I AM WRITING to protest the malicious lie you wrote about me in your “Inside Dallas” feature [March] under the heading “Petition Payoffs.” Your scurrilous attack is unwarranted and untrue. I have never paid anyone a single cent to sign a petition. Your accusation is not only an insult to my honesty and integrity, it is an affront to all Dallas-area voters. Who do you think would sell their signature for 50 cents?
I am not a Farmers Branch businessman. My company is located in Carrollton, another indication that you didn’t do your homework before you slandered my name. Calling for another vote may be a giant step back in your estimation. However, extensive research on my part has proven beyond a doubt that rapid transit is not the answer for Dallas. DART is the biggest rip-off ever imposed on the Dallas taxpayer. It will not remove traffic from the highways, and I will continue my effort to overturn the election.
In January, I held a luncheon meeting with some of my supporters to determine the best way to obtain the necessary signatures to force another DART referendum. We had been hampered by bitterly cold weather and darkness descending by 6 p.m. Among the possibilities we discussed was hiring junior college students and paying them by the hour or by the number of signatures they obtained. We later determined that using inexperienced students was not a feasible solution. Connie Pryzant of The Dallas Morning News attended the luncheon, and she later wrote an article mentioning 50 cents for each signature. Obviously, you misinterpreted what was said. Let me assure you, there is a tremendous difference between paying voters to sign a petition and hiring help to obtain signatures, operate a phone bank, distribute pamphlets, hire media consultants, etc. DART people spent $1,386,000 in such activities prior to August 13.
I have no paid supporters; they are all volunteers. We have never offered or even suggested paying a voter for his signature. Not only would such an act be illegal, but it would also be an insult to the voter. I am not desperate for support, nor am I willing to do anything to get it. My opposition has always been conducted in an honest, forthright manner.
Obviously, we do not share the same beliefs, but I defend your right to your opinion. I expect the same respect. You have questioned my honesty and integrity by accusing me unfairly.
Francis W. Winn
Editor’s note: D regrets the error.
PARTING SHOTS ON GUN CONTROL
I WISH TO commend you on your fine article concerning gun control in the March issue [“The Handgun Epidemic”]. I was both pleased and amazed that D Magazine published such an article. I feel better now about living in America knowing that there are journalists such as you who will take a decisive stand on an issue as controversial as gun control. Moreover, you have helped to remove my pessimism that “nothing can be done” to fight the NRA. Your article galvanized my efforts to become active in gun control. I hope this will hold true for thousands of others.
“THE HANDGUN Epidemic” was extremely informative, well-researched and thought-provoking. When I reached its conclusion, two questions came to mind: 1) If the majority of Texans do indeed favor gun control, then why do they allow their politicians to be frightened by the NRA into notvoting in handgun regulations? 2) What can we as concerned citizens do? If we write our congressmen and state representatives, will it do any good?
THANK YOU FOR your straightforward and factual article, “The Handgun Epidemic.” It is truly unfortunate that so many people view gun ownership as a vaccine against violence, when in fact indiscriminate distribution of guns is a major contributing cause of violent death in America.
My only complaint about the article is that it places blame on a “vacuum of ignorance.” Chris Tucker’s article and the many sources cited in it prove that the requisite knowledge about gun control is available to the general public and, more especially, to our legislators. The facts are plain and readily available. There is not a vacuum of ignorance filled with NRA half-truths and emotionalism, but a vacuum of well-reasoned legislation stoppered by the gun zealots’ well-funded political action committees.
Your article gives me hope that we are finally starting to hold our legislators accountable for ending the plague of handgun-related violence.
John W. Trimble Jr.
CHRIS TUCKER’S first handgun horror story about a man being shot in a bar failed to mention that Texas already has a very strong law making it a felony to carry a gun into any bar or 7-Eleven where alcoholic beverages are sold.
In 1982, firearms involvement fell to the lowest level ever measured by the FBI, and firearms involvement in crime continued a downward drop that began in 1974. Maybe enforcement of existing gun laws is the answer, and not the frontier justice of condemning the NRA rather than the criminal.
Dr. Griffin T. Murphey, D.D.S.
IN REPLY TO the article on gun control and those sweet people who were shown on the front of D Magazine: I respect your guts for tackling and stepping on something that possibly could use some changes. But it’s too big of an American heritage thing. I really love target shooting and the feeling I get that I can protect myself against any of these criminals that would try any harm to my wife or kids. I just want to protect what I work for.
I still think [the problem is] the crummy judicial system and the disrespect for the power weapons have.
LEGISLATING AGAINST inanimate objects, be it heroin or handguns, will never work. Less than 1 percent of all handguns are used in the commission of crimes. What we need are tough, no-parole sentences for firearm-wielding thugs. As the bumper sticker says, “Soft judges make hard criminals.” We have enough laws. We need a judicial system with enough guts to enforce them to the letter.
Little Rock, Arkansas
I WONDER IF Chris Tucker is just crazy or simply an anti-gun nut.The handgun is one of the few ways a person can truly defend himself these days.
While I do agree that handguns are misused, they are misused because the liberal gutless wonders such as Tucker are against capital punishment or any other reasonable punishment. Your idea of punishment seems to be a slap on the wrist and telling them to be good. If you are so in love with gun control, go live in Russia. It has the ultimate form of gun control. It’s called people control.
AS I SEE IT, the problem with your writer and with the “Editor’s Page” is the same as that of all gun controllers: some (like your editor and writer) highly intelligent, many sincere, but also a large number of people immersed in theory, short on admitting some practical truths and long on the American concept that “if only we pass a law, we’d solve any difficult situation.”
How naive can one be to accept as fact that with “meaningful” gun control laws, these [criminals] would have been handicapped in getting and keeping possession of the weapons they used? Even your writer admits (though he does not emphasize) that laws wouldn’t keep guns away from any person desiring to commit a serious offense.
Your writer does not mention the robbers and potential murderers who have been clobbered by the handguns of storekeepers and others who know how to use them. Nor does he put any emphasis on the deterring effects of the armed citizen, whereby a wishful bandit decides not to rob or kill (“this guy may have a gun and know how to use it. Guess I’ll not rob him”).
I’m sorry to see one of my favorite magazines join the ranks of the impractical dreamers and professional do-gooders-yes, and the criminal elements who would feel a lot safer in robbing a store, shooting its proprietors, burglarizing a residence or even hijacking an airplane if he or they were confident that the innocent public wouldn’t have a gun around.
William N. Stokes Jr.
“THE HANDGUN Epidemic” seems slanted toward anti-guns. Now there is a conspiracy by Communists to eliminate the two main deterrents to the takeover of America: doing away with guns the citizens own and nuclear weapons. If the guns are taken away, Lenin’s theory, “Get the enemy to defeat himself,” will be realized. They would take over in about a year.
R. Elvin Dick
IT IS WITH some regret that I must cancel my subscription. The issue of gun control is in dire need of mature judgment with reasonable compromise by both extremes. Regretfully, “The Handgun Epidemic” is as biased in its extreme as the organizations it criticizes.
I am convinced it is this type of sensationalism that does more harm than good and wish to withdraw any support that could otherwise perpetuate similar unresponsible articles (on any subject).
Long Island, New York
I owe my life to having been in possession of a handgun. But nowhere in your totally one-sided presentation [“Editor’s Page,” March] do you consider that guns can also save lives and property. In fairness, shouldn’t you?
Years ago, four hoodlums came at me as I was closing my place of business one night, shouting, “(jet ready to die!” And I might have then, too, but for the handgun I produced from under my jacket (which, under Texas law, I could legally carry, either openly or concealed, on my place of business).
YOUR MARCH COLUMN was a beautifully crafted piece of work, marked by knowledge, insight, unexpectedness, creativity and-above all, in my view-the capacity to see linkages. Its effectiveness was not marred by the fact that I agreed with you.
David V. Pittenger
Concerning your article, “Pray TV” [March], the writer failed to mention that the main thing she put down about religious programs is the same means of support of all other TV programs. Any program is made possible by some multimillion-dollar advertisement that tries to convince its viewers that the product they are selling will bring some overwhelming satisfaction. It’s up to the viewer to decide which will really satisfy his particular need, and that will be the one he will choose to spend his money on.
RUTH FITZGIBBONS normally researches thoroughly, but in preparing “Pray TV,” I suspect she did not bother to watch any of the preachers she criticizes. Yes, she read and interviewed widely, but if she had watched the 700 Club, she would have learned that millions of dollars in food, goods and services have been given to the poor through CBN’s Operation Blessing and that those who are saved through the show’s ministry are helped to find churches that will help them grow.
I know it’s not stylish to speak kindly of TV preachers or of Christianity in general, but you have a responsibility to be honest about the “ratio of genius to junk.”
MY MAIN PURPOSE in writing is to correct your definition of a secular humanist. They are not “people who make decisions independent of God,” but rather people who do not recognize God in any of the affairs of life. I know you will want to print this, as the worst type of media is the type that either doesn’t inform or misinforms.
Robin D. Spear
I WAS APPALLED by your obviously biased and sarcastic article entitled “Pray TV.” In the first place, what you term as “narrow-minded” is not what Bob Tilton, Kenneth Copeland or any minister says; it’s what the Bible says. It’s God who condemns abortion, homosexuality and all sin, not these men.
Secondly, who is Ruth Fitzgibbons or Dto judge the motives of a man’s heart? As a former employee of Word of Faith World Outreach Center, I can tell you that Bob Tilton’s motive is based on a deep concern for people. Robert Tilton also understands that people’s needs cannot totally be met through a television set. That’s why he continually encourages his viewers to join a local church wherever they are in the United States and to get involved there.
Theresa M. Havens
THE FIRST paragraphs should have stated: “All TV evangelists try to do is deceive you. They attempt to get as much respect and money as they can from anyone who can be so gullible. I will not concentrate on the positive effects that TV evangelists have on people in showing them how they can have eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord. If you want a negative outlook on TV evangelists, please read this story!”
IS IT POSSIBLE?
THE TIMELY ARTICLE “And Justice for Whom?” [February] clearly outlined the dilemma that the American Psychiatric Association, the American Medical Association and the American Bar Association are facing. Consider the average informed person as one who tries to sort through the myriad decisions and precedents with regard to legal insanity. It may be helpful to know that all three [above-mentioned] associations are working on some common type of ground to communicate an acceptable definition of insanity that satisfies and is workable for all parties.
Human behavior is infinitely variable and is influenced by both external and, of course, internal motivations. The legal profession would like to know with some certainty if an individual at a point in time knew the nature and consequences of his acts or if he is capable of understanding the charges against him and is capable of assisting in his [own] defense. Psychiatry is able to make some reasonable assumptions and postulates, but it is a behavioral science, not a physical science.
Thank you for pointing out to us once again that we have a long way to go in psychiatry to adequately assisting the legal profession in [our area of expertise] and for gently reminding them of what, at this juncture, is not in our power to predict.
James W. Black
North Texas Branch
Texas Psychiatric Society
American Psychiatric Association
Correction: In “The Rights of Spring” [“The Dallas Look,” April], photographer Perry Ogden was mistakenly credited as Peter Ogden. Ogden’s work is also in this issue on page 106.