Bob-n-Along, March 6, 1999
No excuse for gunning down dogs

    In my opinion, word of shooting to death dogs who  (yes WHO!)are housed at shelters in Barbour County is one of the most despicable acts I've ever had the displeasure of hearing.
    Any individual who can take it upon himself to fire a gun at a dog (or any other domestic animal simply because it is homeless and that individual thinks it's more cost-effective than an injection) is beyond contempt, in my view.
    Yes, I'll admit that it does cost money to feed animals and that it does require a special kind of love to provide them with a good home. It is instinctive for animals to multiply. (That's why the most humane people, especially those in the veterinary medicine field, advocate spaying or neutering a pet. Unfortunately, homeless animals reproduce, too.)
    It's the offspring of these animals who must suffer. And suffer is what they do, deprived of the food, the home and the love they deserve. They suffer enough without someone arbitrarily condemning them to death by gunfire.
    May all who care for these animals keep their eyes focused on what is happening in Barbour County. Now I realize that certainly not everyone in Barbour is a heartless creep. There are some fine people living there. But if the animals must die, let it be by injection. Otherwise, the powers-that-be who have authority to limit these terrible actions should be contacted en masse by all who care. And if their time is taken up in having to deal with the issue, then so be it!
    In refreshing contrast, I heartily commend the members of the Marion County Rescue Squad who, although they are not veterinarians and haven't any particular expertise in treating animals, still do their best to help in the treatment of dogs, cats and other of God's creatures who  are suffering. I feel it is people like these who truly should be blessed.
    Isn't it amazing the way attitudes can differ among people?

Tim Langer of the Exponent-Telegram staff brought the following to my attention:
    Raymond Matthey of Cherry Camp Road in Harrison County is looking for some lines of verse.
Mr. Matthey, age 84, says that when he attended Harden Grade School in Salem in the 1920s, his fourth-grade teacher (whom he remembers only as Mrs. Smith) taught her students a poem to help them remember the presidents of the United States. He remembers the beginning of the poem, which goes like this:

"First on the list was Washington, Virginia's proudest name.
"John Adams, a Federalist, from Massachusetts came.
"Three sons of Old Virginia into the White House go,
"Tom Jefferson and Madison and then came James Monroe."
    The poem ended with Herbert Hoover, who was president at the time. Mr. Matthey, a 1934 graduate of Salem High School, says he would much appreciate any help in remembering the rest of this presidential poem.

My favorite stand-up comic Steven Wright tells the following:
    "I love to go shopping. I love to freak out salespeople. They ask me if they can help me, and I say, "Have you got anything I'd like?" Then they ask me what size I need, and I say, 'extra medium.'"

Bob is substituting for Executive Editor Bill Sedivy today. The Bob-n-Along column was inadvertently omitted from Friday's editions.

Exponent View, Saturday, March 6, 1999

The NRA is pushing us in the wrong direction
    According to the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, the number of guns purchased in West Virginia and used in out-of-state felonies has risen by more than 135 percent in five years.
    Those figures don't seem to matter to the National Rifle Association, which, in just a matter of two days, was able to persuade a majority of the state House Judiciary Committee to call back a handgun restriction bill that had already been sent to the House floor.
    It was called back so that the committee could remove a section that would have given Huntington the ability to limit the number of handgun sales per month. The committee voted 19-4 to repeal Delegate Jody Smirl's, R-Cabell, amendment.
We have one thing to say. The NRA is pushing us in the wrong direction.
    Our Legislature should be making it tougher for people to buy guns. Instead, lawmakers are letting a national organization make local decisions for us.
    The bill would have prohibited cities from passing their own restrictions on handguns, but would leave any current ordinances intact. Charleston has a one-handgun per month limit, and Huntington wanted the same limit.
    So, Smirl tacked on the amendment to allow Huntington to enforce the same rule as Charleston. Basically, the amendment would have excluded cities with a population of 50,000 or more (Charleston and Huntington) from the ban.
    We don't think this bill was that great in the first place, but to take Huntington out of the mix because of pressures from a gun lobbyist is a bit much.
    According to ATF stats, 605 guns were purchased in this state in 1998 and then used in out-of-state felonies.
"It's very troubling that West Virginia is becoming known as a supermarket for illegal firearms traffickers," said Jim Crist, ATF chief in Charleston.
    Yes, it is troubling. But apparently our Legislature can't see that. All our legislators can see is the imprint of the NRA's thumb as it pushes them down.

Telegram View, Saturday, March 6, 1999

The NRA is not holding a gun to House panel's head

    If there is one thing that West Virginia counties and municipalities do not need it is a state Legislature telling them they cannot restrict the possession and sale of firearms. And if there is one thing that National Rifle Association spokesmen can do without, it is being blamed for forcing repeal of an amendment doing just that.
    If a majority of the House Judiciary Committee decided against passing the handgun restriction measure that members had sent to the full House, it would be foolish to blast the NRA for the panel's action. The committee consists of adult men and women capable of making their own decisions.
    To hint that the NRA is pushing our state in the wrong direction on the issue of availability of handguns is nothing short of a "cop-out." First and foremost, the NRA has as much right to lobby legislators as representatives of any other interest in the state.
    Also, House Judiciary Committee members approved the measure early last week that included an amendment exempting cities with populations of 50,000 people or more. In West Virginia, this would mean Huntington and Charleston.
    But the NRA was against the judiciary panel's original version. NRA lobbyist Jeff Freeman argued, "People in Charleston and Huntington would have been treated differently (from) people in other parts of the state."
    We agree with the NRA in backing the later version of the legislation. The organization's lobbyists maintain it would "protect law-abiding gun owners by establishing a uniform code of firearms laws across the state."
    And a uniform code is what is needed, not a bunch of exceptions.
    We have already stated that guns do not kill people, people kill people. And we have reminded readers that the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution provides citizens with a right to protect themselves against aggressors. Thus we are sticking to our guns.
Robert F. Stealey
Telegram editorial board chairman


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