Letters

Joseph Bridwell
via Internet

Family Ties

Thank you for your articles on gangs ("Hard Core"). The interviews with gang members pointed out for me the dysfunctional families from which they come. By and large, they were unloved. One of those interviewed said that it is too late to remedy the gang situation but perhaps the next generation can solve the problem. I wish to make the point that as long as kids are victims of their stressful family life, little change can be expected. I see help coming from Planned Parenthood, sex education and agencies that help prevent unwanted pregnancies.

Dorothy Perrault
Phoenix

Packin' Heat

Well, bless Heather Berg's 11-year-old heart for objecting to the advertisements for perfectly legal firearms in New Times (Letters, December 9). It is fitting and proper that such comments come from a preadolescent, as I have long described such "logic" as being puerile. The gun store/advertiser, like all federally licensed firearms dealers, must comply with some of the strictest laws and monitoring of any product sold in America. (That moronic, oft-repeated lie about how "a squirt gun is subject to more government regulations than a real gun" is so wrong that it's off the scale; and its unquestioned acceptance as being "fact" by gullible airheads would make Little Joe Goebbels beam like a proud papa, admiring the success of his axiom about "If you repeat a big lie often enough . . .")

Equating "guns" with "gun violence" is like equating the sale of cars with drunken driving. Just as automobile manufacturers, dealerships, designers, etc., deplore the illegal and dangerous misuse of their products, so do firearms manufacturers and legitimate dealers condemn the illegal use of guns. Arizona, with one of the best concealed-weapon permit laws in the country, has very strict and swift punishment for any illegal firearms use, and that is why less than one-half of 1 percent of Arizona concealed-carry permits have been revoked by DPS (and most of those because of clerical screw-ups, not firearms misuse) because firearms violence is not tolerated in the real world of responsible firearms ownership and use. This outstanding safety record is better than that of driver's licenses or just about any other safety-credentialed activity you can name. And that safety and law-abiding record is true in other states with similar "shall issue" concealed weapons, including Texas and Al Gore's Tennessee (but he changes the subject when that's pointed out). The very serious decision to use a deadly weapon in self-defense -- whether you choose a gun, a knife, a baseball bat -- is an entirely voluntary one, and anyone is free to choose whether to do so. But as a wise philosopher recently pointed out, "Promoting gun knowledge and safety while deploring violence is no more contradictory than is a school's having a wrestling or football team while forbidding illegal violence on campus." There are those, of course, who would prefer to do nothing other than jump up and down and wet their pants while being victimized by a violent assault, and they are free to do so. Unfortunately, they are the same denizens of that incestuous, inbred world of the cowards and sissies who insist that everyone else should be likewise craven. That won't happen. More guns are being sold, more guns are legally owned by Americans, more concealed-carry permits have been issued than ever before. From good ol' boys goin' huntin', to gentle, soft-spoken Shakespearean scholars and classical-music activists, good, responsible citizens have pushed gun ownership and firearms training way, way up, more than ever. Even people who have considered themselves non-joiners, loners, joined the NRA and other firearms groups in record numbers during 1999, and the numbers go up more each time a Rosie O'Donnell or a Bill Clinton repeat some bogus statistic about guns and gun owners. The oh-so-prissy and politically correct pompous asses -- who claim to have invented the word "diversity" and who claim to deplore bigotry and stereotyping -- are amazingly bigoted and un-diverse when it comes to stereotyping gun owners. And now it's backfiring on them.

Tom Burns
Tucson

Bumper Crop

I read with much interest Dewey Webb's piece on Duncan Family Farms ("The Farm Side," December 9). My memories of that corner, Cotton Lane (not Road) and Indian School, go back to the early 1950s, when the "farm" was known as Waddell Ranch. My father left a job with the John Deere plant near Des Moines, Iowa, to take an equipment foreman position with the ranch in 1952 when I was 10 years old. The large corrugated metal shop where he and others worked on the farm equipment is still there, as are the ranch office building, covered parking for farm equipment and quarters for migrant and resident farm workers. The building right on the southwest corner was known then as Pugh Store.

The ranch was owned by D.W. Waddell, a New York financier, who also gave his name to the community of Waddell north of the ranch and to Waddell Dam at Lake Pleasant. Waddell secured the financing to finish the dam in the 1930s.

My brother, parents and I lived at Waddell's home for nearly a year. No, not in the big house, located about a mile west of Cotton Lane and just south of Indian School, but in the servants' quarters in the back. We took care of the huge yard in exchange for the temporary quarters. The Waddells spent much time in Europe and had furnished the big house with antiques purchased around the world.

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