Letters to the Editor 

The Rant

I was amused by Tim Sampson's "Rant" (April 26th issue). Good idea to send Alec Baldwin to Darfur for rehab so that the place will get some coverage. He also cleverly made fun of Reagan's funeral, the Gonzales hearings, the war in Iraq, and most of last week's news — well done!

But Sampson's comments about women were disturbing to me as a man. Certainly the "California creature" in the miniskirt sounds like she was difficult to be around. Certainly the women in the NutriSystem ads were annoying. But to wish violence against them — even as a "joke" in the form of rabid porcupines — just isn't funny.

I've worked with survivors of men's violence for many years. Jokes about women, and about violence against women, do not cause someone to run out and perpetrate that violence. But they help to create a climate where that kind of violence is tolerated.

Sampson is obviously smart, a great writer, and a funny man. I wish he would use his talents to make jokes but not make them sexist, racist, homophobic, etc. And please don't make jokes that trivialize violence against girls and women.  

Ben Atherton-Zeman

Acton, Massachusetts

Guns and Ammo

I don't believe for a minute that Marty Aussenberg is a gun owner (Viewpoint, May 3rd issue). He writes that Clint Eastwood in the movie Dirty Harry used the mother of all guns, the .357 Magnum. Real gun owners know that Dirty Harry used a .44 Magnum.

Good try! Next time you publish an article about a gun owner who has seen the evil of his ways, at least find a real gun owner.

J. Mann


Marty Aussenberg concludes that arming oneself for protection is not a solution to gun violence. The primary basis for his conclusion is that on one occasion, he was confronted by an armed robber but decided not to use his own firearm in self-defense.

Aussenberg is partially correct. Deadly force will not be the best option in every circumstance. In the instance cited, he decided an armed response was inappropriate. In a different situation, the ability to employ deadly force might save his life or that of numerous other individuals. Divesting oneself of the means of self-defense takes that option away and leaves one completely at the mercy of armed criminals. I, for one, would prefer to keep my options open.

I should also point out that Dirty Harry favored a .44 Magnum, not a .357 Magnum.

Dwayne S. Byrd

Munford, Tennessee

The Second Amendment to the Constitution states: "A well-regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed." Obviously, the need for a state militia has been replaced by the National Guard and Coast Guard. Their weapons are tightly controlled and safeguarded.  

The only two reasons for a citizen to own a firearm are for hunting and defense of his household from intruders. In either case, ownership of a handgun, shotgun, or shoulder rifle is more than adequate. There is absolutely no need for any United States civilian to own any weapon more powerful or sophisticated than these. If we had prohibited the purchase of more sophisticated weapons, several innocent victims would not have died at Virginia Tech.

Joe Bialek

Cleveland, Mississippi

Government Doesn't Work

Republicans have been telling Americans for years that government doesn't work. Under their control of all branches of our government, they have proven their point.

More than 3 million illegal aliens have entered the U.S. since 9/11. No one knows how many are terrorists. Our food supply has been compromised, thanks to budget and staff cuts at the FDA and Department of Agriculture. Bush appointees from every division of government, including inside the White House, have been found guilty or are under investigation. Some have taken the Fifth before Congress.

The last election proved that the American people are fed up with Republicans and big business putting profits before safety and common decency. Billions of dollars are still unaccounted for in Iraq while American troops die. President Bush and his gang have done more harm to our great nation than any outside enemy has ever done.  

Jack Bishop 


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