Letters to the Editor - Millerton News - 3-9-17

4-H gun program has positive benefits

Since 1902, the focus of 4-H Shooting Sports (and all 4-H programs) has been the development of youth, as individuals, into responsible and productive citizens. 

The 4-H Shooting Sports Program provides a positive experience for youth through the support of caring adult leaders and promotes the safe and ethical use of firearms. It develops life skills, self-worth, self-confidence, discipline, responsibility, teamwork, self-esteem, sportsmanship and conservation ethics. 

The discipline and self-control required for responsible firearms use carries over into other aspects of life. Hunting and shooting are rich American traditions. The Dutchess County Long Rifles helps continue this tradition through involvement of youth, teens, parents and grandparents.  

Counter to the opinion expressed last week, it’s well documented by the National Safety Council that firearms education reduces gun accidents and inappropriate use. 

The 4-H Shooting Sports program is designed to teach character and to promote the highest standards of safety and ethical behavior. 

The latest statistics from the National Safety Council indicate that firearm-related accidents are at an all-time low and shooting sports are rated among the safest of all sports (http://nssf.org/safety/lit/ParentsGuide10.pdf). 

With 100 million gun owners in America, the vast majority using guns safely and responsibly, America has a peaceful gun culture. Guns involved in crimes are well documented by the FBI to have been acquired through illegal means over 99 percent of the time. 

In a society that has chosen to possess firearms, all members, regardless of age, should be provided adequate training to ensure safe, ethical and responsible use.

Richard Henry Lee, a signer of the Declaration, a president of the Continental Congress, and one of the authors of the 2nd Amendment, declared “To preserve liberty it is essential that the whole body of the people always possess arms, and be taught alike, especially when young, how to use them.” 

The operative clause in the 2nd Amendment is “the right of the people to keep and bear arms.” This language, “right of the people,” appears in the 1st and 4th Amendments and each time affirms an individual right. The words “A well-regulated militia” are a justification clause, nothing more. 

Many of our programs’ instructors are young local veterans affiliated with Millerton American Legion Post 178. Many have seen military deployments abroad within the last 16 years. All are willing to attest that our countryside has never, at any time, sounded like a war-zone. 

Our 4-H’ers and their parents would take exception that “there is no pride to be felt for a youth-shooting program.” The club is made up of approximately 60 percent girls. Reading the names from two weeks ago, you will notice most of the best marksmen in the program are girls. 

There are several 4-H’ers who have had amazing academic turn arounds because of their participation; parents with tears in their eyes expressed gratitude for the self-discipline, motivation and pride their children have gained from this program.  

These young people not only have developed skills for life, but an activity for a lifetime. 

Robert Jenks

Molly Jenks

Sean Klay

DCLR 4-H Club Leaders




Elect these three candidates 

On Tuesday, March 21, Millerton residents will elect two candidates for trustee positions and another for mayor. Jennifer Najdek, Christine Bates and Debbie Middlebrook are the best candidates for these positions.

Jennifer is a longtime resident, daughter of a former mayor and past summer camp director for the village.  She possesses extensive experience in recreation, municipal budgeting and has the passion and work ethic needed for improving and transforming our community.

Christine, currently serving her second term as a trustee, has the ability to interpret contracts laden with legal jargon. A budget hawk, she also analyzes and questions government spending in all areas in an effort to keep property taxes in check.

Debbie, a self-employed local and longtime board member, has the time, experience, knowledge and vision to lead the village into the future.

I’ve had the pleasure of working alongside all three of these individuals at various times and believe electing them would be the wisest decision voters can make. These candidates are, at this moment, the most qualified to guide the village over the next two years.

Please join me on Tuesday, March 21, and elect Jennifer Najdek (Republican nominee) and Christine Bates (Democratic nominee) for village trustees, and Debbie Middlebrook (endorsed by both parties) for mayor. 

Thank you.

Stephen Waite

Village trustee