Letters

From the week of June 21, 2001

Bear Essence

Cheap shot: So, Tony Fabriger sees this magnificent bear, and realized it was going to just walk right by him, still a little "dazed" from being in hibernation ("Kodiak Moment," Patti Epler, June 7). Did the "Great Hunter" need food or was he under attack? No, he just couldn't pass up the opportunity to kill, so he ambushed the bear and botched the job. Suddenly, he's such a humanitarian about the "poor animal suffering," so he keeps shooting him in the lungs, leaving him "struggling, semi-paralyzed and kind of rolling" down a slope to an agonizing death. Still, all he could think about was his trophy.

I've never been a fanatical anti-hunting person, but if this is typical of the kind of guy out there portraying himself as a "sportsman," the anti-hunting lobby is getting my vote. Why should anyone care about Mr. Fabriger's claim to the stuffed carcass of this bear?

Patricia Heater
via Internet

Guns 'n' Razzes

Heat rash: Edward Lebow's article on gun lockers missed its target ("Unpackin' Mama's Pistol," June 7). It has long been Arizona law that whenever government forbids the carrying of firearms in buildings, it is required to "check" and store the weapon for the patron. After all, why would I want to keep my gun in my car, where it can be stolen, when it is perfectly safe in my holster? The reason Brassroots Inc. became involved was that government entities began claiming, once again, that the law did not apply to them. Brassroots, the NRA, and pro-rights legislators at the Capitol wanted to send them yet another message that it did apply to them. Of course, even without Arizona statutes on our side, we have Arizona's Constitution, whose Declaration of Rights states, "The right of the individual citizen to bear arms in defense of himself or the State shall not be impaired." That's not too vague, is it?

The protests that were cited in the article occurred six months after the law was passed. Most cities were not in compliance and had no plans to be. Those that made progress toward respecting the law and our rights after we discussed the issue with them were left alone. Some didn't want to play nicely. We protested in Glendale, Yuma and Tucson to show them we meant business.

There are three things politicos don't care for. They dislike being bothered, they hate being ignored, and they fear being embarrassed. We decided to use all three. We then spent the next few months testing various cities' procedures because many cities either could not or would not tell us what the full weapons-checking policy was. In Glendale last year, for example, when a peaceful gun owner wanted to check a gun at a public building, three police officers were dispatched SWAT-style, hands on their pistols telling the gun owner to: "Turn around. Put your hands on your head. You are not under arrest." It looked for all the world like a felony arrest to other library patrons who were seen scattering to avoid what they could only guess was a pending "suicide by cop." It should be noteworthy that none of the patrons were the least concerned about this man who had a properly holstered firearm until the police came to make a mess of things. One could only imagine what the cops might have done if the patron were (horrors) black or Hispanic.

The reason Tempe was not the site of protests or weapons-check tests is threefold. One, our discussions with Assistant Chief Spradling suggested that Tempe would shortly be in compliance with the law. We recently found it is not. Two, we were afraid that State Senator Harry Mitchell would steal our signs and put them in his Dumpster. The third reason is that Tempe's old and new checking policies were so out of compliance with the law that the unsuspecting gun owner risked theft of his property on the basis of a city ordinance. We were informed that in some cases, it could take 72 hours to get the firearm back, and ammunition would be confiscated, never to be seen again. Perhaps we should give Tempe another look and schedule a protest. So many government thugs, so little time.

Now, some cities are complaining about the expense of lockers. This is a self-inflicted wound. Our position was that they should only invoke the checking statute when they had a clear, articulable security requirement. Courts, jails and, perhaps, council chambers. All of these places already have armed guards in place since these areas contain dangerous suspects, felons, and City Council members. Libraries and other generic municipal buildings do not fit this mold and, as such, should not require the good guys from going unarmed. So, instead of Mesa (a city in complete compliance, by the way) buying 50 lock boxes for $2,500, they could buy four, and save $2,300. How many lock boxes could the City of Glendale buy if it wasn't milking the taxpayers to construct that hockey arena?

Name withheld by request

Exit, Stage Left

Once on this aisle: This letter is in response to Robrt L. Pela's critical review of the production Once on This Island (June 7). It saddens me to read yet another negative blast at the theatrical community. I know it is very important for a critic to prove how critical they can be, but this constant negativity has played a huge role in the progressive demise of live theater.

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