Letters to the Editor

Published the week of Aug. 23-29, 2000

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On behalf of all the other millions of St. Louisans who are screaming to eliminate capital punishment, I wish to thank you for your most righteous campaign to keep murderers from a simple injection for the heinous slaughter of an innocent ("Killer Campaign," RFT, Aug. 16).

This must stop! For only $25,000-$30,000 per year for 40-50 years, we can provide the boring comforts of three hots and a cot to appease the minds of those who would rather spit in the faces of the victims' families than give their killers a just due.

Let's get a fancy Italian company to sponsor the appeasement project, with lots of glorification. When you think about it, you see how unjust it really is. All they did was murder an innocent. But to take the life of the guilty, what an outrage that is!

I implore all you holdouts! Let us stop before we commit justice again!
Dan Counts

As one who has grown up with guns and who fears the abrogation of my rights to peaceably own firearms, I try to keep abreast of the ongoing debate about guns and gun control. I saw your cover and, given the obvious slant of your publication, feared the worst with regard to the spread of disinformation on the topic ("Blue-Light Special," RFT, Aug. 2). After reading the article, about the only thing that I found to be problematic was the fact that Chris Sarros' guns were stolen, apparently by an Overland cop, and that the department was covering it up.

The rest of the article didn't deserve the paper it was written on. I also know individuals who have been able to purchase firearms at an advantageous price by having their order included with a large-quantity purchase by a law-enforcement agency. I really don't see the problem. Everyone, if given the opportunity, would prefer being able to purchase goods at wholesale rather than retail prices. I'd be willing to bet the price of a high-performance handgun that most of your readers purchase items at wholesale whenever possible, and buy other items through the mail to avoid the sales tax. The only reason your writer found this notable is because it dealt with firearms. I don't want to confuse anyone with the facts, but the repurchase and resale of the pre-ban firearms by the manufacturers was perfectly legal, and if it occurred with some other, less emotionally charged commodity, no one would give a damn.

I do like, however, how the writer equated gun sales to private individuals with putting more guns on the street. I know a lot of folks who own a lot of guns, and their guns are never "on the street." In fact, far less than 1 percent of all firearms are ever used for any unlawful purpose. And based on published news reports (not published in or by any mainstream media because they are all blatantly anti-gun), private citizens use firearms to thwart criminals in action well over a million times a year. (Read the previous sentences over and over again until you get it.) As far as gun-control laws go, they would only apply to the law-abiding, who are not the problem. The lawless will still be lawless, and the lawful will be unarmed against them.

It is clear that guns are potentially dangerous, but guns in the possession of the average law-abiding citizen pose no threat to anyone except those that would try to commit criminal acts against them or their property. Guns in the hands of law-abiding citizens make us all safer.
James Foley

I have worked in daycare two separate times ("Daycare Nightmares," RFT, Aug. 9). One experience was a positive one, and the other was very, very negative.

My negative experience was at a North County daycare center, where I worked for the past four months and regretted my decision to do so almost from day one. That center was run like a business, all for the sake of the money and nothing more, it seemed. There were instances of children being left behind at a park and another child forgotten on the backyard playground (locked out of the center). The owner let an asthmatic child in an asthmatic fit stay put without calling an ambulance, even with her chest beginning to cave in. Paper for art was not bought for the last three-and-a-half months that I was there, yet teachers were supposed to teach art. And some classrooms were without much in the way of toys.

The staff was cheated out of money with each paycheck, always working 45 hours a week but only being paid for 40. Our pay rates were bumped down randomly for ridiculous reasons, mandatory days off were always unpaid and we were paid in cash each period while I was there, except for maybe two. Exorbitant amounts of taxes were taken out of our checks, too, which never made sense to any of us. Sick days or any days off, for that matter -- paid or unpaid -- were never allowed. Sick days were just discontinued before I resigned this month. Vacation was given after one year of work but only was paid if the owner really, really liked you, it seemed. Raises were said to be given at the end of each 90-day period, but not one employee got a raise while I was there. And no benefits with regard to medical or dental or anything were given, either.
Gina McGrew

About O.J. Simpson's interview on KMOX (1120 AM), you commented,"Harry Hamm would be better than that" ("Short Cuts," RFT, Aug. 2). There is not a more irritating, annoying voice on the airwaves today than Mr. Hamm's. I am sure he is a wonderful fellow and all, but hearing one word on the radio from him makes me run for cover and the earmuffs. I had to time it just right when he came blurting out onto the airwaves during the Rush Limbaugh program.
Earl Sigoloff
Marina Del Rey, Calif.

I am surprised that no one has mentioned the fact that Dick Cheney's wife is a member of the board of directors of Lockheed Martin and owns quite a bit of stock in the company ("A Cheney Link to St. Louis," RFT, July 26). Now, why would any Boeing employee want to vote for a Republican ticket of Bush (Texas) and Cheney (Texas), given that Lockheed is in Texas and plans to build the joint-strike fighter there if they get it? Isn't there some kind of conflict of interest here?
Diann Boast

His great musical knowledge (Darren A. Owens) advises readers that Eminem's The Marshall Mathers LP "is one of the best albums you'll ever hear" ("Rotations," RFT, Aug. 16). If this is one of the best albums I'll ever hear, I'm giving up on music.

Eminem is nothing more than another gangsta rapper with nothing more to say than any of the others do. Songs like "Real G's" are nothing more than yet another song by a singer with no talent glorifying gangs and the lifestyle they lead. "Bitch Please II," I think, speaks for itself.

Now, it appears to me that Mr. Owens has no taste in music. Even people I know who do listen to some rap agree that Eminem is a talentless man who does nothing but glorify being a "gangsta" and sing about their lifestyle. So, if you are a "gangsta," then you very well might like the music, but if you're not -- then this definitely will not be "one of the best albums you'll ever hear."
Robert Winkelmann

Eminem has no doubt sparked an opinion from everyone who has heard his controversial, hard-hitting, comical, sensationalistic lyrics. However, to compare him to Britney Spears is an unfounded, unfair and stereotypical comparison. As far as popularity goes, yes, those two are a match -- you can't turn on the radio without hearing at least one of them. But then comes the difference. Britney Spears is nothing more than a product of the media. She doesn't write or produce her own songs or choreograph her dance and seemed to have been picked because she fit the innocent, sweet-girl-with-great-looks-who-can-sing mold. Eminem at least writes his own lyrics, works on the production of his music and has a background of hardship and musical drive that helped him attain the reputation that has made him so famous. The comparison of the two undermines Eminem as an artist and helps to make Britney Spears look like more than she is.
Kamren Dearborn

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