This page contains letters written into various
publication's letters to the editor or mail call sections. Entries
are order from most recent to oldest.
Carry is a constitutional right that increases the safety of all
Submitter: James Read Howard, Member TAC
Published: The Batt:
For some, it's hard to imagine that in every
movie theater, there are people carrying concealed weapons. If you've
ever seen me at the movies, you probably didn't know I was carrying a
loaded pistol, and you probably didn't know others were doing the same.
If you've ever seen me around town and I wasn't in a bar or on my way to
or from campus, I was carrying a handgun.
I'm a concealed handgun license holder, one of more than 300,000 in
Texas. I'm also a college student, so I spend the majority of my time
unarmed because I'm on campus. The law and University policy prohibit me
from carrying a weapon in class, sbut that may change. House Bill 1893
has passed through the Public Safety Committee and is moving to the U.S.
House for a vote.
The committee agreed that adult students, faculty and staff who have
been issued a Concealed Handgun License by the state of Texas should be
able to protect themselves in campus settings just like they are able to
do almost anywhere else. The Brady Bunch are up in arms over the issue,
but they haven't a leg to stand on. The arguments I always hear against
allowing concealed carry on campus invariably include "College students
aren't mature enough," "The college environment is plagued with alcohol
use, high tensions and rampant emotional turmoil," and the misguided
"This will only complicate the situation for responding police." As a
22-year-old college student, I must be too immature, too emotional and
too out of control to handle a firearm, but Texas doesn't think so. To
get issued my CHL, I had to:
1. Be 21 years old
2. Have no criminal history
3. Not be under a protective order
4. Not be chemically dependent
5. Be of sound mind
6. Not be delinquent in paying fines, fees, child support or student
7. Be eligible to purchase a handgun by completing the National Instant
Criminal Background Check System check
8. Complete required training
Though the editorial board of The Battalion has claimed "Restrictions
[...] can easily be dodged and/or finagled to meet certain individual
circumstances," such statements have no basis in fact. The Texas CHL
system is a model for other states and has made converts of many an
opponent. It took six months of waiting and a lot of paperwork to get my
license and, as a U.S. Marine, you'd think it would be easy for me to
"finagle" my way out of some of the requirements.
We're not talking about kids fresh out of high school totin' their
pistol belts to class; we're talking about responsible, licensed adults
more than 21 years of age. Have I mentioned that in Texas, a person with
a CHL is 5.7 times less likely to commit a violent crime and 13.5 times
less likely to commit a nonviolent crime than the average Texan? Not
only are permit holders qualified - they're model citizens.
The law prohibits license holders from carrying under the influence of
drugs or alcohol everywhere else, so why should campus be any different?
Why are opponents of concealed carry on campus so convinced that a
well-trained, levelheaded individual will suddenly become an
emotionally-driven psychopath when he steps into the classroom?
Similar "blood will run in the streets" scenarios were imagined in
opposition to the original passage of the Texas CHL law in 1995. These
dramatic scenarios didn't play out in real life. The year after Texas
started issuing CHLs, Texas murder rates fell 50 percent faster than the
national average. The rape rate fell 93 percent faster that year, and it
fell 500 percent faster the next year. The same irrational fears are
being espoused today, and if concealed carry on campus passes, I'm
confident we will see similar results: a reduction in crime and proof
that these fears were unfounded.
To the argument regarding complications for law enforcement: the
Northern Illinois University shooting saw a police response time (by
some accounts) of under 30 seconds. An incredible feat, and I commend
them for it, but in those 30 seconds, the gunman killed five students,
injured 17 more and shot himself. It takes less than a second for me to
draw, aim and fire my pistol, and when seconds count, the police truly
are only minutes away.
Smoking ban or
too much government?
Submitter: James Read Howard, Member TAC
In response to:
Ban is a step in the right direction. The Batt
The anti-tobacco propaganda campaign that's cost
so many people that little bit of happiness has come home to College
Thursday, January 22 2009, the College Station City Council, by a 6-0
unanimous vote, banned smoking in all public places. College Station
penal code requires that the ordinance go into effect 10 days after
passing, so as of February 1st 2009, there will be no more smoking in
any public place as defined in the ordinance to include bars.
Proponent's of the ban have cited health issues and nuisance as cause.
Perhaps it is annoying to walk out of a restaurant and pass by a lit
cigarette, but if you actually believe that little breath will mean the
end of you, you haven't the knowledge nor the intelligence to dictate
the lifestyle of anyone else.
Yesterday I heard this excuse from a proponent: "I'm pro, I hate coming
home from the bars smelling like smoke."
Simple solution: don't go to bars that allow people to smoke.
Unfortunately people with these excuses have a selfish, twisted sense of
logic that makes eliminating their small annoyances more important than
the freedom of everyone else, and don't try to argue that their problems
could be solved by a slight change in their own behavior. We must all
accommodate them. If you absolutely cannot abstain from a trip to the
bars on Saturday night, then you might have to put up with a little
second-hand smoke. I don't smoke, I go to bars, I breathe. The smoke is
understood. The beauty of our free society is that you don't have to go
to those bars. The free market thrives on the fact that you can choose
where you want to have your fun. If you can't find a place that's
suitable you can start one and, according to proponents of the ban, your
business will thrive regardless.
What person that you know frequents the beach and comes home complaining
about the sand stuck to their feet? Not the same, you say? Why? Because
you can't control the beach, but it's easy to put chains on people
through rule of law?
The beach is inherently sandy, bars are inherently smoky. Stop going to
Maybe it's not about the bars. Maybe there are just too many self
righteous people in the population and in our governments that think
they know what's best for us. You know the ones. Under the guise of
helping the children or for the public health they seek to control any
behavior that might put an individual at risk. If we need so badly to
eliminate smoking why don't we eliminate other risky behaviors like
skydiving, bungee jumping, or dirt biking? How about alchohol? Oh right
we tried that one. Prohibition wasn't a proud chapter in our history if
memory serves me well.
Before you say "but second hand smoke kills!" let me interject with a
few quick facts. All the info you probably know about second hand smoke
comes second hand from a 1993 EPA report. The report is a complete
fraud, used abnormal and dishonest methods in analysis, and has since
been discredited by the US Congressional Research Service(1), the
International Agency on Research on Cancer branch of the World Health
Organization(2), and even the American Cancer Society(3), who found that
after 39 years for spouses of smokers "the tabular results not only--and
absolutely -- showed no lung cancer risk whatsoever but actually showed
a slightly lower risk than expected"(3). So I think we can justifiably
put that myth to rest.
Like so many other things in this modern world the true driving forces
behind banning smoking are power and greed. Tobacco litigation
attorney's can earn more than $15,000 per hour. In 1998 the tobacco
companies settled to pay 46 states a total of 246 BILLION dollars, with
a capital B, over the next twenty five years. The CDC recommends Texas
alone spend over 200 million a year in anti-smoking related programs.
How could we ever keep this money flowing if all the groups involved
were to admit that it isn't as bad as they initially thought.
The state legislature is considering a similar ban that would also
include bars. Call your state senators and representatives. For Brazos
Valley that's Sen. Steve Ogden and Rep. Steve Brown. Let them know how
you feel about your individual liberties.
Fortunately the People will eventually have recourse. At least in a
locale as small as College Station we know exactly who to hold
accountable. As of this moment I couldn't care less how much these
people may have helped this community in the past. When elected
officials can't help but put shackles on the people they're supposed to
be SERVING, then it's time for new management. Six council members voted
to pass this ordinance. Six council members should be voted out when
their time comes.
ENTC MMET - 2009
(1)Environmental Tobacco Smoke And Lung Cancer Risk," CRS, Nov. 14, 1995
(2)"Multicenter Case-Control Study Of Exposure To Environmental Tobacco
Smoke And Lung Cancer In Europe," Bofetta Et Al, Journal Of The NCI, Vol
90, NO.19, October 7, 1998
(3)Environmental Tobacco Smoke And Tobacco-Related Mortality In A
Prospective Study Of Californians, 1960-98," Enstrom & Kabat, BMJ
Submitter: Tony Listi, TAC Chairman
In response to:
"Editorial, United we stand, divided we fall" The Batt
Regarding the editorial article on Jan. 21, the
American Dream is based on liberty, including the freedom to reap what
one sows in the marketplace rather than have the fruits of one's labor
taken and given to the less productive. It is based on the recognition
that virtue, especially charity, comes from a willing heart, not from a
Obama's race was a major, though not the only, factor in his winning the
election. Black Americans wanted a president "of color." Many white
Americans wanted expiation for the false shame of white guilt, for the
original sin of being born white. That is a fact, not scapegoating.
The Right passed judgment already in the voting booth by not voting for
him because we know that socialism never works. Did you vote for him not
knowing what his policies would do to our country? If so, that is an
irresponsible use of your vote.
So do you want conservatives to shut up and "stand together" with
liberals or do you want us to "debate heartily"? You can't have it both
Submitter: Tony Listi, TAC Chairman
In response to:
"So It Begins" The Batt
If the staff of the Battalion wish to bash TAC,
then they should at least do it in the opinion section instead of the
news section. Any publication of high integrity knows the difference
between the sections and keeps them separate. At the very least, the
Battalion should have contacted TAC for a statement to provide our own
perspective for the news article to have been fair and balanced.
If Chelsea Lankes is unable or unwilling to acknowledge the economic
metaphor of the "nest egg" which over-arched the TAC Anti-Obama
Carnival, then her work is either sloppy or dishonest. We put up a
picture of Barack Obama and the first thing we thought of was
"socialist," but the first thing our critics thought of was "black man."
Now, with that in mind, you tell me who is the "ignorant vulgar group"
that can't think outside of the categories of race! There was plenty of
civil debate that occurred because of the carnival for those who were
willing to engage in it rather than mindless race-baiting.
(For those on the Battalion staff who would like to take a step back and
hear some rational argument:
Look Beyond Thrown Eggs:
Say It with Symbolism:
The TAC Carnival and the Limits of Civility:
Bombs a Chance: William Ayers is an unrepentant terrorist that deserves
no support whatsoever
Submitter: Tony Listi
Date: December 2008
In response to:
"Standing with Bill Ayers" The Batt
Professor Slattery in the
College of Education and Human Development recently wrote a guest column
in this newspaper in support of William Ayers, but he did not give the
public a full and accurate view of who Ayers really was and continues to
be. It would be disturbing that anyone with all the facts would support
someone like Ayers. I took a course with Professor Atkins in the History
Department on the history of terrorism and extremism, in which William
Ayers was featured prominently in the history of American leftist
terrorism and extremism.
William Ayers was the
leader of the far-left terrorist group called the Weather Underground in
the late 1960s and early 70s. The Weather Underground bombed the New
York City Police Headquarters, the U.S. Capitol Building, and the
Pentagon, among other targets. One bomb, outfitted with nails to do
maximum human damage, was intended to be detonated at a dance event at
Fort Dix and kill servicemen and their dates. The bomb accidentally went
off and killed three of Ayers’ comrades instead. Another bomb intended
for the Detroit Police Officers’ Association had fence staples in it to
achieve the desired shrapnel effect.
In total, the Weather
Underground was responsible for 30 bombings , resulting in massive
property damage and numerous injuries and deaths.
When asked what the Weather
Underground was all about, Ayers said, “Kill all the rich people. Break
up their cars and apartments. Bring the revolution home, kill your
parents, that’s where it’s really at." In 1974, the top leaders of the
Weather Underground, including Ayers, wrote a book entitled Prairie
Fire. In it they write, “We are a guerilla organization. We are
communist women and men….”
According to Larry
Grathwohl, an FBI informant who infiltrated the Weather Underground,
William Ayers and his terrorist gang seriously contemplated the deaths
of 25 million Americans, which was the number of people they estimated
would not submit to their Marxist revolution. In the 1982 documentary
“No Place to Hide,” Grathwohl also tells how the Weather Underground
expected other communist countries to divide up and occupy sections of
the United States.
With all these facts in
mind, how can anyone believe that Ayers was just another hippie or
“anti-war activist” rather than a vicious domestic terrorist? He did not
want to give peace a chance; he wanted to give bombs a chance. Even
Barack Obama has said that Ayers and the Weather Underground “engaged in
The only reason William
Ayers is in academia today instead of a prison cell is because of a
legal technicality and the dominance of the political Left in many
colleges and universities across the country. “Guilty as hell, and free
as a bird. It's a great country,” said Ayers after being set free
because of an illegal wiretap.
Many have tried to dismiss
William Ayers’ terrorist past is irrelevant. They claim that he has
changed or been rehabilitated. They are wrong.
Ayers has no regrets about
his past violence. On September 11, 2001, he told the New York Times,
“I don’t regret setting bombs. I feel we didn’t do enough.” This past
November, Ayers told National Public Radio, “If I had something specific
to think about apologizing for, I might.” But he could not think of a
Most strikingly, Ayers has
not ruled out the use of violence in the future. In his latest book,
Fugitive Days (2001), he reflects on whether or not he might use
bombs against the U.S. in the future: “I can’t imagine entirely
dismissing the possibility.”
Even if one were to set
aside his violent terrorism during the Vietnam War era, William Ayers is
still a danger to American society. After dodging the justice he
deserved, he halted his campaign of violence and destruction, deciding
that transforming the American education system into a platform for
radicalism and future communist revolution would be an effective way to
advance his leftist agenda. Most likely, he also did not want to chance
the legal system again.
Do you ever wonder where
all those student hippies, rioters, and extremists went after the
Vietnam War ended? Many of them ended up in the media and academia.
William Ayers is no exception, who is now a university professor in the
field of education. But what exactly does “education” mean to a radical
In Fugitive Days,
Ayers writes about the Weather Underground’s activities: “Terrorists
intimidate, while we aimed only to educate.” Is violent bombing and
revolution the kind of “education” that we should be teaching American
schoolchildren? In 2006, Ayers traveled to Venezuela and praised the
leftist dictator Hugo Chavez, saying “We share the belief that education
is the motor-force of revolution.”
In 1995, William Ayers
helped found the Chicago Annenberg Challenge (CAC), of which one of the
primary objectives was to improve certain “social and psychological
outcomes” in Chicago elementary schools. It was also supposed to support
“curricular and instructional innovation.”
What kind of educational
“outcomes” and “innovation” would you expect from someone who is
a self-described “radical, Leftist, small ‘c’ communist”? In another of
Ayers’ books, Teaching Toward Freedom (2004), he describes his
educational philosophy as to “teach against oppression,” which is merely
a euphemism for teaching against traditional Texan and American values
and institutions such as the family, the free market, individual liberty
and responsibility, and limited, constitutional government.
The Texas Aggie Conservatives merely wish to inform the A&M and Bryan-College Station community
on the facts about William Ayers. That is the reason why we posted
fliers around campus about Ayers and A&M faculty who signed a public
online petition in support of him. If it was the other way around and
conservative professors had signed a public petition in support of an
unrepentant bomber of abortion clinics, wouldn’t the A&M and surrounding
community have a right to know that and request an explanation?
Talk of “McCarthyism” and
the “politics of fear” is merely a rhetorical ruse to avoid the facts
about who Ayers really is and a real substantive discussion about
whether he and his radicalism is worthy of any support. Now that you
know the facts, I encourage you to do your own research and voice your
own opinion to the A&M administration and faculty.
Professor Slattery, will
you join TAC and Barack Obama (a rare agreement) in condemning Ayers’
past actions as illegal and despicable?