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Letter to the editor: What about the other amendments?

The following is a letter to the editor submitted to the Detroit Lakes Tribune by a reader. It does not necessarily reflect the views of the Detroit Lakes Tribune. To submit a letter, email jbeach@forumcomm.com or mail it to Detroit Lakes Tribune, 511 Washington Ave., Detroit Lakes, MN 56501.

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To the editor:

This is in response to the action taken by the Becker County Board of Commissioners on April 20 to affirm the Second Amendment of the U.S. Constitution that is, the right of the people to keep and bear arms. As a gun owner, hunter and outdoor enthusiast myself, I am certainly glad to know that the commissioners affirm this right. But as a citizen, voter, property owner, husband, father, pastor and retired U.S. Air Force officer, I’m left to wonder, what about all the other rights?

Having taken an oath to support and defend the Constitution of the United States of America, I am mindful that our freedoms and our way of life are provided by ALL the amendments to the constitution, not just one of them.

How about the First Amendment – in which is provided my right to worship as I please (or not), to write this letter and to gather with like-minded folks to holler at government officials with whom I disagree? What about the fourth, in which I am promised that the county will not send the sheriff to my house to harass me in response to this letter – at least not without a judge saying it’s OK?

Or what about the Fifteenth Amendment? Is the Second Amendment more precious to the commissioners than the one in which our black and brown neighbors were finally promised the right to vote? Or for that matter the nineteenth in which the right finally extended to women?

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As one who enjoys an occasional cocktail, I happen to be fond of the 21st Amendment repealing prohibition, though I can understand if some of my teetotaling neighbors are not as impressed.

All of these rights are constantly under attack from enemies, mostly domestic, but some foreign. I’d hope that my county commissioners will be just as passionate in defending our rights to free assembly and for all people to vote as they are about defending the right to keep and bear arms.

I suppose some will say that the Second Amendment is the only way to guarantee all the others, but you see I’ve been a police chaplain, and I’ve been to war. I’ve seen firsthand the might that the state can bring to bear, and I am quite sure that none of us has an arsenal big enough to hold up against it. No, what assures our way of life is our vigilant commitment to supporting and defending ALL of the precious rights provided the Constitution of the United States of America.

Dear commissioners, please don’t waste my tax dollars using public meeting time to debate and approve issues like this that are simply and gratuitously political. It sounds like the mood in the room on April 20 made it a pretty easy vote. I believe there is harder work to do and riskier votes to be cast. I hope that now that you have had your high-five moment, you might take your victory lap and then turn your attention to more important work.

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