Editor, Daily News
In response to the letter from Mr. Haldt, it is not redundant for a board of selectmen to make a vow or take an oath that they will support the U.S. Constitution, and in this case the Constitution of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and our town charter. My "oath" as selectman mentions nothing of the Constitution. When sworn in we are asked to swear to "faithfully and impartially perform our duty as member of the Athol Selectboard." Our town charter has a brief mission statement which in my opinion needs a bit of work. The charter makes no mention of these important documents. I would like to believe that all elected officials support and defend the Constitution, but this is not the case. Finally, I will never be embarrassed for standing up for people's rights.
With regards to Ms. Rolski's letter, the suggestion that the tragedy in Newtown, Conn., was a "display of someone's right to bear arms and fire an assault rifle" is incredibly irresponsible and offensive to me as a supporter of the Second Amendment and a law-abiding, licensed, shooting sports participant. Further, the Second Amendment has nothing to do with hunting. In District of Columbia v. Heller, 554 U.S. 570 (2008), the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that "the Second Amendment protects an individual's right to possess a firearm, unconnected to service in a militia and to use that arm for traditionally lawful purposes."
The devastating massacres at Columbine High School, the Aurora theater and Sandy Hook Elementary School were horrible tragedies committed by young men with severe mental health issues. And before you say if they didn't have these guns it wouldn't have happened, remember the Oklahoma City bombing. Timothy McVeigh murdered 168 people, including 19 children, with a box truck and fertilizer. We need to remove the stigma of mental illness in our society and insist that people who need help get it before their acts devastate more communities.
Unlike members of the Westford Board of Selectmen, I am not going to cherry pick which parts of the Constitution I choose to respect and which I choose to neglect. Their proposed warrant would have violated the Fourth and Fourteenth Amendments in their attempt to strip people of their Second Amendment rights. I am thankful for all of the rights and privileges bestowed upon me by our Constitution, especially the First Amendment which allows this important discussion to take place. As an elected official, it is my duty to assure my constituents that I would never infringe upon or make a vote against any of their Constitutional rights.
Susannah Whipps Lee