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'The Brady bill is fatally flawed,' says reader

Re: Pass the Brady bill, by Martin Dyckman, Oct. 1.

The Brady bill is fatally flawed and should never be passed. There is a definite violent crime problem in America. On the one hand, our entertainment media glorify all types of sadistic torture and violence to young viewers. On the other, the courts hand out lenient sentences to violent offenders (often repeat offenders) and the jails set criminals free because of lack of prison space.

As was mentioned in the column, "it certainly will not close down the black market in stolen guns, and any kid with $20 or a piece of crack cocaine may still be able to get one." The only persons affected by the Brady bill would be honest citizens who are exercising their rights to arm themselves, possibly to defend themselves from "the kid with $20 or a piece of crack cocaine."

Current federal law makes it illegal for convicted felons or minors to purchase firearms of any kind. Black-market gun buyers will not be affected by any kind of waiting period, including the current three-day period in Florida. The 15-day waiting period in California has not stopped criminal activity, as evidenced by the looting and destruction which occurred in Los Angeles.

The column considers the Brady bill to be a modest first step _ but toward what? Banning the private ownership of firearms guaranteed in the Second Amendment of the Bill of Rights? That kind of "gun control" served the likes of Hitler and Stalin all too well. Without the Second Amendment right to bear arms, how long would we have the First Amendment right to free speech?

All the examples of gun-toting youngsters and gang shootings mentioned in the column would not be stopped or even slowed by passage of the Brady bill. Only the rights of the law-abiding would be compromised and we have already had too much of that.

David Sturgis, Yankeetown

Re: Pass the Brady bill, by Martin Dyckman, Oct. 1.

Once again the blinding light of reason has fallen on Martin Dyckman, and he closes his eyes. I speak of the Los Angeles riots and the need of citizens for self-protection.

Dyckman wishes for passage of the seven-day-wait Brady bill. Well, there is a 15-day waiting period in California. When the riots started, people rushed to arm themselves after police said they would not _ or could not _ protect them. They were told they would have to wait 15 days to protect themselves. The people were justifiably outraged, wanting to know how this could be _ in America. Not only that, but people who had complied with the waiting period could not take possession of their already paid-for firearms _ or get ammunition. On whose hands does the blood of the innocents in Los Angeles dry? The police? The California Legislature? The looters? The liberal press?

I say all of the above.

Finally, toward the end of Dyckman's column, he admits the Brady bill won't stop criminal activity involving guns. So why have the law? I believe I wouldn't get an argument from Dyckman that what he really wants is no private ownership of firearms _ the same position as NBC president Michael Gartner.

I assume the "lobby" Dyckman referred to was the NRA. What he didn't say is that as a direct result of what happened in Los Angeles, membership in the NRA is growing by 1,500 people a day in California alone. You can't fool all the people all the time, Mr. Dyckman.

Peter D. Drain, St. Petersburg

Some originality, please

Re: Oxford-bashing Bush tries to wrap himself in a blue collar by Mary McGrory, Oct. 2, stating, "I'm not sure if that chicken-suited heckler is from Oxford, England, or if he's the one that dumps the fecal coliform bacteria into the Arkansas River." Mr. President, please attempt to initiate some sense of originality with regard to your "bashing" of the Democratic candidate. The aforementioned comment is still fresh in our minds (1988: Willie Horton and Boston's polluted harbor). Sound familiar?

I'm certain the general public is aware of the abject disparagement of this campaign as the days press on to voting time. If not, I will be happy to sell them a diamond mine in Seminole.

Robert F. McKendrew, St. Petersburg

It's puzzling

Monday is a legal holiday. A lot of people have it off. Our schools are open. Friday, the schools are closed. This is what happens during most of our legal holidays. They will tell you that the teachers are working Friday. They are not. They will tell you that the students are going to be studying Columbus Day on Monday. They won't. It's typical of Pinellas County. I don't understand it, and I don't think they do either.

Dan Morgan, Indian Rocks Beach

Power at the ballot box

I was appalled at the inane statement by a reader as to why people don't register to vote.

The statement was made in regard to the writer's disgust at the non-action by the Hillsborough County commissioners against Property Appraiser Ron Alderman. I, too, felt punitive action should have been the order of the day. But, as I understand the law, only the governor can remove Alderman for cause.

However, the county commissioners can and should be held responsible for their (majority) attitude regarding this situation, and the only way they can be held to account is at the ballot box. Florida politicians are still trying to hold on to the "good-old-boy" days where the "power" is shared by father and son, cousin and cousin, or friend and friend.

The only way to get rid of these corrupt, wasteful, lackadaisical pols is at the ballot box. Wake up, Floridians. You are the power, but only if you assert your rights on election day.

Mary T. Moeser, Beverly Hills

Proud to use the "L" word

It was truly edifying to read U.S. Army Col. T.S. Jones' letter, Oct. 5. Unlike many people today, he isn't afraid to use the "L" word to describe himself and his political philosophy.

If not for the liberal ideals of its founders and those who followed in their footsteps, where would our nation be today? Liberals have always been the ones to move this country forward. Conservatives stand still and watch the world pass by. They seem oblivious to the real problems facing our country, and they are perceived by many as indifferent to the needs, both material and spiritual, of our nation.

Many Americans are disgusted and angered by the economic and social setbacks of the past 12 years. Media people have been telling us that we get the government we deserve. After Reagan and Bush, two of our most conservative presidents, perhaps the American people will once again deserve the blessings of liberalism.

Frances Capasso, Treasure Island

Quote of the week

Quotation of the week: Cokie Roberts on This Week With David Brinkley, discussing the coming presidential debates _ "The American public won't understand what the candidates are talking about. The only way they will understand is by watching the news commentators after the debate."

Robert Dudenhoefer Sr., Largo

An apology

I apologize.

Some time ago, I wrote a snotty letter criticizing a Don Addis cartoon.

I am ashamed of myself. It was petty of me.

First, I should not blame the artist if I do not understand his art. If I did not "get it," it was not his fault. Besides, on the chance that he did falter that day, I should have overlooked it. After all, I have even (gasp) been accused of making mistakes myself. I think my letter was a good example of one of them.

Don Addis is consistently good. The St. Petersburg Times is lucky to have him. And I am lucky to have the St. Petersburg Times.

Hugh Paulk, Belleair

"Typical' behavior?

I simply couldn't believe how many of the pro-lifers demonstrating with "Abortion Kills Children" signs on U.S. 19 on Oct. 4 brought their own babies and small children along _ to sit in the hot sun, breathe auto exhaust and risk getting hit by cars. What could be more irresponsible than bringing children to stand and play a couple of yards from a highway as notoriously dangerous as U.S. 19?

On second thought, this is typical of the respect pro-lifers demonstrate for the post-born.

V.

L. Dorrough, Palm Harbor

Trip suggestion

Re: Of barriers, apartheid and today, Sept. 27.

As one who travels worldwide _ Europe, Asia, Africa, Latin America and Australia _ I find Robert Jenkins' litmus test suggesting that we not travel to countries with repressive regimes ill-advised. As a travel editor he should stick to his area of competence.

Jenkins lists "China, the former Soviet Union, Vietnam, Noriega's Panama, and even Israel" as countries which probably should be avoided on moral grounds. Why shouldn't a list include repressive Arab states such as Syria, Algeria, Yemen, Saudi Arabia, and "even" Egypt? Based on the resurgence of Nazism in Germany, that country might well be added to the list. We could also consider the human rights violations in Kenya, and add the Sudan for its butchering of its black Christian Nilotics.

Most offensive of all, however, is the "even Israel" inclusion on Jenkins' list. I just returned from a visit to Israel this summer. There was ready access to the holy places of Christians, Muslims and Jews; this was not so when Jerusalem, for example, was under Arab Jordanian control. Visits to the Weizmann Institute of Science in Rehovat and the Hadassah Hospital revealed the contributions Israeli research and science are making for the entire world. The country is beautiful, interesting and, indeed, a tourist's delight. My advice: Visit Israel, the only democratic country in the Middle East!

Norman N. Gross, Palm Harbor

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