Heat of the NightTo the Editor,
Regarding Dan Huff's "Andy of Nayberry" (June 10): Let's just suppose for a minute that someone in Andy Roché's castle had been beaten, was lying there crying, the police show, accept his explanation, and leave. Three weeks later this person is found dead, and it's revealed that the police were probably there the night the person died. What would be Dan Huff's viewpoint then?
The name Jeffery Dahmer springs to mind.
-- Pamala Richardson
Gun PointsTo the Editor,
My goodness. I sure wish I knew it all, too, so I could damn Jeff Smith for speaking his mind about guns ("American Roulette," April 29; "Pistol Grip," May 6). The letters in recent weeks attacking his point of view did all seem to have one thing in common: abysmal ignorance about firearms ("Too Many People," May 20; "Up In Arms," May 27; "History Lessons," June 3). It's rather like quoting the Sierra Club for "facts" about four-wheel-drive vehicles, or citing Jerry Falwell as an expert about the dangers of abortion. One self-righteous prig even told us all about how swell it is in Sweden and Holland, and how happy "they" are there without guns ("Trigger Happy," May 13). Well, obviously the writer has never read one word from responsible shooters in those countries, deploring how the sissy boys have been making the rules.
I have a challenge for such folks: we'll each go spend a couple of hours, starting at 1 a.m., standing on street corners in various cities, unarmed. I'll go to downtown Stockholm, where I'll be surrounded by peaceful, law-abiding Swedes. The pompous asses will go to -- how about 16th Street and Van Buren in Phoenix? And my old neighborhood, South Capital Street and Wheeler Road in Southeast Washington, D.C. Remember, no weapons, now. No cell phones, either. What? You say those non-Swedes approaching you with baseball bats and saying stuff about your mamma are making you nervous? Sorry, I can't help you, no matter how good a shot I am. I'm over here waving at the Volvos. I absolutely agree: I don't need a concealed weapon permit in Stockholm. Sociology in action.
One final challenge to the ignorami out there: I know that with your simplistic minds, you need easy targets, as you think the National Rifle Association is. I hereby invite any and all to quote even one thing -- just one -- that the NRA has said, done, printed or fostered, which fits your stereotype. Not the outrageous lies from such shameless opportunists as Sarah Brady, Josh Sugarman and Hillary "Maybe New Yorkers Will Elect Me, They'll Fall For Anything So long As It Sounds Like More Government" Clinton. I mean primary sources: what the NRA has actually said. About crimes with guns? Hey, they're more law-and-order than thou, and they always have been. What to do with criminals who commit crimes with guns? Hey, the NRA has always -- as in always -- said to lock up the bastards and throw away the key; no plea bargains, no second-chance bullshit. What? You didn't know that? Why? Where did you get your "facts" about the NRA's positions about such things? From some adolescent-level, untalented editorial cartoonist at a Tucson newspaper?
How about nut cases with guns? For decades the NRA has taken the very politically incorrect position of wanting to make gun purchasers' medical records open to the police and the public, but the apologists for the lunatics say that that would somehow hurt their precious feelings. Hey, the NRA doesn't care about delicate feelings, it wants to keep guns out of the hands of the insane, but the powerful Nut Lobby won't allow it.
Kids and guns? I defy anyone reading this to find one word in the NRA's famous Eddie Eagle safety program other than, "If you find a gun, don't touch it! Leave the area! Tell an adult immediately!" What? You didn't know that either? "They" told you that Eddie Eagle was about showing kids how much fun it is to shoot up the schools? Bullshit. Shame on the liars who told you that, and shame on you for swallowing that crap without checking it out.
One of the most refreshing things I've ever seen was when someone -- a gun hater, by the way -- actually had the grown-up manners to write a letter to a newspaper, apologizing to the NRA for believing those anti-gun, anti-NRA lies that the writer had accepted as "facts" before reading for herself what the NRA really said about issues. Ironically, the anti-gun bigots would really like it if there were a big, powerful gun lobby that advocated an M-16 in every nursery school, and they just can't stand it that the NRA is so responsible and so law-and-order, so they had to reinvent a National Rifle Association in the mold of "The Tenets Of The 12 Leaders Of Zion" that was circulated in Europe early in this century as "proof" of a Jewish plot to take over the world. They really, really want bad things to happen so they can say, "See? We told you so." And some of you suckers are falling for those big lies.
So, since it's already illegal for felons, kids, dope addicts and crazy people to even try to buy guns, what happens to those who go ahead and try to do it anyway? Not much. Under the vaunted Brady Bill, which allegedly stopped "hundreds of thousands" of prohibited buyers from getting guns (which was already illegal before the Brady Bill, remember), something like 19 or 20 people have been prosecuted. Not 19,000 or 20,000; 19 or 20, period. Hey, the NRA wants them all in prison, not just 20, but your friendly, coddling Justice Department doesn't want to inconvenience the little darlings.
Here are the facts: despite what the NRA-bashers want you to believe, more states, not fewer, are passing laws for "shall-issue" concealed weapons permits, and now more states -- not fewer -- are extending reciprocity to other states' permits, because such permit holders are the good guys. Such states have not turned into the "Wild-West shoot-out" scenarios forecast by the ignorant. Vermont, for instance, requires no permit at all to carry a concealed gun. Never has. Hardly the Wild West. Arizona has revoked less than one-tenth of 1 percent of its concealed carry permits, and most of that tiny number were for paperwork screw-ups, not firearms misuse. All the other states have similar records. And more -- not fewer -- Americans than ever now own guns, as they yawn and ignore the shrill propagandizing of the hoplophobes and their phony statistics. "They" didn't tell you that, did they? The NRA does not and never has advocated "guns for everyone."
Charlton Heston has never advocated "machine guns for schoolkids," as the airhead cartoonists claim. When Mr. Heston marched with Dr. Martin Luther King in the 1960s, he was villified for being true to his ideals, and he was lied about by those who called him a "commie nigger-lover" because he was a public activist for his beliefs. Those same racist bigots now draw cartoons of Heston shooting up schoolyards, and they don't want you to hear or read one word of his anti-crime and gun safety views. Gee, let me guess: "They" never told you about that, either, right?
I realize that it's easy, puerile fun to stereotype NRA members as being tobacco-juice drooling rednecks who inbreed and shoot up schools, but that stereotype is no more valid than is the one that portrays vegetarians as being socialist sissies who use their dietary self-righteousness as an excuse to try to hide their cowardice. Both stereotypes are untrue. I mean, the most famous vegetarian of all was as arrogantly self-righteous and as childishly know-it-all as the rest, and he, too, bogusly claimed a higher plain of "enlightenment" and was adamant about not allowing the public to own firearms, just like the rest of his type; but he was certainly no pacifist, even though his troops didn't have to fire even one shot when they marched into the Sudetan land. (Hoplophobe: "One who has an irrational fear of weapons, as if the weapons were not inanimate.")
-- Tom Burns
To the Editor,
I want to applaud The Weekly for publishing both "History Lessons" letters from J.L. Dildine and Bob Beck (June 3). It made me proud to be an American when I read them, not because I agree with their viewpoints, but because they had the right to make their opinions known.
Both writers had a bone to pick with Jeff Smith's column in a previous issue, and though I did not read that column, I assume from the letters that Jeff felt the right to bear arms guaranteed in the Constitution's Bill of Rights was a good thing. I hope he pointed out that the founding fathers made sure that the Second Amendment is the only amendment concerned with a consumer item -- firearms. The reason is based on history -- not only in their time, but from the history lessons to be gleaned from the interval between then and now; the reasons have not changed.
The framers believed that the right to defend oneself is an inalienable one -- but chose to make it doctrine instead of letting it remain intrinsic. This was done because they knew, as we know, that he who carries the biggest stick rules. You cannot expect a tyrant -- whether governmental or just a mugger -- to walk away simply because you say, "Why can't we just get along?" This is especially important today when some in our society -- typically lone women -- cannot walk the streets after dark. If the right to defend oneself precludes the ultimate "stick," then those with the biggest muscles, sharpest knife or heaviest club will certainly rule everywhere. When the lawless realize that taking advantage of the law abiders poses no threat other than the slight chance of police being nearby, no one will be safe. As it is now, every criminal knows he may just happen to pick on some citizen with the biggest "stick" and who's willing to use it to defend themselves.
It is apparent to me, and I would hope to you, if you will think a moment, that the right to defend yourself presupposes that you will, and therefore take the responsibility to do so. Of course, you may choose not to and that is also your right. However, no matter how you feel about guns, remember: it is not the weapon that is the threat, it is the person behind it. A gun need not be a threat, it can be a savior. As Jeff said, "Think about it."
-- Rob Pira
A Simple PlanTo the Editor,
Yay for Jeff Smith. Most think he's a madman howling in the wilderness -- well, Patagonia -- but I say there's some truth to that madman's rantings.
Jeff calls it pork bellies, and that's what it is. How long are we, the taxpaying public, going to allow these pork bellies to be sold to us through fear manipulation tactics? It used to be the hoards swooping down from the north when we were Romans, now it's drug dealers hooking our kids on drugs grown south of the border where the tide of unwashed are lashing against our shores. We the taxpaying public have got to roll off our couches and turn off that blithering boob-tube that has us convinced that there's a drug war raging when the only true casualties are our constitutional rights.
I have a simple answer to all of our collective problems. That is to stop supporting the Mafia and legalize drugs, because prohibition has not stemmed the tide of drug use. If we legalized drugs we'd be buying them from south of the border where our illegal alien problem exists. They won't want to come here when they can stay there and grow marijuana by the bushel and ship it to us for a fraction of the greenbacks we're paying out in pork bellies to the DEA and other paramilitary organizations. To keep all those DEA and Mafia agents from starving to death when we legalize drugs, we could tax the hell out of the drugs and create a training program just for DEA agents and the mob to teach them something more useful than flexing their trigger finger.
-- Jeff Brooks