Letters for August 14, 2003
Can't you find anything else to write about? New Times has had two recent cover stories in one month involving firearms. In "Gunning for Profit" (July 10), Eric Barton wrote about the ease with which unscrupulous persons can mail firearms to guerrillas overseas in violation of federal laws. The cover of this issue pictured a restricted II & K submachine gun. In "Catered to Death" (August 7), Wyatt Olson wrote on the handgun murder/suicide of banquet-hall owners Jerome Berlin and Michael Pecora. The cover pictured a handgun and ammunition soaking in a blood-filled serving tray. The article stated, "Few of his friends or associates knew that Pecora had a license to carry a concealed firearm."
The sensational nature of the two recent pictures undoubtedly attracted the public to read the stories. However, this was done at the cost of once again distorting the public's perception of firearms. The situation is similar to Hollywood's endless exaggeration of gun violence to bring in viewers and profits. It creates an impression that gun ownership in America is a grave peril to us all. The impression develops because of the lack of any other images of gun ownership in America.
Has the public read about South Florida residents enjoying an afternoon of target shooting at Markham Park? Has the public read about a homeowner or business owner defending themselves with a firearm? Has the public read about the extremely low number of concealed firearms permits issued to people who have committed crimes with firearms? Would not having a concealed firearms permit have deterred Mr. Pecora's plans?
As a member of the media, New Times has a responsibility to do more than draw readers to its advertisers. Sensational cover pictures and one-sided images of gun ownership create a distorted view of gun owners and gun use.
The sex ads are only the start: Do you like writers' opinions? Well here's mine!
My beef? Your newspaper!
One or two of your articles may be interesting, especially if the subject is political issues, because political issues are my cup of tea! I noticed you like to dice people up, and you do a good job, especially Bob Norman. But the fact remains... Why not be civilized? Your whole newspaper smacks of manure! That is, you inject all manner of vile rhetoric! I have never read of so much animosity and hatred. Politics is a rough ball game, but you crucify it! Then again, your whole newspaper is vile! It's hard to believe that the first amendment to the Constitution permits you to write in such a filthy manner. Shame on you!
Your Dan Savage column is the most putrid on Earth! I'm sure there is a hell waiting for a newspaper. Yours will go there. Look, we all know politics is a corrupt field, but you too are corrupt! Your paper reeks of corruption! Especially those massage parlor babe prostitutes. The Federal Communications Commission, those crumb bums, should be ashamed of the filth allowed on our airwaves, books, newspapers (like yours), and magazines. Those bastards I consider worse than Saddam!! If you are going to be corrupt, don't be a hypocrite. Money doesn't change what you are. A dog face you shall remain. Sorry, I didn't mean to insult dogs. Your paper doesn't come close. It's hard to believe there are so many whores floating around, but there are, in your filthy magazine/newspaper! How do you live with yourself, putting this garbage out week after week? How do you sleep nights, publishing vileness the likes of which I have never seen? Do you hate the world? Is there anyone you trust?
Your paper reeks of venom, not just plain news. Perhaps that's because it's a dog-eat-dog world. But does it have to be that way? You demons! I'll pray for your souls.
Pay through the nose: I am writing in response to Dan Sweeney's July 31 article about the Android Lust show in Night & Day. The truth is, there was no Android Lust concert or "gig"; it was merely a CD-release party. Many people came to the club under the false impression that there was going to be a show, so we had to explain to them that the article was erroneous. Some people demanded that their $5 admission be returned and assumed that it was a ruse by us (abusementparkent.com ) to get people in the club.
Every Saturday, Freez is a fetish-friendly gothic industrial club. It's open from 10 p.m. till 4 a.m. On the fourth Saturday of the month at Freez is the Funeral, which is the largest pure gothic and darkwave event in the Southeast.
As fetish parties go, there are several that run on a monthly basis and advertise in your magazine. We host two of these parties, Recess and the Playground. Recess (an underground fetish play/dinner party) is held on the first Thursday of every month (9 p.m. to 4 a.m.) at Plato's Repeat on Sunrise Boulevard. The Playground fetish party is on the fourth Saturday of the month (10 p.m. to 10 a.m.) at the Forum on Federal Highway in Pompano.
The past few years, the dark underground scene has been hard to keep afloat. We hope it flourishes once again.
Via the Internet
Bellows: Bravo to New Times for doing such a good job on the story about the film Florida Fights Back that we've been pushing now for months ("Still Steaming," Wyatt Olson, July 24). Investigation is the operative word, if any candidate is going to defeat George Bush -- who is, by the way, most vulnerable. I ran for governor as an independent Democrat last year in Florida against Jeb Bush. With only a $17,000 budget, I got more than 42,000 votes to demand a federal investigation of the stolen election. It's a great starting point for any candidate wanting to defeat Bush in 2004.
Bush, the liar and thief, needs to be exposed. Is there one Democrat running for president who will trust the people and state our case and demand these investigations? This is our effort for the New Hampshire, Iowa, South Carolina primaries and others as well in confronting the candidates to persuade them to take a stand and make this part of their platforms.
Fly free. Fly away: Eric Barton's July 10 article "Gunning for Profit" suggests that international markets obtain semiautomatic rifles from Florida. This suggestion does not square with the facts.
Fully automatic firearms -- such as the AKM 47 and the PK hand-held light machine gun -- are used all over the world. These fully automatic rifles have a worldwide market presence and are of Soviet design. American arms, on the other hand, have no such worldwide presence. Moreover, other countries besides the United States manufacture and sell semiautomatic versions of rifles. For example, Finland, Russia, and Israel manufacture semi-automatic rifles. These rifles look like fully automatic rifles, but they can fire only in the semiautomatic mode, one shot at a time.
For several years, a United Nations committee has been trying to formulate an international agreement imposing strict controls on the illegal international traffic in firearms and other arms, including the stinger missiles featured in your article. The U.N. knows full well that this illegal traffic exists on a grand scale and that Florida is not and could not possibly be its main source. For all these reasons, international smugglers have no need to purchase stinger missiles or rifles of any kind in Florida -- or anywhere else in the United States, for that matter. They can go to many, many other countries where these weapons are freely available on the black and white markets.
David I. Caplan
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