No common sense

The May 7 Post and Courier carried two stories about kids’ lives being negatively impacted by schools lacking common sense. One concerned a teenager who tweeted something rude about one of her classmates. The other was about a fourth grader who took an airsoft gun to school.

The student disciplined for her tweet did not do it on school time. I submit that if the school district wants to police twitter and suspend students for rude remarks and use of rude memes, there are going to be a lot of openings at the School of the Arts.

Second, an airsoft gun is not a gun. You can’t kill anybody with it. There’s no explosion propelling a lethal projectile. It’s a BB gun that shoots plastic BBs. Every kid in America who has shot a BB gun has shot a more serious weapon than an airsoft gun.

The school says it’s a “look alike” gun. When I was 5, I had an awesome “look alike” gun. It was silver with pearl handles and even came with a cartridge belt with a holster and ten silver cartridges. Everyone in my family survived.

If the school district wants to avoid being a laughingstock, it should stop expanding its mission outside the school and quit prosecuting kids for toy guns.

Gloria B. Jenkins

Stonewood Drive

Charleston

Move ahead

I am 92 years old and can well remember the days of The News and Courier and The Evening Post when Thomas P. Lesesne, and, later, Arthur Wilcox were editors. Those were newspapers.

Now, except for the sports and comics, I would be tempted to cancel my subscription. Your slanted articles are obvious. Your persistent praise of Elizabeth Colbert Busch, whose only strength seems to be in local port affairs, has covered your pages, and your persistent recall of past mistakes by Mark Sanford has been repeated over and over.

It might be well for all of us to remember the saying, “Let he who is without sin, cast the first stone.”

I doubt that many stones would be thrown.

My point is that all that is past history, old news. We need to move on with an experienced congressman to work to correct the direction in which this country is headed.

And we all need to support and encourage Mr. Sanford wholeheartedly.

Lucile Wehman

Franke Drive

Mount Pleasant

Road to Rome

The nation’s moral and spiritual decay has its roots in the growth of government.

A dramatic shift toward big-government has occurred since the nation’s founding. Once the party of limited government, the Democratic Party embodies that shift. Co-opted by secular progressives, the party prefers moral relativism to traditional values; it demands allegiance to government, not to God.

As it expands government, it expands welfare, weakening the values of self-reliance. The resulting Nanny State creates a dangerous cycle of narcissism, moral and spiritual decay, and economic decline.

The similarity between ancient Rome and our nation is striking. Hampered by over-regulation, low productivity, and out-of-control spending, it was too big to govern without corruption. Unwilling to cut spending, they increased taxes on the wealthy. As wealth was confiscated, driven away or hidden, the burden fell to the middle class where the system collapsed.

The Founders were keenly aware of Rome’s demise. They understood that limited government would minimize corruption; they outlawed the taxing of income, believing that wealth redistribution was immoral, threatening to liberty and destructive to economic growth.

The Founders’ genius was to recognize that the drive to achieve self-interest, within a lawful society preserving economic freedom, would produce greatness. The resulting level of individual freedom and economic growth astonished the world. This is fundamentally impossible in a government-driven society.

Led by President Obama, the Democratic Party pursues government power over our founding principles. It promotes statism over limited government and economic freedom. Creating astronomical debt, its big-government policies of wealth redistribution, onerous regulations and obsessive spending have placed the nation in danger.

A party that threatens future generations with unsustainable debt is immoral, irresponsible, and dangerous. Propelled by a president who vows to “fundamentally transform America,” are we on a road to Rome instead?

Bill Bissette

Short Street

Charleston

Good for voters

I would like to comment about the recent 1st District congressional election. Although I couldn’t vote in that election, I must say my faith in South Carolina voters has been restored. They saw through all the hype and did the right thing.

Frankly, I could care less what Mark Sanford did or does in his private life. All I care about is how he will vote for me when he gets to Washington.

By the way, I didn’t establish these standards — Bill Clinton and the Senate Democrats did during the Senate impeachment hearings.

If the entire country voted like our state, we wouldn’t be in this mess.

Delmas J. Sisk

Cottageville Highway

Cottageville

Email characters

As I listlessly leafed through a two-year-old Smithsonian magazine in a doctor’s waiting room, an article about the @ character in email addresses caught my eye. I tore the page out very gently so other people in the room would not know what I was doing. One is not supposed to plunder the reading material.

At home in my leather easy chair I read it several times.

Originally, the @ character was used exclusively to signify “at the rate of.” For example, 50 bicycles @ $100 (each). Neither the first typewriters, built in the mid-1800s, nor the earliest punch card tabulating systems (used to process the U.S. Census) included the @.

In 1971 a computer scientist named Ray Tomlinson was studying how to create connections between different computers. At that time, each programmer’s computer was typically connected to a mainframe by telephone,

While working for a company named BBN Technologies, Tomlinson was instrumental in developing a network called Arpanet, the precursor of today’s internet. He reasoned that each address needed two parts: an individual name as well as the name of the computer. To separate those parts he chose the rarely used @.

With his newly devised addressing system, Tomlinson sent himself an email, which traveled successfully via Arpanet from his teletype and back to a different teletype in the office. What was the message? Tomlinson says he doesn’t remember. Incidentally, he still works at BBN.

H.J. Beaujon

Cessna Avenue

Charleston

Equal rights

Once again, with NBA journeyman center Jason Collins courageously coming out, the gay issue is front and center (no pun intended). His announcement comes at a time when various surveys suggest support for the “equal rights” of our gay brothers and sisters has tipped in their favor.

The majority is described by most media as enlightened and compassionate. Those who do not embrace the gay cause are described as homophobic, stupid and callous. Sadly, it’s that divisiveness that prevents us from having a thoughtful discussion.

I believe we have turned a gray issue into one that is inappropriately white or black:

Being gay is not a “lifestyle” people voluntarily select. I don’t believe for a second gay individuals wake up one morning and decide to try it.

I believe it is a physiological anomaly akin to someone being born without legs, or with only one kidney. Science some day may identify this aberration and have the tools to reverse it.

Anyone who doesn’t believe marriage was intended to be between a man and a woman is either delusional or in denial. For that reason, I oppose the idea of gay marriage, although I am prepared to accept the will of the people.

If there are no legal instruments enabling gay people to ensure their partners enjoy the same privileges as heterosexual couples, there should be. There should be no job discrimination in the workplace. I have reported to a gay executive and had gay subordinates, all of whom performed admirably. I have also participated in the discharge of a gay-bashing employee.

I believe citing biblical references to cast a dark veil over homosexual behavior is misguided. Such references are like much of that wonderful book — metaphorical. I find most people who select biblical passages to support their position are just as quick to brush it aside when it doesn’t seem to agree with them.

Locker rooms and barracks pose tricky problems. If we would not throw men and women together in such situations, why is it unreasonable to demand separation between gays and straights?

We heterosexuals need to be more respectful of this population and give them the room necessary to live their lives as we would live ours. Conversely, gays should recognize how their behavior offends many in the straight community and abandon their occasional in-your-face politics.

This is a simplified summary of a complicated issue that strikes at the heart of our belief system, but I think I’ve touched on the most sensitive areas. So I ask, am I homophobic? I certainly don’t think so, but such labels are for others to dispense.

N. John Garcia

Seagrass Lane

Isle of Palms

Alarming truths

The May 10 editorial about the Benghazi debacle couldn’t have expressed my views more succinctly. Although the glaring mistakes before and during the terrorist attack on our consulate are greatly alarming, one could make the case for bad lapses in judgment.

But as you rightly mentioned, the attack on our consulate is tantamount to an attack on a government building in Washington, D.C. The massive cover-up that ensued cannot be explained away as lapses in judgment.

Anyone who believes this administration rightfully and honestly came up with the YouTube video explanation as to the cause of the attack is misguided.

Getting to the bottom of this will greatly embarrass this administration. But to say that is the only reason people want to pursue this, makes you an even bigger fool.

If your bias is so strong that it allows your heads of government to lie to you on matters of national security, then God help you.

And yes, I did say lie. Let’s call this what it is.

I wonder what went through the minds of officials at the ceremony receiving the caskets of these fallen heroes as they hugged the heroes’ loved ones and perpetuated the lies that their deaths were caused by a video, and that the guilty parties would be brought to justice. How do people such as these sleep at night?

One of these people is your president. And many of you want another to be your next president.

God, help us. We have fallen, and we can’t get up.

Earl Thacker

Greymarsh Road

Mount Pleasant

A deserved salute

We are approaching Memorial Day, when our thoughts should turn to the sacrifices made by all men and women in uniform in all our wars.

I ask that this year we honor the memory of Kitt Rion McMaster Jr. of Winnsboro, as representing all who served.

Kitt’s first overseas assignment was to England, where he flew a British Spitfire to Rouen, France, on the first escorted bombing mission of World War II. Reports are that one of the B-17s being escorted was flown by Col. Paul Tibbets, who later piloted the Enola Gay to drop the atomic bomb on Hiroshima.

Kitt was later transferred to North Africa where, while flying a P-38 Lightning, he downed a German JU-88 bomber and two ME-109Fs.

In 1945, as the war in Europe was winding down, Kitt, then a captain, had transitioned into the P-51D Mustang, and was sent to Iwo Jima via Saipan where my father was stationed as an infantry officer (but that is another story). From Iwo Jima, Kitt flew 14 combat missions including seven long-range missions over mainland Japan.

On Aug. 14, 1945, on his last mission he was escorting B-29s on a raid on Osaka when the Japanese surrender was announced.

He thus flew on the first and the last escorted bombing missions of WWII.

Kitt died on Sept. 13, 1970, and is buried in the Bethel ARP Cemetery in Winnsboro.

A more detailed account has been written by Kitt’s son, Dr. Kitt Rion McMaster, III, M.D., which I hope will make its way into a publicly available genealogical collection.

John D. McLeod

Evans Street

Winnsboro