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LETTERS TO THE TIMES

Student Can't Bear NRA's Yearbook Ad

June 14, 2003

Re "Junior High Student Takes Aim at NRA Ad in School Yearbook," June 10: I feel a little better about the future today. It took a 14-year-old honor student to do it, but Brytini Benjamin is my new hero. She protested a half-page National Rifle Assn. ad in her junior high yearbook, proving that she has far more wisdom than her school's administrators and the NRA flack who endorsed it as "educating students about the Bill of Rights."

Yeah, some education. Thanks, Brytini. In a world where young people are often viewed as apathetic, apolitical or too self-absorbed to care, you prove that maxim false, and had the courage to question some pretty questionable authorities. I feel a little better about the future today.

John Conyne

Redondo Beach

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So Benjamin doesn't like the NRA ad in her yearbook? I think the ad was very appropriate, and the fact that The Times gave her about a third of a page of print on her displeasure is ridiculous but supports my belief about its left-leaning content. The NRA has always taught gun safety and education, so I'm not sure why this youngster is complaining.

In fact, the ad only mentions support of the 2nd Amendment by exercising our 1st Amendment, freedom of speech. Since she is a scholar with her 4.0 grade-point average, maybe she didn't take a U.S. government class that teaches the Bill of Rights.

Tim Hasselbach

Acton

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Apparently the NRA is following the lead of the tobacco companies in soliciting children. In its advertisement in the junior high school yearbook it's not surprising that it omits the words of the 2nd Amendment that impose conditions on the right to bear arms. The NRA, after all, is in the business of subverting truth. I am surprised that neither the administration of La Mesa Junior High School nor The Times caught the omission.

The 2nd Amendment is not lengthy. It says: "A well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed." These few words could easily have been printed in their entirety in the yearbook advertisement. They were not. Why? Because the NRA chooses to ignore the conditional clause set forth by the Bill of Rights drafters.

Why, in the pages of a junior high yearbook, unchallenged by anyone except one brave young girl, is the NRA allowed to continue its distortions? Does the cold, dead ethics department at the NRA have an even simpler version ready for inclusion in elementary schools' yearbooks, maybe along the lines of "guns are good"?

Carl C. Slate

Sherman Oaks

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