Bull's EyeTo the Editor,
In my humble opinion, The Weekly's troika of articles on the NRA convention was a minor masterwork of local journalism ("Trigger Happy, Tucson Weekly, May 25). You took a highly incendiary (and thus very newsworthy) subject, assigned three of your most literate voices to it, and let the cards fall where they damned well pleased. I'd crawl naked through broken beer bottles on any given day to read Tom Danehy, Emil Franzi, and Jeff Smith all opening up on the same issue, especially when said issue hits close to home.
After reading what these three had to say about the NRA's convention, I came to three basic conclusions:
1. The NRA is not the enemy. If we're going to write off an organization because it has a contingency of zealots, eccentrics, and out-and-out loons we're going to also have to write off the National Organization of Women, the NAACP and both major American political parties...not to mention the United States Congress. Might be tempting, but not productive.
2. The NRA board should spank Roy Innis until he learns a thing or two about basic good manners. If he wants to go around calling people "cocksucker," he should become a hip journalist and not a spokesperson for an organization that sorely needs a less blatantly infantile image.
3. The NRA should buy Tom Danehy season tickets to the Suns games along with all the beer and hot-dogs he might care to consume. Somebody has got to keep us gun nuts supplied with perspective and a sense of humor. I can't think of anyone who could do that better than Danehy.
Pistol WhippedTo the Editor,
In the recent pro-gun articles, Jeff Smith's approach needs to be examined ("Fantasy Firepower," "Trigger Happy," Tucson Weekly, May 25). Making analogies to riding a motorcycle fast and fulfilling sexual fantasies is questionable. To make a defense of guns, guns should stand on their own, and because they could not, it makes me wonder the validity of the argument. It's also a problem of comparing apples and oranges.
Another issue is what are the consequences of the illegal use of these objects? Illegally using guns was never discussed. Our argument does not fall apart because we "perceive the people who want to own these dreadful guns as redneck hillbillies who drool tobacco juice, beat their women and like to kill things, up to and including, Negroes, Jews, queers and liberals." Stereotyping those who want a safer society is a poor argument and shows the low level at which the point is based. If "Sixty-six miles-per hour" is an eloquent argument to Jeff Smith, then how insightful are his ideas?
Also, if Emil Franzi cannot even get something as simple as an actor and movie right then how reliable is the article? If Emil was to have done some simple research then he would have known that Quigley Down Under was a Tom Selleck movie. Because this seemed to be to much trouble to him what other false liberties did he take with his article?
On a last note, if someone was a Constitutionalist they would recognize that the Constitution was established to allow for change along with a changing country. A fundamentalist approach to the Constitution inhibits our country to grow.
Editor's note: Franzi, of course, knew it was Tom Selleck, not Mel Gibson. His editors made the error because they were too busy watching wholesome entertainment starring Arnold Schwarzenegger and Bruce Willis to check such violent fare as Quigley Down Under.
Give It UpTo the Editor,
Jeff Smith's argument in favor of gun/assault weapon ownership is so weak that he should admit that the desire to own guns is irrational and write about something he can argue intelligently ("Fantasy Firepower," "Trigger Happy," Tucson Weekly, May 25).
Holstered HarassmentTo the Editor,
I enjoyed your coverage of the NRA convention in Phoenix ("Trigger Happy," Tucson Weekly, May 25).
Like many others, I have not renewed my NRA membership this year. I've become disgusted with the organization's pronounced right-wing bias--a fundraising letter last year bashed unmarried people and non-Christians while promoting mandatory sentencing and similar garbage. Ninety-five percent of America's 60-million-plus gun owners don't belong to the NRA, and for good reason.
Regarding Tom Danehy's comments: He repeatedly claims that male gun owners are compensating for a missing penis or a lack of manhood. This is ironic, since there is no group who needs guns more than do effeminate males.
In our society, even the slightest hint of unmasculinity in a male is dealt with harshly. I have straight male friends who, because of having a frail or small build, have been "diagnosed" as homosexual by teenage punks and eugenics-obsessed delinquent girls. Many a smallish male has been the victim of shouted obscenities, death threats or even physical assault because someone thought he was "gay" or looked "wimpy." Two of my smaller male friends now carry firearms for personal protection--and guess what? The curses, the threats and the physical roughing up have stopped, all because of the presence of the holstered gun.
People who want to disarm victims essentially want the "assholes" to rule by fear and force. It would be best if the criminal predators were the ones who had to fear for their lives, rather than being allowed to pick out innocent victims with impunity. There is no means other than a firearm for a very frail person, male or female, to adequately deter a physical attack or to resist a serious assault if it were to occur.
--The Rev. Denise Ehrlichman
Press DressTo the Editor,
Regarding "Trigger Happy" (Tucson Weekly, May 25): Over the years the members of the National Rifle Association have been portrayed in the mainstream as fat, dirty slobs who wear smelly T-shirts with obnoxious slogans on them and who have flies around their heads.
When I went to the NRA's annual meeting this weekend I expected to see mounds of these human garbage pails everywhere I looked. I was not disappointed. They were everywhere--I could not escape their foul appearance. They were easy to see because everyone of them was wearing a press pass. The little laminated cards bearing the word "MEDIA" printed on them dangled around their necks. And if I couldn't see their press pass with my eyes, my nose was able to detect their presence.
I am neither kidding nor exaggerating. The press people (unless they were to appear on camera) were a surly bunch. They wore dirty jeans and torn flannel shirts. The women as well as the men wore their long hair in ponytails which have obviously not seen the business end of a comb in a while.
Camera operators wearing dusty shorts and shirts opened three-buttons-down chased after NRA officials, rudely pushing through crowds of NRA members. The print media were worse than the broadcast media, but not by much.
On Saturday night, there was a members dinner at which the attending male NRA members wore jackets and ties while female members (of which there were many) wore evening dresses. The press people did not make any attempt to look decent, but they did complain about not being allowed closer to the guests during the dinner.
To be fair, there was one decently dressed media member who wore a clean, pressed collared shirt and clean pants. He did not rudely shove people out of the way to get a photo. He was there for a magazine called Machine Gun News.
So the next time you hear the stereotypical description of an NRA member or gun owner, remember: It was probably written by someone who really knows what it is like to be a slob.
Thumbs DownTo the Editor,
During the course of the past few months I have been reading your newspaper's movie reviews and those of other publications, including The Arizona Daily Star. I understand that what may pass as entertainment to one person may be tedious or even offensive to the next. Nevertheless, I have observed that in many instances your film reviews express almost an opposite opinion of those contained in other publications, including the Star. In many of these cases involving totally conflicting reviews, I have found in retrospect that your paper's reviews seem to have almost no rational basis.
An example of an extremely contrary and unintelligent criticism is your review of Rob Roy ("Virile Specimen," Tucson Weekly, April 20). The review contends that the movie is too slow ("The movie lingers over its themes with dull reverence, never mustering up enough cinematic oomph to add meat to its message.") We went ahead and saw the movie based upon the Star's review, which was completely favorable and, again, found the Star's review to be far more accurate. This movie conveys in a powerful way the message that honesty is worth the price, even though it is sometimes very steep. This seems to be something we all need to be reminded of. Also contrary to your paper's opinion, surprisingly, several of my companions thought the film could have less, not more action. It's almost as if your reviewer had not even seen this film.
Rob Roy is only one example of a Weekly movie review which is both contrary to other credible reviews, and not particularly intelligent. I think if you will see this one film for yourself, you may agree that your reviewer should consider another career.
--Mark T. Ralles
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