L. Neil Smith's
Number 59, November 15, 1999
Remembrance Day

Letters To The Editor

by Our Readers
Send Letters to TLE@johntaylor.org

Letter from Victor Milán

Letter from Curt Howland

Letter from Vin Suprynowicz

Letter from Laissez Firearm

Another Letter from Curt Howland

Another Letter from Victor Milán

Letter from Adam Harris

Letter from Harvey Morrell

Letter from Victor Milán

A few semi-random thoughts on hearing of the [EgyptAir] crash:

I wonder. I know shit happens, but for the most part modern jetliners do not drive into the planet for no apparent reason. And not an old war-horse 747 this time, but a relatively new 767.

At least the government isn't going to have to worry about pesky witnesses this time. Will they blame a mysterious & utterly irreproducible (& indeed, probably impossible) "spark in the central fuel tank" for this one?

But who can tell? Given the destination in Cairo, it might actually have been a bomb. Or maybe it really was a malf or pilot error - & the regime might find it expedient to blame a bomb. After all, they got plenty of "anti-terrorism" mileage out of the last one...which they now insist was not a terrorist act.

What is also intriguing, in a dire way, is what hay the vultures will try to make of it. Will they press for reregulation, even though the worst American air-safety year since dereg has been far safer than any year under regulation? Will they impose new bizarre "security measures," such as banning carry-on luggage? One thing is certain: truth & reason will not play a role either in the got reaction, nor in the mainstream media coverage.
Victor Milán vicmilan@ix.netcom.com

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Letter from Curt Howland

Dear TLE, To preface, I live in a very small county. Not small in area, but with a total population of about 13 thousand, which historically has been dependent on the land for industry. As mining and timber have lost their ability to sustain the tax base, the county government has relied more and more on government grants, created out of guilt, trying to make up for the tax base lost since decreasing industry output has been blamed on government setting the lands aside. "Spotted Owls" is a cuss word.

These grants have sustained things like police services and roads, but at a very real cost: 70% of everyone in the county works for some level of government, as an employee, or depends on the government, e.g. welfare or social security.

Grants, as you might guess, are sporadic and do not automatically renew. The most respected county employee is the "Grant Request Writer", no joke. In this Tuesdays election (I write this Sunday night), the county is putting up an additional 1% SALES TAX on the ballot, raising the sales tax rate to 8.25%. This is suggested, but with no binding language, to be used to bolster the sheriff's department salaries, since deputies keep leaving for better paying jobs elsewhere, and it seems that several government police department grants are not being renewed.

What could be more idiotic than to raise taxes where people are already generally poor? Bureaucrats have a logic all to themselves, I guess.

I wrote the following to the county paper, published last Thursday. In effect, I had the last word on the subject, if the half-page ad in the same issue by the "Deputy Sheriff's Association" in favor of the measure isn't counted...

Dear Editor,

Two items in the Oct 21st paper concerning the proposed sales tax increase and the programs it might fund deserve comment.

The first, by the Trinity County Deputy Sheriff's Association, calls our attention to the costs involved in hiring and training professional deputies. After some $30 thousand spent by the county, the now trained and experienced individual goes elsewhere to make more money. Can anyone explain to me why, in their employment contract, no one has inserted a clause to the effect that the deputy will work in the county for some period of time or pay their training costs back? This same idea is used by the military, by hospitals, and other professions.

Second, the editors of the Journal bring up the idea that Trinity County might be considered in some way "libertarian". I propose to argue against this tax increase, and the programs to be funded by it, from a purely libertarian standpoint:

Why have a sheriffs department that consists of anything more than the sheriff, a secretary, and a couple of staff for the jail? According to California Law, the police are under no obligation to "protect" anyone. See California Government Code, sections 821, 845 and 846. Any and all arguments that police are here to "prevent" crimes and "protect" people is whitewash. They can try, if they want to, but that's not their job.

The root of the problem is the difference between the traditional role of police in America, that of the peace keeper, and their newer and far more expensive and intrusive tasks as "Law Enforcement." I read the issues and actions taken that are mentioned in the sheriffs report and Journal each week, and wonder what need is there for vast budgets and large full-time professional staffs?

Just as with the other needed emergency services like fire and ambulance, volunteers and independent contractors can fill the need. Crime prevention starts with community and self reliance. The duties of police as peace keepers are based on trust between citizens, because the police are themselves citizens. In a county with communities as small and close knit as ours, we need citizens trained like our volunteer firemen are trained, to be available to react in emergencies. Full-time paid firemen are an unaffordable extravagance, yet when needed professional fire investigators can be called in. The same with police. And if problems arise, there is always the publicly accountable professional sheriff to ensure that citizens have recourse and that policies are being followed.

I believe that returning the focus of the sheriff's department from "Law Enforcement" to peace keeping would eliminate any need for increasing taxes, better serve the real needs of the citizens of Trinity County for less money than is being spent now, and eliminate the dependence on grant money.

Curt Howland Howland@Priss.com

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Letter from Vin Suprynowicz

>A good quality brand spanking new .22 caliber semi-auto rifle will
>run you about $300. Ruger makes a really good one. So does Browning.
>Another good manufacturer is Marlin. The .22 caliber round is
>accurate and effective at ranges to 200 yards against small game.
>Believe it or not, the largest bear ever killed in North America was
>shot by a 65 year old Native American woman with a bolt action .22
>caliber rifle. The bear weighed over 300 pounds, the woman less than
>150. The bear became a rug, the old Indian woman got famous. Go

I remember this story. She was out tending her trap lines, as I recall, and she just kept working that bolt; presumably one or more rounds must have found an eye.

But would a "300-lb. bear" really be the largest on record? There are some NFL defensive lines that would relegate such a beast to the second string.
Vin Suprynowicz vin@lvrj.com

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Letter from Laissez Firearm

Since y'all did not provide an e-mail address for Mr. Elmore, I thought I'd forward these notes to you.

(I'm sure that the gent means well, but his piece is riddled with junk and nonsense. There are plenty of better "intro to guns" bits on the Web. The Rec.guns home page comes to mind, for instance)

> . . .
> If you want a gun to put meat on the table, that is one thing. But,
> if you are buying a weapon with which you hope to be able to
> defend your life, your freedom, and the lives of those you love
> that is entirely a different matter.

Why? In what fashion?

This is nonsensical, because Bruce then goes on to recommend three types of common hunting guns that can be found at any KMart!

> Modern shotguns are well built, inexpensive, phenominally . . .

Spell check?

> There are shotgun rounds which can literally clear a street of
> opposition in 3 or 4 shots

Golly, what are they?

Unfortunately the term "street-sweeper" does not begin to approximate reality. It's merely gunwriter hype.

> You can buy a completely reliable American made shotgun for
> less than 400.00 dollars.

A whole lot less! Mossberg pumps are going for under $200 at WalMart, where I picked up a Remington 870 for $215 + tax.

> Also, if you are buying guns for self defense purposes, you
> shouldn't count on your shotgun at anything beyond 50 yards

Wait a second, he just got done saying that they were good out to 100 yards! (I know mine is!)

> At ranges from 50 yards to 100 yards, you are going to
> need a pistol.

I think Brother Elmore meant a "rifle" here.

> A good quality brand spanking new .22 caliber semi-auto
> rifle will run you about $300. Ruger makes a really good one.

Make that $150 (the Ruger 10/22 is currently $144 at WalMart).

> The .22 caliber round is accurate and effective at ranges
> to 200 yards against small game.

If the "small game" is as big as a flippin' barn! Is the writer claiming to be able to kill a bunny at 200 yards with a .22? When did he leave the Olympic team?

> Believe it or not, the largest bear ever killed in
> North America was shot by a 65 year old Native American
> woman with a bolt action .22 caliber rifle. The bear weighed
> over 300 pounds

Which I would assume means that the critter was actually the largest BLACK bear ever shot in North America. That's quite a different thing from the biggest grizzly, for instance.
Laissez Firearm

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Another Letter from Curt Howland

Bruce Elmore makes excelent points, but failes to point out one major aspect of firearms purchasing, especially first purchases:


As El Neil has pointed out in some diatribe of the last decade, guns don't wear out very fast. Whether the new shooter chooses pistol, revolver, shotgun or rifle, vast cash can be saved by buying arms that just happen to have scratches, blotches, blemishes, and/or previous owners.

If the action is tight, the barrel is clean and everything works, the used gun market can take hundreds of $$ off of the basics without any sacrafice of utility, and make that first purchase not only possible, but attractive. Anyone in one of the "junk gun" states or municipalities needs to act quickly, since "junk gun" legislation seems to be directly targetted at the used market.

I cannot agree loudly enough with Bruce about shotguns. Would that the Ithica Auto and Burgler were not already lost to history.

Lastly, I would like to suggest to the self-defense buyer that the little guns that shoot a round called ".22 Magnum" not be passed up because they're small. The .22 Magnum hits hard, and every pistol I've seen chambered for them has been small enough to fit in a pocket.

Think about that the next time some salesman tries to fit you for a $60 concealment fanny-pack.

Curt- Howland@Priss.com

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Another Letter from Victor Milán

Hey, Tanya Metaksa actually got one right!


She actually slams law-enforcement excesses here. Maybe a refusal to slavishly lick every jackboot thrust under her snout was what caused Wayne LaPusilanimous to boot her from ILA.
Victor Milán vicmilan@ix.netcom.com

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Letter from Adam Harris

[re: "The Good Joe"]

I live in Wilmington, NC, and work in Wallace, NC, the latter is among the harder hit areas of the recent floods. I've also lived most of my life in this region, which is often hit with hurricanes.

The hurricane Floyd flood is the most serious disaster that I have ever seen. And the flood of government saviors, bringing salvation in the wake, is almost, unnh, well 'they' are all over the place.

But, there has been no talk of 'price gouging' or anything like that. We have been able to get all the things we want, at our usual stores, for the same price as before.

I've seen a lot of folks trying to figure out how to get some of the gov. free money and stuff. But, I have seen no complaints or even commie style allegations of 'price gouging'.

A lot of people have suffered, and are still suffering, from that flood. But the free-market has provided for most of us very well.

What happens at the end of the long lines that the government scums create, I have no idea, but I doubt it can be called 'price gouging.'

I'll have to re-read his article to find the probably good point he was making, but he used a bad example.

It didn't happen here.

btw - What in the hell is a "Krogers"? A yankee grocery store I'll bet. He didn't even do enough research to know that there ain't none of them here.

Thumbs down on that one.

Kinda reminds me of the network news scum, and how they spun what I actually saw happen once, into the image that they wanted to present.

I expect better than this from you guys.


Adam Harris aharris@cape-fear.net

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Letter from Harvey Morrell

I'd like to clear up a misunderstanding brought to my attention by Charles Curley's rather strident response (TLE # 58) to a letter I had written in the previous issue. In his letter Mr. Curley accuses me of being unable to read the clear words of the Second Amendment and infers that I, like the gun-grabbers, place undue influence on the first phrase of the Amendment. I'd like to state, for the record, that I do not. I think that the first part of the sentence is but the rationale for the absolute, personal right of the people to own firearms, especially if you look at the historical background of the Constitution and Bill of Rights.

I would also like to state that I would still have this right even if the Second Amendment were to be interpreted differently. My right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happines (and the means of their protection) does not depend upon words written by men over two hundred years ago, or by the lawmakers of today. These rights are inaliable and mine by nature. I hope this clarifies things.

Harvey Morrell hmorrell@UBmail.ubalt.edu

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Bradley links gun violence to health-care costs
(November 1, 1999 3:10 p.m. EST http://www.nandotimes.com)

- Democratic presidential candidate Bill Bradley said Monday that gun violence has a "direct relationship" to health-care costs and that neither can be considered in a vacuum. ...


[Hey, Bill! Quick, now, name one human action that doesn't have a "direct relationship" to health-care costs, in the vacuum (er,context) in which you're using the terms here. -ed.]

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