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Even more fan mail from our adoring readers

Dear Editor,

It’s easy for you to talk about not putting up fences to protect the Capitol because you are not the one out there trying to defend it. It’s so easy to tell someone else what to do and what not to do. How would you suggest they protect the Capitol?

Signed, L.

Dear L,

Of course measures must be taken to protect our democracy and the buildings that represent it. Some of those measures may even inconvenience us - standing in line, being searched, taking off our shoes.

Most people would accept that as a necessary concession to the reality in which we currently find ourselves.

Most of us think, I’m guessing, that there is a way to protect the Capitol without turning it into an armed fortress. One thing that could deter future would-be government over-throwers would be to bring the full weight of the law down upon those who tried to do just that on Jan. 6. Had the National Guard been deployed when first requested, the Capitol would not have been breached.

A Washington smelling of burned buildings, with tanks rolling down the streets and armed soldiers on every corner is something I saw as a kid when Dr. King was killed.

It is not something anyone who loves America ever wants to see or smell again.

Dear Editor,

You mentioned about how you were heartbroken when you drove into Washington after 9/11 and saw 50-caliber machine guns on top of the Pentagon.

How did you know they were 50-caliber? Did you go up to the soldiers on the roof and ask them what kind of guns they were?

No, because you were probably too scared. People who don’t know anything about guns throw around the words assault rifles and machine guns all the time. Did you even serve in the military? I’m guessing not.

Signed, S.B.

Dear S.B.,

No, I did not serve, but I have seen every episode of Combat! at least 17 times.

Also, because I am not a member of The Drifters – you have to be old to get the reference - I did not go “up on the roof” to ask the soldiers atop the Pentagon what type of weapons they were manning. That would have been suicidal.

I did, however, describe the weapons I saw to The Saunders Report’s military consultant, Gen. Mike “Gomer” Hoke, USMC. From my description, pictures and the manner in which they were deployed, he said the weapons were most likely 50-caliber.

Dear Editor,

Strom Thurmond? Did I read right in a column that you applied for an internship under the segregationist Republican from South Carolina? You are a hypocrite if that is true.

How could you try to work for someone like that?


Dear Herman,

You did indeed read right, that I was interviewed for an internship in Thurmond's office.

I thought it would look great on a resume and the $100 or so a week it paid would look good in my pocket.

Also, as a 19-year-old idealist, I thought I could get in there and broaden ol' Strom's distorted worldview.

Silly, huh?

Idealists often are. Also, if we only worked for and with people with whom we agreed, many of us would be on street corners holding those Will Work For Food signs. I see nothing hypocritical about working with someone whose politics I find objectionable - within limits. There are some views that are so reprehensible, of course, that I could never in good conscience work with them.

For instance, I could never, ever under any circumstances work for someone who preferred Michael Bolton's rendition of When A Man Loves A Woman to Percy Sledge's. But when, as in my case, your college president - the late and honorable Dr. Luns C. Richardson - suggests you apply for an internship and writes a letter of support - you apply for the internship.

Besides, I met many South Carolina residents who loathed Thurmond's politics but applauded his constituent services.

Need a job? A quick passport? A street light? Having trouble getting your Social Security benefits?

He apparently came through big time in such instances.

So yes, Herman, I applied for an internship under Thurmond, but I don't think that makes me a hypocrite.

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Go get 'em, Mr. Saunders. *Some* of us agree with you. When do we get another book?





Meet Barry Saunders

For over 20 years, Barry was a columnist for The News & Observer in Raleigh, NC. He also wrote for other publications, such as the Atlanta Constitution and the Richmond County Daily Journal. Often described as powerfully honest and illustratively funny, Barry's writing is both loved and hated by readers- sometimes simultaneously.  


Want more? Get your own copy of one of Barry's published books featuring reader favorites (and not so favorites) from his years writing columns for The News & Observer. Titled "Do Unto Others...And then Run" and "...And The Horse You Rode In On Saunders!", they're full of guaranteed entertainment. 


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