Letters for the week of July 17-23, 2002 

Exploring might look fun, but it endangers others; guns might look dangerous, but they're kind of fun.

They're not just stupid, they're selfish too
The folks profiled in your cover article ("Urban Underground," June 19) obviously think it's a kick to get themselves into trouble. What I'm wondering is, have any of them thought about who else they're endangering when they crawl into drains, abandoned mines, etc.? It's not just a case of, "Oh, I'm dangerous, I'm running a risk" -- you're also running a risk on behalf of the rescue workers who are going to come in there after you when you screw up and get hurt. Sooner or later, you will screw up. If you're lucky, you'll just end up dead or paralyzed. If you're unlucky, you and the guy who came in to save your stupid incompetent ass will end up dead or paralyzed.

When your youthful stupidity is putting others at risk, it's time to grow up.
Sara Palmer, Vallejo

You're okay on guns, but when it comes to fashion you've got a lot to learn
As an instructor at the recent National Shooting Sports Foundation Media Seminar held at Chabot Park ("Gunning for the Fourth Estate," June 19) and a subject of the article, I'm compelled to call attention to an error in reporting that materially affects the author's credibility, as well as the needless repeating of a damaging admission on my part:

First, the writer from the Express was not wearing "combat boots" as stated. (As if anyone ever goes off to war in thirteen-eyelet Docs, anyhow.) His choice of sturdy size eight bowling shoes was, upon reflection, a rational interpretation of "range-ready footwear." I'm not as sure how well the magenta polish job went with his faded and torn Levi's, but at least the targets didn't seem to mind.

Of more personal concern is my having been outed as a former San Francisco street mime, the sudden revelation of an embarrassing past I have tried to run from for more than twenty years. Now that the truth is out, I can only hope to use this as an opportunity to confront my lingering, closeted issues with striped wrestler tank-tops, calf-button toreador pants, and pancake makeup, and hopefully move on. I just pray my wife will understand, but it's asking a lot of her. Even as progressive as my multicultural friends at "Today's NRA" are (you'd be surprised ... ), they may never look at me the same way again. It's good we wear ear protection; at least I'll be spared hearing the inevitable snickering insinuations from behind the firing line. I blame myself for letting this slip. Still, I'll clock the first joker who calls me "Marcel."

Other than that, I truly enjoyed the piece and appreciated the author's perspective. His accurate description of our day at the range was all that pro-shooting advocates such as myself could ask for. This was a great, bouncy read.

No matter what one's view of guns, all of us need to deal responsibly with the real issues surrounding violence and gun safety that lay beneath the emotional veneer. I personally believe both progressives and conservatives should be concerned with the discriminatory exclusion of certain social, economic, and racial groups which is the practical effect, if not intent, of much elitist gun-control legislation. This is exemplified by a few white antigun legislators from racially diverse urban districts who have concealed-weapons permits unavailable to their constituents.

I believe we'll be okay as long as we all think these issues through.
Bruce Gray, Grayguns consulting/NSSF media instructor, Rancho Cordova, Kalifornistan

Affordable housing -- but for whom?
There goes Patrick Kennedy again (Letters, June 19)! Name-calling! Anyone who disagrees with him is a NIMBY.

Facts don't get in Patrick's way; he just calls people names and distorts their objections. I would expect better from a man with a Harvard education.

As for his claimed support of affordable housing -- he was in favor of eliminating any requirement for affordable housing in new developments. He has consistently offered the bare minimum required by law and then demanded subsidies to finance those required. Lately, he has even obtained Section 8 subsidies for his affordable units -- so he can receive market rates for those units. Thus, they cost his project nothing. That being the case, he could develop projects that had more than the minimum if he were truly concerned.

Come on Patrick -- it's about money: money in your pocket.
Bob Kubik, Berkeley

Don't explain away genocide
I'm responding to the anti-Jewish hate speech you disseminated to the public (Letters, June 5). You heard me right -- telling lies about Israel is the new anti-Semitism, and you have played your part. The writer reports that an Israeli soldier positioned himself on a roof and began firing down on Palestinian children. What bull. Such a soldier would spend the rest of his life in an Israeli jail. Meanwhile, Palestinians carry out weekly the premeditated murder of Jewish children. They do this under the incitement of their leadership and with funding from the entire Arab world. When Palestinians succeed in murdering Jewish children, they pass out candy to their own children in celebration. They have been murdering since long before the occupation, and they initiated the current round of murder in response to Israel's offer to withdraw.

So how big can a lie get? When truth is turned on its head we call it the Big Lie. Its former masters were the Bad Germans of the Third Reich, but this new propaganda machine of hate makes Goebbels look clumsy. There is a receptive audience for these lies in the Bay Area, and for the same old (ancient) reasons. We Jews are few in number, and have been traditionally and culturally as pacifistic as Quakers. We have provided a safe target for the cowards and bullies of history. We have been loathe even to dignify with a response the ugly lies that mischaracterize Israel's legitimate efforts over the past 54 years to defend her people (her refugees) from the Arab world's nonstop, concerted attempts at genocide.

Express! Don't become like the Chronicle, which freely disseminates similar lies in its letters, then innocently wonders in editorials why the Bay Area has seen the worst increase in violence against Jews of any place in the nation.
David Miller, Berkeley

Correction
In last week's Planet Clair ("Emily: The Brand"), Noel Tolentino was mistakenly identified as the developer of the cartoon character Oopsy Daisy. In fact, Oopsy Daisy was developed by Brian Brooks.

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