Letters to the Ethical Spectacle

Write me at jblumen@spectacle.org. I publish almost all the mail I receive (except spams and blithering) and will reprint your name and email address unless otherwise requested.

I have a question for you SPECTACLE. Why is the crime rate so low in White River Junction, Vermont where the is no gun control. The same cannot be said of our nations capital Washington,D.C. where the murder rate is the highest in the country and there is nothing but gun control.

Geraldine Labreck baybums@ix.netcom.com

I replied:

Gun control may not be needed in stable rural areas that would have a history of little violence with or without guns.

It is certainly needed in urban areas with a history of poverty, desperation, drugs and violence.

A NY police study showed that 60% of the guns recovered from crime scenes here were legally purchased in the South. The situation in DC is worse-- anyone can pop over to Va or Md and get a gun. The alleged ineffectiveness of big city police in controlling guns is really the negligence of neighboring states in controlling the trafficking of large numbers of guns to gang members, criminals and others who shouldn't have them. The guns your next door neighbor sells, the respected gun store owner, are used to kill my kids, not yours.

The typical victim in NYC is (as happened again last week) a skating four year old who catches a bullet in the back during a gang shootout. Please explain to me how you propose to protect her by putting more guns into my city, which is already a shooting gallery.

I will make the same request to you I make to all the gun people who write me: is there no compromise between your desire to own guns, and my desire to be free from them?

Ms. Labreck hasn't answered yet....

Why do we need gun control at all?

THINK about it... If a criminal can smuggle a planeload or a cargo container load of drugs into this country, what's going to stop him/her from bringing in a container load of "real" machineguns (as opposed to the semi-autos that are in the Crime Bill)? By definition, a criminal has no respect for the law... so how do more gun laws affect anyone but an honest Citizen?

I have never understood this push for more gun-control laws. Perhaps you could be good enough to explain to me just exactly what you hope to accomplish, and how. Please DO NOT use any of the tired old emotional responses.... Factual Info only!

You know, a if a "real" dialog would ever develop between pro- and anti- gun-control people, maybe something sensible could actually be accomplished instead of foolishness like Clinton's "Crime Bill". (NOTE: much more foolishness in this bill than just the gun-control parts...)

You know, I used to consider myself sort of middle-of-the-road, but in some areas I am now portrayed as "radical right-wing" and in others "radical left-wing"! Why is it that everyone wants to deal in absolutes? The world contains many shades.

Look forward to hearing from you.

P. Thompson Sui Juris pthom@nr.infi.net

I replied:

Whatever the Second Amendment stands for, I don't think it justifies selfishness and a complete disregard for everyone else's safety. The courts have defined limits to the First Amendment, but most of the gun rights people I hear from think the Second Amendment is absolute. If it is, why can't you own a SAM, or, for that matter, a PNW (personal nuclear weapon)? If you believe it is not absolute, why can't we find a middle ground, that recognizes my desire to be free of guns while protecting your right to own some guns? Letting the Brady Bill alone would be a good place to start.

Haven't heard from Thompson yet either (his From: line reads "Gunslinger"...)


I chanced upon your page quite randomly. But it was a wonderful read. I have been thinking a lot about the death of Yitzhak Rabin, after he was shot, wondering if in his death, the atrocities he was credited with should be brought up, or hushed up...

Is your magazine available by subscription, either in the mail or on the internet?

Keep up the good work, I admired your stand on Israel, and your piece on Gandhi (I'm from India) showed a lot of indepth understanding.

Matts Thundyil mats@ccwf.cc.utexas.edu

Thanks for the good word. The Spectacle exists only on the Web, where more than six thousand people read it in October. An email version would lack the links, and a print version would cost me about sixty times as much as the Web does...


I am writing to be sure you know about PoliticsUSA - probably the most comprehensive political website in existence - from National Journal and American Political Network.

Have a look at:


You will find continuously updated political news, analysis, and involvement -- cutting-edge resources for the professional and activist, with the in-depth coverage and ease-of-use sought by all political enthusiasts.

Features include News, Campaign '96 Coverage, Issues Comparison Voter Booth, Forums, Poll Track, Marketplace, and more.

Thanks for your time.

Brant Schlatzer
Production Assistant
Persimmon IT, Inc.

First, an introduction. I am an undergraduate student at The University of Chicago, and happened to stumble upon www.spectacle.org by accident. This small comment is directed towards the author of The Ethical Spectacle, so if I accidentally e-mailed the wrong person, please forward this message to the right place.

I take a moment from my schedule to congratulate you for creating a web site with many strongly-backed views on the state of things, and not just spitting out jaded, shallow, one-sided opinions. Although I don't agree completely with every single thing you write, I am thankful that someone shares the same views on pornography, the internet, and the Communications Decency Act. Also, it is easy to see where you're coming from with your views on Interview With the Vampire, and I am quite horrified to learn that Hollywood took what I thought was a good book and vandalized it just to sell tickets. (aside--I actually refused to see the movie Interview for this reason.) You shouldn't take it seriously that all the Anne Rice fans are flaming you for writing this, since they only show their own ignorance by reading it in the first place. (Your web site is linked in many of the Vampire pages, which is how I learned of it.)

The internet is a free place where anyone has permission to say whatever they think. I personally thank you for reminding me of this, and will keep your site bookmarked for the future...

loren ljwilson@midway.uchicago.edu

Was just reading comments on the OJ trial and wanted to add that I think the following should be considered re. cameras in court:

First, they should be allowed in any courtroom to record the entire proceedings.

Secondly, the recordings should not be allowed to be shown in any form) prior to rendering the verdict. After that Court TV or CNN or whoever can do whatever they wish with the footage.

My guess is that under this policy the trial would have been MONTHS shorter, cost millions less, had a different outcome (i.e. guilty vs not-guilty) and that Court TV and CNN would have put together pretty good three hour specials, or a three session mini series to cover the entire trial. The public would tolerate nothing more.

Donald E. Sampson sampson1@ix.netcom.com

Dear Mr. Blumen:

Thank-you for this niche in the Internet, it's quite easy to find for a newbie.

I am a student at the U. of Saskatchewan doing research for my sixteen-year-old sister. I wanted you to know that very young people have poignant questions about the Holocaust, and are searching tirelessly for answers. I'm sending you this because my sister is about eleven hours away, and has exhausted the resources available to her.

I wanted to thank you for her. And for me. I hope the notes I've taken will help us answer "Why?".

Inderjit Kaur Sehdev iks140@mail.usask.ca

A student in Canada finds the Spectacle while doing research for a sister in India....God, I love this Internet.

on sat the 28th of oct,i sat downstairs browsing the web.I'm new at it,i got online only afew weeks ago. it was a terrible rainey sat. i was thinking of things of interest,& using the webcrawler i found lots on the holocaust & then your auschwitz alphabet. i have spent nearly 2 hours reading thru everything & have a wide range of feelings. part of me thanks you for putting this out there on the net,i will sit & show it to my children soon.part of me is mad as hell reading it,Part of me feels that your research lead you to no longer beleive in a god. i can understand how one can feel that way,but that really saddens me.The hopelessness of beleiving in a power grater than myself.I feel like throwing up. I am looking foward to hearing back from you,just to discuss this further. I am 38 fairly sucessful in business BUT have a big wound inside relating to the mass exermination of our people.WHY? WHY?WHY? I have a need to go &see Auschwitz with my own eyes.I feel an emptiness that maybe a visit will fill.

I,m not sure.

Anyway thank you for putting it out on the net.I welcome dialog whenever you get a chance.

Thank YOU
Robilau robilau@aol.com