Issue February 19, 2008

Erosia

LEO welcomes letters that are brief (250 words max) and thoughtful. Ad hominem attacks will be ignored, and we need your name and a daytime phone number. Send snail mail to EROSIA, 640 S. Fourth St., Louisville, Ky. 40202. Fax to 895-9779 or e-mail to leo@leoweekly.com. We may edit for length, grammar and clarity.


Correction
In last week’s dining review, Primo’s chef was misidentified. Michael Hargrove is the chef at Primo. LEO regrets the error.

Right to Carry
Attn: Stephen George:
Regarding the cover story in the Feb. 13 issue, “Have gun, will fire”: I just do not understand the point of your editorial diatribe. You at least feigned an attempt at accuracy in the statement of the facts of the case but are decidedly biased in your comments about Kentucky’s concealed carry law. Kentucky, as well as 28 other states, has experienced documented reduction in violent crime related to home invasion, rape, carjacking and armed robbery as a result of passing this law. Yet you make no mention of this or of how many people have protected themselves, prevented crimes and even saved themselves as well as a would-be criminal, by possessing and properly utilizing a concealed weapon.
The two individuals described in your commentary have no business owning a gun, much less carrying one in public. Neither possesses the temperament to handle the responsibility present when one arms himself with a semi-automatic weapon. And it is sad for the families and friends involved. But to somehow lump this bizarre case of a clash of testosterone gone very bad in with an argument against what has statistically been a very beneficial law is just wrong. And I know most bleeding-heart liberals would throw away all the guns if they could, but like it or not, our Constitution protects the citizens’ rights to bear arms. Thank God statutes are written for the good of us all, in spite of the idiots in the world.
I live near the Stony Brook center where this occurred. I actually was in that parking lot the day this happened, after the scene had been cleared for the most part. I have had issues with arrogant fools at the stop sign where this happened. I am not licensed to carry, though I have friends who are. I am a gun owner and an avid hunter. I have the utmost respect for the consequences of pulling the trigger on any weapon. In my opinion, road rage should not be handled with a weapon of any kind. I have also had both what could be described as favorable and unfavorable experiences with the Jeffersontown Police Department as a result of living there for the past 17 years. But if Mr. Pickerill brandished a gun in any way, shape or form, he had to expect or at least suspect a like response. They teach that in the licensing course. One of the basic rules of weapon etiquette is never point a weapon you do not intend to fire — thus Mr. Koenig’s reaction as a trained police officer, whether justified or unjustified.
So, for all of the sadness and woe you put forth in your article on behalf of Mr. Pickerill, he asked for what he got from someone with a like attitude that happened to be in the same place at the same time. And at the very least, THIS is the statistical anomaly you should be writing about, not whether there is something wrong with having a concealed carry law. The overwhelming majority of concealed licensees are level-headed, law-abiding citizens that by the exercise of their rights under the law make everyone’s life safer, even yours.
Kevin Adams, Louisville

Have Gun, Should Carry
Thanks for the “Have gun, will fire” article in last week’s LEO. To make sure everyone keeps in perspective the issue of gun ownership and concealed carry laws, please consider the following incidents, both happening within the last seven days.
In New York, a psychologist was hacked to death with a meat cleaver. Her colleague intervened and now lies in the hospital in critical condition. The meat cleaver was wielded with such force that it left the blade bent and misshapen. New York denied the psychologist and her colleague the right to self-protection through very restrictive gun and concealed carry laws.
In Texas, an 80-year-old man answered a knock at the door and was immediately attacked by two knife-wielding brothers who began to strike and cut him. The 80-year-old was able to retrieve a handgun from his pocket and fire shots in self-defense. One of the brothers is in jail while the other is resting comfortably in the hospital with a bullet lodged near his spine. The state of Texas has allowed its citizens to retain their right to self-defense, and that is the only reason this 80-year-old man is still alive today.
Would the New York psychologist be alive today if afforded the same gun and concealed carry rights that are available to Texas or Kentucky residents? One thing is for certain, if properly trained and armed, she would have had a better chance of defending herself against a cleaver-wielding lunatic.
The combination of responsible gun ownership and concealed carry is necessary for our law-abiding citizens to protect their families and fellow men. In the real world, there are people motivated to do the innocent harm, sometimes just for sport. In many cases, a concealed firearm is the only thing that stands between you and certain death. Most of us would choose life.
W. Wellman, Louisville

Politics Be Damned

Cary Stemle seemed to have forgotten that “politics is the damnedest in Kentucky” last week. No doubt, many a conscientious citizen is disappointed at Gov. Beshear’s “inability to say what he’d do if gaming didn’t pass.” (Note the word “inability.”) If only the game of politics was played by good sports.
We know that balancing the Kentucky state budget is a mean game, especially so in the lean years. Good people will be hurt by the program cuts. Tax increases are off the table, as all smart politicians know. The Kentucky Senate is veto-proof. And, casino gambling is a knee-jerk issue sure to bring out more right-wing Republicans in next fall’s election.
Which card to play next? It appears unlikely Beshear is holding any aces in this game. In any event, it doesn’t surprise me that he (didn’t) want to show us any of his cards at this point.
Tom Louderback, Louisville
Editor’s note: The governor announced his casino plan a day after the commentary to which Mr. Louderback referred was printed.

Socialism Doesn’t Work

I think most Americans would agree with Paul L. Whiteley Sr. that Mitch McConnell is a politician, not a statesman. However, Whiteley’s socialistic “solutions” to America’s political and economic problems are scary indeed.
In a prior letter to Erosia, Whiteley advocated economic parity through taxing the most productive members of our society and re-distributing their wealth to lift the economic circumstances of everyone. Now, he calls for an end to conservatism, to be replaced with a new era of “liberalism that works for the common good.” Here’s a question for him: Socialism didn’t work so well in the Soviet Union, East Germany, Yugoslavia or Romania, did it?   
Whiteley will probably get his wish following the 2008 election. With Hillary Clinton or Barack Obama facing the hapless John McCain, it is almost certain that the next occupant of the White House will push for socialist policies that Whiteley cherishes. However, look for a backlash against said policies to occur in the 2010 mid-term elections and the 2012 presidential election, as hard-working, productive voters tire of the federal government trying to pick their pockets for the “common good.”
Keith Norris, Louisville

Who’s Really Running?

When I think of the 2008 presidential elections that will be coming up in November, I think of a total political overhaul. Although I will not be old enough to vote in what might be the most significant election in the past 20 years, I must admit that I have been following it diligently. In the past few weeks there has been much political turmoil coming from both the Republican and Democratic parties. Mitt Romney is calling John McCain a “liberal.” Bill Clinton is alluding to the fact that African-American voters in South Carolina may simply be nostalgic for Jesse Jackson. Wait a minute … Bill Clinton? I thought that his wife, Hillary, was the one making the presidential pitch these days.
Whenever we turn on CNN, it seems like they are covering more of what the former president is saying than what the current presidential hopeful is saying. I understand that many of us are nostalgic for the Clinton administration glory days, but it seems like this should be Hillary’s time to shine. I’ll leave you with this one question: Would you listen to Mrs. Obama?
Caitlin Schofield, duPont Manual
High School, Louisville