Upon reading “Senator calls for anti-bullying law after teen’s suicide” (article, Oct. 8), I thought, “Is there nothing our national politicians consider to be outside the realm of the federal government?”

By what constitutional authority may Congress make bullying a federal crime? None, actually. Congress need only threaten to withhold federal education dollars from any state that refuses to pass such a law itself (which is interesting, because the federal role in funding education is itself constitutionally suspect).

Congress has used this tactic many times to coerce state action — see seat belt laws, speed limits, drinking ages, etc. States, it seems, are just impotent bystanders in our “federal” system. They’ve become like provinces, mere administrative districts of the central government.

If we need a law against bullying, it’s against our intrusive Uncle Sam.

Sgt. 1st Class Paul McGuire

Contingency Operating Base Speicher, Iraq

Use German plates when able

I’ve spent a number of years in Germany, beginning with my first assignment here in the mid-1980s. I’ve always heard the military leadership stress the importance of blending into our environment, and not allowing ourselves to stand out in public. It’s obviously good advice, considering the threats of terrorism we face today.

Therefore, I don’t understand why these same military leaders allow us to stick out like a sore thumb with our automobiles. Granted we’ve come along way from the days of American-sized license plates colored yellow, to the white-colored plates, and now with the use of actual German plates. Yet I continually see Americans utilizing the American-sized license plates on vehicles that can obviously accommodate the normal German plates.

There are even many people driving German spec cars, yet using American-sized plates on them. It makes no sense, looks ridiculous, and makes these people very easy to identify as American.

Apparently we have a choice as to which plates we want to use, but should we have that choice? I think not. For the purposes of force protection, we should require all cars that can accommodate the normal German plates to use them.

John Crongeyer

Wiesbaden, Germany

Volksmarch better on paper

I want to register my disappointment at the elimination of the Volksmarch column from Thursday’s Europe edition of Stars and Stripes. I’m writing on my own behalf and in my capacity as president of the 250-member Heidelberg (Germany) International Wandering Club.

Many of our members and volksmarchers throughout Europe who are a part of the American military community have relied on that column for years as a reliable and valued English-language source for information on upcoming walks and volksmarching in general. Its loss is being keenly felt within our community.

I realize that it still appears on; however, I’ve been told that many are finding it difficult to locate and it’s tough to take those electrons along on the drive to or on the walk.

Thank you for your kind attention and we look forward to the quick restoration of this column to the print edition as a valued service to the community.

Mike Capp

Heidelberg, Germany

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