Union Democrat staff

Sheriff Mele's letter was illogical

To the Editor:

Sheriff Mele's inexplicable decision to prematurely declare unconstitutional a law not yet enacted is illogical. Equally illogical is the final sentence of his open letter to President Obama in which he says that he will "not take guns from law-abiding citizens". That's illogical simply because nothing that Obama has proposed involves the taking of guns currently in the possession of citizens.

The Sheriff needs to answer the following question, with the same flair for publicity accompanying his letter to the President: "If California passes a law prospectively prohibiting the sale of specified military-style assault weapons and magazines carrying more than 10 rounds, and that law is upheld as constitutional by the US Supreme Court, will you enforce the law?"

The Sheriff can't duck that question by saying that the Supreme Court won't approve a law limiting the Second Amendment. One of the Supreme Court cases cited by Mele (District of Columbia v. Heller) includes this qualifying language: "Like most rights, the right secured by the Second Amendment is not unlimited. From Blackstone through the 19th-century cases, commentators and courts routinely explained that the right was not a right to keep and carry any weapon whatsoever in any manner whatsoever and for whatever purpose." It's comparable to the limitations on the First Amendment, which famously led Supreme Court Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes to say you can't yell "fire" in a crowded theater.

If the Sheriff says that he will not enforce a law that had been declared constitutional, then he should resign from office and let us have a Sheriff who believes in the rule of law. Hopefully he will confirm that he will enforce a law that he personally doesn't like. That position would validate the votes of those of us who put him in office.

Jerry Cadagan


Factual reporting over opinion

To the Editor:

Brenna Swift's reporting on the issue of school consolidation, complete with salaries and salary comparisons of our school superintendents and complete pertinent relevant facts along with background information, is first-rate coverage.

The brief albeit front-page coverage of Sheriff Mele's unwise letter to President Obama was simply responsible factual reporting of a local event demanding straight reporting, not opinion, by our local newspaper. Considering the daily dying of newspapers throughout the country, I feel we are extremely fortunate to have our local paper, and since the exit of the former publisher The Union Democrat has displayed increasingly fair and balanced coverage of local and national news. This paper, in order to stay in business, must satisfy subscribers and especially advertisers, who are unevenly divided by both liberal and conservative opinions and lifestyles. I do not like to read my news via a computer screen, and save my Union Democrat which is delivered afternoons for the following morning, careful not to read more than a headline the night before. I read The Union Democrat from cover to cover, with three cups of coffee, appreciative of its well-chosen selection of wire service stories, which I may or may not be aware of from TV or the weekly New York Times. Any cheapskate who reads The Union Democrat online and does not subscribe should be ashamed. The current media revolution has brought a worrisome decline in accountability reporting, especially at the local level. Keep up the good work, Union Democrat.

Beverly Lovejoy