Letters to the Editor

UNDER THE GUN

To the Editor:
Upon reflection on Ray Hartmann's "Commentary" ("Guns and Poses," RFT, May 26), I surmised that the root of the gun-control controversy lies at the perception of how each group views the root cause of gun crime. Quite simply, the gun-control group views the guns -- the objects -- as the cause of evil misdeeds, and the removal or curtailment of their ownership as the solution. The NRA or gun-rights group sees not the object as the problem, but people or, more narrowly, certain types of criminals and their actions as the problem.

Gun control is a crusade of intolerance against a misjudged segment of the citizenry. This is demonstrated not only by the inefficacy of gun control in preventing crime, or by the fact that it focuses on restricting the behavior of the law-abiding rather than apprehending and punishing the guilty, but also by the prejudice that gun-control proponents heap on gun owners and their evil instrumentality, the NRA. Nearly all of the gun-control measures offered by liberals like Ray Hartmann are founded on the belief that America's law-abiding gun owners are the source of the problem. With their unholy desire for firearms, they are creating a society awash in a sea of guns, thereby helping good boys go bad and helping bad boys be worse. This laying of moral blame for violent crime at the feet of the law-abiding, and the implicit absolution of violent criminals for their misdeeds, naturally infuriates honest gun owners.

It is long past time for us to stop fixating on the gun supply and to start dealing with the persons who misuse guns and the social conditions under which innocent babies grow in less than two decades into callous murderers. I challenge everyone to resist gun-control schemes that place the entire weight of condemnation on the very people least likely to misuse their guns. Charlton Heston was correct -- there is a culture war being waged against gun owners. That is why so many of us have joined the NRA (www.nra.org), Gun Owners of America (www.goa.org) or Jews for the Preservation of Firearms Ownership (www.jpfo.org). Because we need a unified voice to defend ourselves from unconstitutional punishment and destruction of our rights and way of life.

I have a quote from Benjamin Franklin in my home and posted in my cubicle at work. It quite simply reads: "They that give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty or safety."

Ron Nerad

To the Editor:
What does the cartoon on page 6 in the April 28 issue mean -- the one where the dead bodies are arranged to spell NRA? Are you saying that the NRA is responsible for some group of deaths? I was unaware that they had killed anyone. The NRA's main focus is the preservation of Second Amendment rights, the right to keep and bear arms. Many times I have seen their objective connected to crime. It is not. Owning weapons does not make one a criminal -- 99.9 percent of gun owners in the U.S. have never committed a crime worse than a traffic ticket.

The right to keep and bear arms is meant to prevent the government from becoming a tyranny. As long as the common citizen can rebel in force, the government will not be able to exercise complete control. I am not saying that we need to overthrow the present government, but should it become necessary, as it has in the past, we have not only the right but the obligation to be ready to do so.

I am a NRA member. Before you conclude that this means that I am a right-wing radical, let me add that I also contribute money to Greenpeace, the World Wildlife Federation and the Sierra Club. I enjoy the freedom to be able to do so. If you enjoy your freedoms, you should give some thought to just how you intend to protect them. Do you honestly believe that you could convince an Idi Amin, Pol Pot or Adolf Hitler to give up their evil ways using only rhetoric?

Rodney R. Fain

FOOD FIGHT

To the Editor:
I was surprised by the discontent to malice shown by readers of the new food critic, Jill Posey-Smith. Perhaps if one could read a few more articles before making her into mincemeat enjoyment of her wit would be more likely. Posey-Smith is not like other food critics, but I believe there is room in The Riverfront Times, a paper that boasts of open-minded readers, for such an interesting style and obviously well-educated writer. We have more things to do than fight such a change with overdone animosity. She is not trying to blow up the world; she is merely writing in a very clever style. Obviously, readers did find themselves digesting the article. Take a little Zantac and relax.

Carole Lemire

To the Editor:
I was very happy to see the May 26 RFT issue held a restaurant review from Joe Bonwich. I was afraid that you had lost him and even more afraid that we would be subjected to the self-important, look-at-how-many-words-I-can-use-to-say-"I hated it" Jill Posey-Smith. She doesn't just focus on the negative of a restaurant, she magnifies it and beats the owner to death with it and then offers a back-handed compliment to try to "round out" her review. Doesn't work.

Mr. Bonwich is fun to read; he gives entertaining and concise reviews without all of the meandering volume of useless information that Ms. Posey-Smith offers up.

I, for one, hope to see more of Joe's reviews.
By the way, I just flipped to the "Letters to the Editor" section to see how people sign off their names and noticed another letter to the editor where "self-important" was used to describe Ms. Posey-Smith. Just to let you know -- total coincidence!

Chris Cervellere-Waldow

LIE DETECTOR

To the Editor:
As one who was referenced in the article "The Conviction of Tim Dreste" (RFT, May 12), I would like to make a few observations.

First of all, I must say I was surprised -- no, shocked -- at the overall accuracy of the article, particularly in regard to the description of the early days of the pro-life activist movement, with which I'm more familiar.

While Ray Hartmann pontificates about pro-life "lies," the reality has always been that the ultimate lie is the idea presented to mothers and fathers by the abortionists that the way to solve their problems is by killing their children. Through the years, abortionists have used every "legal" means possible to rid themselves of the activists because, as Tim pointed out in the article, we were successful in rescuing some children and their parents from the horror of abortion by bringing them the truth and offering hope. We came in broad daylight, insisted upon nonviolence, faced arrest and spent our time in jail. And while the abortionists would publicly proclaim that our efforts did not deter any abortions from being committed on a given day, in their numerous lawsuits they claimed quite the opposite. Indeed, that is the basis of their racketeering ploy -- pro-life activists were costing abortionists money by keeping their business away.

I've often wondered what the pro-aborts (and that includes those of you who hide behind the respectability of "I would never have an abortion but ...") would say to the children we were able to rescue, the oldest of whom are about to complete 10th grade? Would you tell them that they were "harassed" into living by pro-life activists?

And here's some food for thought: What do we tell this younger generation, which has known nothing but "the culture of death," as they struggle to understand why death has invaded their school halls? After all, with artificial birth control and abortion more readily accessible than ever in the history of the world, this is the utopia Planned Barrenhood promised us: This is the "wanted" generation. But they are, in reality, all the survivors of a war which took the lives of over a third of their classmates before they could even be born (and with partial-birth abortion as they were being born). Should we really be surprised then, when some of their number decide to use death as a solution to their problems? Perhaps they have learned our lesson all too well.

John P. Ryan

IN THE DARK

To the Editor:
This is most interesting. The two major print-media outlets in town have both attributed to the Bible a saying that is not in the Bible ("it is better to light a candle than to curse the darkness") ("Short Cuts," RFT, May 26).

I am not surprised that The Riverfront Times did not catch this. Thomas Crone has proven himself an ignorant ass in other contexts. It does however, say volumes about the state of fact-checking at the Post-Dispatch.

I will not tell you the real source of the quote. Buy your own Bartlett's.
John L. Kahler

OFF CENTER

To the Editor:
I am curious to know why the center music section has been moved. For me, being in a band and enjoying the nightlife in St. Louis, this is the most valuable section of the RFT.

The last couple of issues I had to muddle through to locate it, finding it way in the back. The advertisers that have been faithful to the side strips must also feel somewhat cheated, as this was the section that everybody could open up to and see what was going on in this city of ours. Please change the format back so those of us who use it can find it with ease.

Ray knew what he was doing. Why did you change something that worked so well for so many years?

Wren Coleman

CRITICAL CONDITION

To the Editor:
I just wanted to take a minute to commend you on the fabulous article entitled "Internal Bleeding" (RFT, April 28). I was very impressed at the fact that the nurses were finally able to let the public know who is really caring for them and why they cannot ever get a nurse when they call. I will also let you know that you couldn't find an RFT around BJC if your life depended on it. (Nervous, are they?)

Unfortunately, I believe the quality of nurses graduating from schools these days is not up to par, either. I do not want to sound like an old, bitter "Nurse Ratched" (I graduated in 1992). Nurses in school today are spending more time doing paperwork for instructors than spending time on the floor doing actual patient care. The idea is, "That is a nurse-tech job. I do not need to know how to do that." The definition of "that" includes general-comfort measures such as offering back rubs, changing dirty linens, brushing hair and teeth, walking patients and even offering bedpans. You would be surprised at the number of new graduate nurses who cannot draw blood or start an IV line because they think "someone else will do that."

It has been said by some nursing schools that the new nurse will get an orientation to the floor and they can learn those sorts of tasks at that time. With staffing so poor in general, floors will hire whoever applies. The lucky experienced nurse who gets to orient the new graduate gets the honor of teaching the graduate basic nursing care. There is just not enough time to teach them what they should have learned in the three to four years they spent in school.

I wanted to be a nurse since I was 4 years old (my dad tape-recorded me around my fourth birthday, so I have proof). I worked in the ICU from 1993-97, then an outpatient-surgery center after the hostile takeover (oops, I mean merger) of Jewish to BJC (I was a Jewish employee). I came back to the ICU after six months, and the changes in just six months were dramatic and more than I could deal with.

I no longer work on the floor doing direct patient care. I am now doing cardiology research. Until the health-care climate returns to actually caring for the patient, not the insurance company or the hospital, research is where I'll be.

Jane Steffens,

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