Letters for August 23-29, 2007

It's Not a Freak Show

The right to bare our arms: The rhetorical fireworks in Jamie Laughlin's piece about the Gun and Knife Show at the Fort Lauderdale War Memorial ("A Quick Lesson in Firearms," Night & Day, August 16) were telegraphed from the first sentence, and as a result, reality was consumed with it. I've been to a few gun shows in my years, most out of state. I was at the Fort Lauderdale gun show at prime time Saturday, and I didn't happen to see any "deranged" vendors. I was also searching high and low for the described "men present... wearing T-shirts that artfully depict Florida as a handgun." Didn't find a single one of them either. And I didn't see the shifty-eyed Nazi paraphernalia-hocking dudes who are "imagining you naked." I went in loaded with certain depictions after this impact primer by Laughlin and instead saw the place packed with tables on the main floor and more on the second level of which not a single vendor appeared less than friendly, courteous, helpful, and educated (gasp!). Also, out of some 230-plus tables on the main floor, there was a total of two tables with Nazi paraphernalia — but sharing space on those tables were Japanese and American WW2 items as well. The vendor, the one your piece thus inadvertently insulted, appeared knowledgeable and supereducated in all manner of memorabilia.

As for the people-watching, you should be reminded that these people are your neighbors. Every race was represented. They wore football jerseys, NASCAR T-shirts, polos, and golf attire, etc. All were focused on the material, and those who sought it out were appreciative of the concealed-weapons permit classes offered. Aside from the contemporary hunting and military-style handguns and rifles, numerous tables were fit for the history and mechanical buff, given there were so many examples of fine vintage and collectors arms for sale. Nobody at these gun shows gasps in shock at the "treasure-trove of the newest handbags catering to women's concealed weapons (no shit)." In fact, nearly everybody is there for the services provided, which appear singularly to help us make better decisions in the realm of the very serious business of weapons ownership. The selection of arms was impressive, and the attendees were focused.

Your piece should have warned that the prices at these gun shows can be rather inflated versus those of other vendors or even online. And you were mistaken — credit cards were king, and last names were required..

This letter was written on a 1930s-era Remington No. 5 Portable Typewriter (and cc'd by e-mail), which symbolically attests to the time when writers for a paper hopefully focused more on the facts using research rather than presenting silly stereotyped hyperbole.

Haven't you ever been to a local gun show? Yeah, you'd be the one with the shifty eyes and the gaping mouth with your foot in it (bullet hole in your foot optional). Get real; then get educated.

Name withheld by request

Fort Lauderdale

Had a Nice Fall

You get the flavor: Amy Guthrie's article on David Lee Edwards ("Powerfall," August 16) was extremely well-written. She did a lot of newsgathering and captured the story very well.

I am a native of Ashland, Kentucky, and lived there when Edwards won the lottery. (I have since retired to Sanibel.) While the newspaper in Ashland has covered the story from time to time, your article gets the flavor of his downfall. Excellent journalism.

David E. Carter

Sanibel

You get the details: Thank you for this article. I have been researching David Lee Edwards' downfall, and this has to be one of the most in-depth and informative articles I have read. Great work!

Name withheld by request

Statesville, North Carolina

All-American Hollywood

More reasons to love this place: You guys forgot to include some of the excellent features that must have contributed to Hollywood's All-American City Award ("Everybody's All-American," Tailpipe, August 16):

1. The "All-American" homicide festival that started with a murder and a rape on January 1, 2007.

2. The "All-American" ($1,715) party on July 3, 2006, at Michael's Kitchen, during which the city entertained a Chinese delegation and Angela Jackson was arrested for a peaceful protest against the event.

3. The "All-American" drug dealers running all over Adams Street, Madison Street, Henry Graham Park, Washington Park, and every other place in District 2, while officials claim that crime is down 77 percent.

4. The famous "All-American" death of Anna Nicole and the nightly "All-American" arrests at the Hard Rock that the Seminole police are not required to report. (Wanna borrow my scanner?)

5. The infrastructure miracle of the leaking and breaking water and sewer pipes and the dying reef off of Hollywood Beach.

6. The "All-American" homeless people taking baths in the fountain at the $32 million Art Park.

Asa Boynton

Hollywood

 
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