Letters to the editor

Gun-control laws belie common sense

A 5-year-old child was killed on May 25, 1998, in Hendersonville, N.C. The accident occurred while his twin brother was playing with a handgun that had slid from the front seat of the car to the rear floor. Sounds like a great case for more gun control, doesn’t it?

On the contrary, it was most likely the government’s futile attempts at gun control that caused the accident. There were no charges filed in this tragic accident because, in my opinion, the state would have had to put itself on trial — which might have ended up with a lawsuit by the boy’s father, and bad publicity for the government and the gun-control advocates.

To give substance to my reasoning, the father of that child was carrying his pistol in accordance with the law — a law that is still on the books, unless the government has stealthily changed the law to cover their stupidity. This ridiculous law states that a handgun must be in full view at all times while in a motor vehicle. I suspect that if it were up to the father, he would have had his gun locked safely in the glove compartment — which is against the law.

Recently, a felon abandoned a stolen car, leaving behind a loaded handgun on the car seat. Trooper M.D. Baily [as quoted in the Hendersonville Times-News] remarked, “A deputy stopping this individual may have been shot because the suspect had the gun on the seat ready to go.” I suspect no policeman wants a gun “ready to go” for felons or children to use. The felon and the father were both carrying guns in the manner prescribed by law.

Recently, a Supreme Court justice stated, “There is no room for common sense in the law.” This case proves his point.

— Bob Collins
Hendersonville

Citizens for Change not amused by cartoon

This pertains to the cartoon “Welcome to a polite, fair and elegant campaign!” [Frank Smiley’s Eye, July 26].

First, the [Buncombe County Board of Commissioners] candidates had nothing to do with the rally. They were invited to stop by if they so chose.

The rally was held by a political-action committee called Citizens for Change. We made the banners. One in Fairview said “Replace the Commissioners.” It stayed up the whole time. The other one said “Dump the Commissioners,” and was stolen within two days. It was not replaced with anything — certainly not one that said “replace” instead of “dump.” The hot dogs weren’t free. We had a meal that people paid for. We had a band and very nice door prizes.

CFC is not pleased with the direction we are now headed under our present county government. We will be having meetings in all areas to raise money to “dump the commissioners.” Our PAC is made up of Democrats, Republicans and independents. The candidates cannot be members. I would appreciate it if these facts were made known to the public. Your cartoon made the candidates look bad.

— Peggy Bennett
treasurer, Citizens for Change

[Citizens for Change can be reached at 683-3701.]

Jesus not so tolerant after all

I’d like to respond to Mr. [Andrew] D’Onofrio’s comments regarding Jesus and His alleged “many paths up the mountain” statement [Letters, Aug. 2]. I know a little about the Bible and I’ve never read anything like that. In fact, scripture points out that just the opposite is true. Read the book of John, chapter 5, verses 19-45.

You also mentioned systematic intolerance. Jesus, who is without sin, would not put up with His father’s temple being turned into a flea market. He formed a whip out of cords and drove all the moneychangers and people selling cattle from the temple in Jerusalem. He grew so angry with them that he even turned over the tables and scattered money everywhere. That seems a little intolerant, don’t you think? Jesus teaches us to love one another, but not to embrace sin and to pray for those who do. Read John, chapter 2, verses 12-25.

Jesus is God — the same God that destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah with fire because those cities had become shameful harbors of homosexuality. I guess that might give you an idea what He thinks about “sexual preference.” Read Genesis, chapter 19.

You also made the statement that if Jesus were alive today he would not be a Christian. A Christian is a person who’s got the good sense to know just how short we fall from God’s perfection. A Christian is a person who has confessed his sin and has asked for and received God’s grace and forgiveness through Jesus Christ. I guess you were right about that. He’s the leader, and we Christians are the followers. Christians are not perfect, and we have no right to judge others. Christ will do that himself. By studying his word, we do get a very good sense of what is right and what is wrong. Sometimes I guess we express ourselves in the wrong way.

And by the way, Jesus is alive. If He walked the streets of Asheville and ran into you, He’d ask you to stop telling lies about Him. Then, and this is just my humble opinion, He might take a whip and run those gays out of that church in Biltmore. He might send fire and brimstone to rain down on all the abortion clinics. Maybe he’d turn those liberal Democrats into Republicans … talk about miracles.

— George Smith
Fletcher

It’s time to force AIDS organizations to change

I count myself among the few people who would endure the discomfort and select to confront an injustice within their community — unlike many others who perhaps fear disapproval or rejection by friends, neighbors, colleagues or coworkers. However, choosing an appropriate path, rather than one of self-protection or to preserve a contradiction, can prove to be a lonely and difficult pursuit.

Now — surpassing three-and-a-half years of activism in pursuit of accountability at AIDS service organizations (ASOs) in Western North Carolina, countless attacks on my credibility, and a few … notorious lawsuits in the balance without achieving this goal to date — I can no longer, in good conscience, justifiably concern myself with public opinion at every turn.

It has been my pleasure as of late, to remind critics and proponents alike that anyone who might nefariously lead you to believe that any issue at an ASO is rectified — while in the same breath mentioning my name in a negative light, dangerously misleading an unsuspecting and trusting audience — might well be reminded that their only fear should be the day the truth catches up with them.

Anytime someone … is allowed to defame an individual or group of people, whether by description or depiction, those people can become regarded as less than human. The objects of such discrimination tend to be viewed as less important as individuals, and perhaps less deserving of a place at the decision-making table.

Joan M. Garry recently stated, “What does it matter if hurt or harm comes to such people, such thinking goes; they’re not as important as the rest of us, and consequently less worthy of our regard or concern. This erosion of mutual respect is just that: a mutual loss for us all.”

While it is few who understand the principals that drive the calling I pursue, oftentimes without respect, I count those individuals as worthy friends and associates indeed. Lately, however, in the miasma of fictitious rumors and innuendoes, some members of this unnamed group of open-minded individuals have begun to question my actions.

Researching for many hours or sitting at the table for meetings has to date, in many ways, proven fruitless. My findings have not been recognized or resulted in commensurate change within a reasonable time frame. Therefore, regardless of public opinion, it is time to take my efforts directly to those who fail to react proactively.

Resultantly, it will soon be my pleasure to reflect my findings on the doorstep of several organizations, should immediate progress not become noticeable. In my experience, protest has proven to be the most useful tool in revealing issues and inadequacies — and, in fact, consumes less time overall. …

That’s my public opinion.

— Kevin P. Nuttall
N.C. AIDS Policy Center
Asheville

Rightist views deserve a voice, minus the hysteria

I commend you for your overall pretty fair article about John Ainsworth and T.I.G.E.R. [“T.I.G.E.R. by the tail,” Aug. 9].

We constitutionalists are sick of being demonized by a press hysterical about matters of putative hate, bigotry and extremism — who themselves personify these very vices to a T. I urge you to give rightist news and views further exposure without hysteria.

Everywhere we turn, the most dire predictions from the right are coming to pass. A friend here in Anderson, S.C., was fired from Books-A-Million for refusing to give a hair sample for DNA and drug testing. Teachers in Maine have been forced to give their fingerprints in a totally bogus, unsupported, undocumented quest to screen out pedophiles. A teenage boy is incarcerated in Aiken, S.C., in response to a stupid whispering campaign by other students about his political views.

America is a gulag in the making! Where are the TV cameras?

— Nelson Waller
secretary, South Carolina Council of Conservative Citizens
Anderson, S.C.

Don’t let Asheville become another Atlanta

I was recently in Asheville on vacation and read the commentary by Bill Walz, titled “Asheville (and America) at the crossroads” [Aug. 2]. This was an excellent and timely essay! I hope more citizens (not consumers) in the Asheville area will give strong consideration to Bill’s ideas about the future course of quality of life in your city.

I live in Atlanta, which has become cluttered with corporate logos, is beset with the worst car traffic imaginable, suffers from increasing humidity and smog in the summer, and is an increasingly impersonal place because everyone is in such a hurry. But we’re told by civic leaders that growth is so “wonderful.”

I currently lead an adult-education workshop at the Unitarian Universalist Church on the theme of “simple living.” We meet monthly to study how we can live more mindfully and spiritually by reducing material consumption, and how to use leisure in more meaningful ways than going to the mall. In addition to legislative changes that would promote environmental sustainability, our group believes that the best way to transform society is through citizen-action groups that voluntarily opt out of the consumer rat race. …

I would really like to meet Bill in person to gain further ideas and to share what we are doing.

Living more mindfully and simply is catching on nationally!

— Eric Lyons
Atlanta

CDs vs. vinyl: Can’t we all just get along?

This is in response to Allison Frank’s article on the comeback of vinyl albums [“Outside the lines,” July 26].

Every time I read an article about the re-emergence of vinyl, I can’t help but feel sorry for record-store owners. Their defensive stands have them sounding like DiCaprio clinging to a broken piece of the mast in the icy waters of the Atlantic. [People] who were once the “kings of the world” don’t know if they’ll be around tomorrow.

Many of us know by now that vinyl albums were pushed out of the mainstream, not by public disinterest, but by record companies’ insistence on making [the public] buy CDs. So before we hear a collective “Screw you!” from the vinyl-hating, CD-loving folks, let’s lay out the pros and cons of each format to see that one is not better than the other.

Vinyl may have a “warmer” sound compared to CDs, but CDs don’t lose a “generation” with each play. It does seem that the art of vinyl album-cover design is lost with CDs. However, for newer and even established artists, CDs’ digital medium allows one to send music through the Internet, as well as to receive it via downloading — making for a bigger exchange of musical possibilities worldwide. Buying albums is a cheaper way to take a chance and rediscover older artists. CDs, on the other hand, can be a better deal, because they can hold up to twice as much music.

Many songs, albums and artist collections have yet to be released on CD. Or, [as is] the case with A&M Records, catalogue[s] have been poorly reissued and neglected. So it’s best to get that copy of Supertramp’s Breakfast in America or Joe Jackson’s Look Sharp on vinyl. Although I personally love the kitsch value of a K-Tel or Ronco compilation, Rhino Records has reissued many of the same song collections with extensive artist info and better sound. (The more songs K-Tel crammed on a platter, the smaller the groove and the tinnier the sound.)

CDs are more portable and durable, which allows you to listen to them when you drive — as well as jog. And while paper scuffs and light scratches are as common on vinyl as the occasional pop, crackle or hiss, the only breakdown of a CD is a skip. I have owned over 2,000 CDs in my life and, luckily, have yet to encounter the “blump, blump, blump” of a skipping disc.

I think we can live in a musical world where CDs can be bought alongside vinyl albums, without any disharmony (pardon the pun). Personally, I like the fact that I can support local vinyl shops like … Whizz Records and still buy CDs on-line without any guilt or dissatisfaction. In fact, I like to find old records and make my own compilations … on CD. That way, I capture the warm analog sound of Jim Photoglo or Pink Lady (don’t ask) on the digital format that I can play almost anywhere.

CDs will be around for a while, and so will vinyl. Now if we could do something about cassette-tape junkies …

— Erik Pflaumbaum
Asheville

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