Letters to the editor

Left, right, left: Who will march for gun control? Plus: Pine Ridge is off the media's map; Palestinian poetry doesn't belong in Israeli classrooms.

Published March 15, 2000 5:00PM (EST)

What a few good women can do


I am sick of all the talk about gun control. Not one child has been killed by the owner of a legal gun! Perhaps if teachers were allowed to be armed, the murderers would be afraid to go into the schools with guns in the first place. The Constitution gives me the right to carry a gun and no judge will ever take my gun away. I will protect my family and I don't care how many "trespassers" I have to shoot to do so. If everyone was armed, there would be no rapes, muggings or any other violent crime because the cowards committing them would be too afraid they might get shot.

-- Jim Britt

I am a mother who also happens to be a responsible gun owner. I agree with those who state that it is a lack of morals in our society that is causing the problems today. Fifty years ago, it was not uncommon to see teens bringing guns to school so that they could hunt after classes. These people did not murder their classmates. They had been brought up to respect the sanctity of human life, and to handle guns with respect and care. If people would enforce the gun laws that responsible owners like myself fought to put into place, then these heinous crimes would end. Instead of fighting to take guns away from law-abiding citizens, fight to keep them out of the hands of the criminals that kill our children.

-- Marybeth Mitcham

I am associated with the Second Amendment Sisters as a writer and legal researcher. These ladies formed a true grass-roots movement on the Internet after becoming aware of the Million Mom March. Their sole purpose is to educate women regarding the issues of personal liberty, self defense and firearms ownership. They are not associated with any firearms rights group, nor have they accepted any assistance from them.

The Second Amendment Sisters will never give up their right to protect themselves and their children. They will be marching alongside of the moms on Mother's Day, in hopes of educating them about the lies they have been told. If you would like more information regarding the Second Amendment Sisters visit their Web site or e-mail them at moms4guns@yahoo.com.

-- Mark Alexander
Middletown, Md.

Why not have all the major cities across the country also participate in this Moms March on the same day in their own cities for those moms who cannot go to Washington for various personal reasons?

-- Diana Stein

A child shoots a child


Beth Broeker makes the oldest error in the book: that there is only one cause for complex problems. The fact that the Michigan child was abused and neglected does not invalidate the role of guns in the problem, just as the fact that a gun was used does not invalidate the effect of neglect. There is no single "real" problem here. If you tackle either problem you will get some improvement; better still, tackle both.

-- William McIlhagga

Bravo for Boeker's article. As Clinton and Heston duke it out over gun control, another million children go to bed neglected and abused. Forget gun locks, what about reproduction locks?

-- Ranald Bruce

Bury the news at Wounded Knee



I was on the Pine Ridge Reservation for the American Indian Movement's armed takeover of the reservation in the 1970s. There as members of the small media presence for the first armed uprising of American citizens against the government since the Civil War, we were shocked to learn how little Americans were hearing about the rebellion.

Native Americans remain invisible to the U.S. public. In this time of a soaring economy it is horrendous that we allow even the smallest portion of our population to live in such horrendous conditions.

Will it take guns again to remind us? Mao's reflection that "political power grows out of the barrel of a gun," seems somehow dated here in the new millennium. But it remains true nonetheless. If we don't move soon to correct the tremendous poverty of the Oglala Sioux, we may find ourselves faced with another Battle of Wounded Knee.

-- Marcus Dinsmore

As a loyal reader born and raised not more than 40 miles from a reservation in South Dakota, and as a current resident of Minneapolis, I had no idea what was going on at Pine Ridge. While it is comforting to see the people of the Oglala Nation taking control of their government, it's more than a little disheartening that I learned about this story from an Internet-based publication from San Francisco. Thank you for keeping me informed of the story and covering what my local media ignores. I can only hope Pine Ridge's people finally instate the responsive, honest government they truly deserve.

-- Matthew Foster

Julie Winokur's piece on media apathy toward Indian Country sheds light on the one chronic problem on reservations that no one seems to know about. There are dozens of compelling, highly newsworthy stories about American Indians that simply never get covered. As the only public relations consultant in Washington working with tribes and Indian interest groups, this is a wall I've banged my head against for years.

The excuses offered by the national press usually involve logistics ("the reservation is too far away"), timing ("that's not a breaking story, call back and we can try to hook it to Thanksgiving") or circular logic ("our readers/viewers just don't care that much about Indians").

There's a terrific media criticism article in all of this. Someone else will have to write it, though, since all the journals I pitched said they weren't interested.

-- Jim McCarthy
McCarthy Communications
Washington, D.C.

The Palestinian verses



The issue of whether or not to study the poems of Darwish can also be traced to the fact that his attitude may not have changed in any significant way. Multiculturalism in Israel does not require the study of Palestinian poetry any more than the Palestinian study of Zionist literature (which is used merely as "proof" of Israel's odiousness).

Yasser Arafat's mother is also a renowned poetess and writer, who wrote of her desire "to eat the livers of Israeli soldiers." The study of such Palestinian works of literary art has no place in Israeli schools, except to delegitimatize the very foundations of the state of Israel. Palestinian literature and writings are filled with vilification of Israel. Most vilification is couched in covert expression.

As a journalist and a student of the Middle East conflict and a citizen for almost 12 years, I have studied the conflict from sociopolitical and historic angles. The conclusion I have drawn is that the Arab attitude has not changed and there is no reason to feel that such poetic and literary expression, no matter how appetizing it appears, that gives reason to change this view.

-- Stuart E. Hersh

In contrast to changes being introduced into the Israeli schools to promote peace efforts, I would like to point out the difference in the Palestinian Authority's school books. For example, on all the maps in the Palestine Authority textbooks "Palestine" replaces "Israel" and Israeli towns and cities are designated Palestinian locales. The maps do not acknowledge that the country Israel exists. An eighth-grade literary text denies Jewish connection to the Western Wall and the children are taught to identify Muslim and Christian holy sites, while Jewish ones are not mentioned. Ninth-graders are taught in the Palestinian schools from official texts that "treachery and disloyalty are character traits of the Jews and therefore one should beware of them."

-- L. Averick

Gobsmacked II


Puff Daddy and I finally have something in common. "When we're together I don't see [Jennifer Lopez] as a singer or anything like that," he said.

That makes two of us.

-- Carole Thorpe

By Salon Staff

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