Letters to the Editor

Horowitz threw Bush only softballs; firing back at gun ban proposal.


Letters to the Editor
May 12, 1999 8:00PM (UTC)


"I'm a uniter, not a divider"

BY DAVID HOROWITZ
(05/06/99)

Easy does it, Horowitz. Those hardballs you throw to George W. Bush are
going to knock him over. "How did you do it?" "Why did you work hard?" "You come from an
aristocratic lineage, but there is a democratic element in the history of
your family." Come on David, you had 45 minutes with a man who hasn't
answered a meaningful question in five years of politics. You could have at
least made an attempt to find out who George W. Bush really is.

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Ask him about Harken Energy. How did he make $1 million for himself
while the company went under? Ask him about turning $600,000 into $14
million by forcing the taxpayers of Arlington to pay for a ballpark for his
Texas Rangers. Ask the great "uniter" why he completely failed to move his
property tax cut plan through the Texas Legislature. Ask him why he claims
his biggest environmental victory is a program that politely requests that
big polluters clean up, but in no way forces them to. Ask him why his
version of campaign finance reform is to remove all limits on campaign
contributions.

There are many real questions George W. Bush needs to answer if he wants
to be president. No one knows if Bush has the courage to answer them, though,
since his interviewers don't have the courage to ask.

-- Bill Medaille

Austin, Texas

George W. Bush is a "uniter"? He says, "My goal is for every unborn child to be protected in law, and welcomed in the world." Except, apparently, if they're gay.

When George promotes equal rights for gay and lesbian Americans in military service to their country, in employment, housing and marriage -- and ends ugly discriminatory "state religion" laws that in the past two years alone deported 290,000 foreign spouses of gay and lesbian Americans because they can't get "married" -- I'll vote for him.

Till then, he's like the rest of 'em: hypocritical and full of shit.

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-- Robert Glass


Zero tolerance for slaughter

BY SALLIE TISDALE
(05/06/99)

I am perfectly willing to agree that Tisdale, who lives in a nice urban neighborhood in the same city as I do, does not need a gun for anything. I am not so ready to agree that because she does not need a gun, we can cheerfully conclude that nobody needs guns.

I would invite Tisdale to live in one of the not-so-nice neighborhoods of our fair city, as I did, and wake up at 3 a.m. realizing that if the mysterious noise at the back door turns out to be something serious, the most she has in the house to protect herself from a man twice her size is a chef's knife. Or to relocate to the country, as a couple of my acquaintances have, only to be told by the local police that their 911 response time is 45 minutes. Perhaps she might even consider moving to one of those inner-city neighborhoods where 911 is a joke.

Of course, if the fear of guns weighs so heavily on her mind, she might abandon our pleasant city -- where our low crime rate is no doubt unrelated to our liberal gun laws -- for one of the gun-free Shangri-Las, such as Australia or Canada, that she holds up as models.

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-- Laurel Halbany

Portland, Ore.

Gun owners may think they have a right to bear semiautomatic assault rifles, but I have a right to be able to walk down the street, or send my children to school, without the fear or the threat of violence. There is absolutely no valid reason why anyone needs an assault rifle, and there is very little justification for handguns. Ban them all! Sure, a crook may come at me with a knife or a baseball bat instead of a gun, but I like my chances much better.

-- Scott Martin

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The right of gun ownership imposes costs on society. There are also
benefits. The question is whether the benefits -- personal protection, crime
prevention and self-defense -- outweigh the costs: the use of firearms in
crime. The question is, would we as a society be better off if private ownership of
firearms was banned?

What evidence there is doesn't seem to suggest so. Australia, Tisdale asserts, is "not a society where armed criminals run amok." They may not be running amok, but in the year following Australia's
ban on private gun ownership, homicides rose 3.2 percent, assaults rose 8.6 percent and
armed robberies rose 44 percent, according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics. Canada's
violent crime rate is almost 50 percent higher than ours. In this country, there's almost an inverse relationship between the presence of guns in an area and crime. Rural communities, with very high rates of gun ownership, have much lower crime rates than urban areas.

There's satisfaction in deciding that all we need is a single,
simple law to turn the tide. But banning guns probably isn't the answer.

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-- David Ramsey

The designers of our government gave us the right to own weapons, true, but they also gave us something more valuable: the right to amend the Constitution. There can hardly be any more compelling cause to do so than the crisis of public safety we've been facing (or, more accurately, not facing) for years. The words "well regulated" are written into the Second Amendment, and they weren't added for filler. A new amendment is needed to take that intention beyond the reach of misunderstanding, profiteering and fear-mongering.

-- Donna Spencer

Beckley, W.Va.


Survival of the cutest

BY CINTRA WILSON
(05/05/99)

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Cintra Wilson misses the point when she bemoans David Blaine's celebrity
and pities Ricky Jay for not being "fuckable." Only someone who has
already bought into the notion that associating with supermodels is the
measure of success could see Ricky Jay's career and reputation as anything
less than matchless. The New York run of "Ricky Jay and His 52
Assistants" sold out faster than any show in Off-Broadway history. Far
from having the limited success Wilson claims, his current fees run as
high as $32,000 for one night's performance (I know this because I was
recently asked to look into his availability for a corporate function).
And he's pretty well booked through the end of the year, his agent
reports. So I wouldn't waste any tears on poor Ricky Jay, unknown to the
likes of nightclub kids from Queens. Cute or not, he's "surviving" just
fine -- unless, like Wilson, you think that attention from Leo DiCaprio,
models and random teenagers is the litmus test for success.

-- Stephanie Dobler

I must object to the racist, sexist, homophobic tone of this piece. To
equate "rich old homos" to slave owners is absurd and plays into the
hands of the anti-intellectual stylists Wilson attempts to skewer.
Her columns are frequently less than substantive, more flame than fuel,
but in this case she has burned her own bad self alive.

-- Gary Porter

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Precarious prescriptions

BY ROB WATERS
(05/05/99)

I was surprised that no one has proposed this simple solution: In addition to writing the
name of the drug, the AMA or FDA should require the doctor to write
down a unique identifying number for that drug. ID numbers have
existed for commercial products since the invention of the bar code.
Chances are a system of ID numbers exists for drugs already, so why not
use it?

-- Mark Kirk


"I think I hate the little midget"

ASSOCIATED PRESS
(05/05/99)

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You'd think that powerful men who command vast armies of entertainment
professionals and are paid millions of dollars wouldn't have to stoop to
the level of name-calling when speaking of each other. I'm sure
Eisner's statement comes from anger, but the fact that he
was speaking to an author ready to publish a tell-all book doesn't make
him look much better than the executive whom he fired for going public so
often.

-- Dave Karner


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