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Letters to the Editor – Weekly Issue of January 24, 2011

Reader write in about how to define Constitutional rights in America, the motives of suicide terrorists, and new ideas that require new light bulbs.

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How to define 'rights'

In the Jan. 17 commentary "Do you have a 'right' to a job, home, or health care?," Mark Hendrickson's narrow view of "rights" fails to note that our founding documents suggest we have a right not only to "liberty," but to "life" and the "pursuit of happiness."

It is difficult for people to pursue happiness when access to education, health care, and housing are increasingly difficult to come by. Moreover, studies suggest that extremes of income inequality track with extremes in social dysfunction (i.e., high rates of violence, illness, divorce, etc.).

My "right" to live in a functional society would seem to conflict with Mr. Hendrickson's "right" to live in a banana republic, leading me to conclude that the subject of "rights" is way more complicated than Hendrickson would have us believe.

Motives of suicide terrorists

In his Dec. 13 commentary, "What really drives suicide terrorists?," Robert Pape makes the inference that suicide terrorism is a response to the occupation of the terrorist's actual or kindred homeland by a foreign power. He is probably right to suggest a link between territory and suicide terrorism.

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