.

Eric Moore

Greater Kaohsiung

Mulling firearms

Regarding Torch Pratt’s letter in response to J. Michael Cole’s article on the Taiwan Defensive Firearms Association (TDFA), I did not get the impression Cole was exposing a bunch of insane morons (Letter, Nov. 1, page 8).

It seems to me that he was merely reporting that the TDFA had joined an international gun rights group and the article proceeded to state its goals in Taiwan.

I can understand Pratt’s concern about the impact of several million weapons floating around the country, but there is a risk to anything we humans have created, whether it is guns or genetically modified crops or nuclear power.

Taiwanese society will need to figure out how to handle the complexities arising from civilian access to firearms. There are no perfect answers on who is qualified for gun ownership and what types of firearms are permissible, but in light of the Chinese Nationalist Party’s (KMT) past human rights abuses and its current pro-China stance on many issues, Taiwan should have a vigorous discussion on the benefits, responsibilities and impact of civilian gun ownership.

In recent weeks, Global Views’ polls were abruptly suspended when it appeared to show the Democratic Progressive Party presidential candidate slightly ahead. Also, a journalist is being sued by a KMT politician for unfavorable press coverage and the justice system withheld a portion of that journalist’s salary even though the case hadn’t gone to trial. With such blatant erosions of freedom, Taiwan is sliding back toward the Martial Law era. Would civilian access to firearms prevent another 228 Incident?

Some, but not all, consider the Second Amendment of the US Bill of Rights — the right to bear arms — to be the most important amendment with the reasoning that other rights, such as free speech and freedom of religion, are meaningless without a means of defense against an out-of-control government. The challenge is to find a reasonable balance of power between the individual and the government. While Pratt raises legitimate concerns about the intentions of the TDFA, all angles of civilian firearms access must be considered openly to preserve Taiwan’s safety and freedom.

Carl Chiang

Richmond, California

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