For example, regarding his opening digression on the merits of the .380 (a.k.a. 9x17 mm), he is way off base. There are some good .380s, and I saw a couple of them at Crossroads without even looking for them. One was a Walther, a fine pistol with a price tag to match. Good .380s are simply not as popular as they once were.

I enjoyed some of the bumper stickers, too. I bought one that read, "Visualize Using Your Turn Signal." Considered one that read, "PETA: People for Eating Tasty Animals." I also saw quite a few obnoxious ones; but hey, that's bumper stickers.

I saw lots of licensed dealers doing Brady checks, and only one sign of the type described in Mr. Holthouse's article "Uncle Sam within a red circle with a slash. . . ." As for what Bill Clinton and his folks say about gun shows, his credibility is about zilch after Waco, Ruby Ridge, Monica and their other shenanigans.

As for the AR-15 being the most popular item of the show, I have my doubts. Yes, I did see many AR-15s. But no way were they the majority of items sold. Also, AR-15s are pretty sophisticated weapons, contrary to Mr. Holthouse's assertions. They are user-friendly up to a point, but require much more care for optimal performance than, for example, the SKS or AK-47. And one does, contrary to Mr. Holthouse's assertion, need to aim the AR-15 (or, for that matter, any firearm) if one expects to hit the target. And what was that crack about the intelligence of Vietnam-era draftees? I recall a lottery when my number came up 26. Was Mr. Holthouse too young for the draft, or was he smart, wealthy or lucky enough to dodge it like Bill Clinton?

As for Crossroads not being a media-friendly event, what the hell do you expect? Look at the hatchet job you did on them. They have seen your kind (and worse) before. They knew what to expect, and you didn't disappoint. Why should they extend open arms of welcome to people who mean them no good?

If I didn't know better, I'd swear we had attended two different events. There may be an interesting article waiting to be written on Crossroads, or even a tome to be written on the gun subculture, but "Clip Joint" missed the target entirely.

Name withheld by request

I am writing in response to the column "Clip Joint." Once again, American gun owners are made to look foolish and/or frightening. Your article summons up pictures of kids grinning over guns and dreaming about shooting up the countryside, gang members just waiting to buy new arms to kill us all in our beds. Mr. Holthouse says he didn't think taking notes on the bumper stickers was okay because one of the sellers was wearing a .45 on his hip. If he wanted information about the stickers, why not ask the dealer? Or buy a few? I guess it's more politically correct to be afraid of guns than to learn the truth.

The gun-control laws only affect law-abiding citizens. Criminals could not care less about the law. They're "criminals." Get that through your head. New York City, Washington, D.C., Los Angeles and Chicago have the strictest gun laws in the country. One cannot even own a handgun within these cities. Yet they have high handgun murder rates. If gun control works, why aren't these cities free of violent gun crime? It's because criminals make their livings off of unarmed people. Owning a gun is a personal choice for many Americans, in spite of what the liberal media and White House think.

As a registered nurse and veteran, I have seen more of what gun violence can do than most ever will. No citizen has anything to fear from legitimate gun owners. Criminals, however, will always be criminals. Liberals who want to fight crime should enforce the laws we have and put violent criminals in jail where they belong instead of trying to disarm honest citizens. If they want to pass laws to help fight crime, then pass one against the plea bargain.

Stephen L. Miller

Utility Men
Thanks to Republican corporation commissioners Carl Kunasek and Tony West, top aides to commissioners not only received a 13 percent raise over last year and now make more than the commissioners themselves, but also now make more than 100 percent more than aides did four years ago (Flashes, April 15). Republicans crow about the private free market, but they covet jobs that should be imbued with the public good and public service rather than enhancement of their own private wealth.

On April 14, commissioners Kunasek and West, after much rhetoric glorifying the free market, voted to revive electricity generation competition rules without a Solar Portfolio Standard, which originally was in the rules to provide a market overlay and eventually a market backstop, to commercialize and drive down the price of solar, just as California had helped commercialize and drive down the price of wind from more than 30 cents/kwh to 5 cents during the past 20 years. Lower-cost solar is important for economic development in Arizona, for the planet's two billion people without electricity, for abating global climate change, for a diverse "fuel" mix for electric generation, and for decentralizing economic and political power.

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