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Letters to the Editor

Save the screen, ditch the guns
I love movies. I go to two or three a week when I can. The venues that show them can be even more interesting. The one and two screen theaters always make a movie experience better. But sitting outside in your car or truck watching images fly by on a giant screen is the ultimate fun way to do it.

With this spirt in mind I would like to ask the Durham community, in which I've lived and presently work in, to ask the owner of the Starlite to stop selling guns and ammunition when he reopens.

Right now several very hardworking and community minded people are raising funds to bring back the Starlite after a tragic fire destroyed it's screen ("Scan," Sept. 8). When people give time and money to such a fine cause, they become partners in the cause's future. I don't believe their generosity is intended to support the sale of guns.

Unfortunately a 10-year-old assault weapons ban is being allowed to lapse as I write this. We have enough problems with gun violence in the Triangle without a fundraiser for a gun store. The two shooting deaths in an N.C. State parking lot recently are a sad reminder of the effects of guns, legal or illegal.

I hope everyone, especially those about to give to the Starlite, will think about how your giving can help support a community business and prevent needless death.
Brian Russell
Chapel Hill

Ditch the guns II
I'm saddened to hear that the Starlite Drive-In theatre burned down and I wish it a speedy reconstruction ("Scan," Sept. 8). That being said, I hope that Bob Grove will reconsider one of his business practices--the selling of handguns. I'm not sure how many community members who are helping to get the Starlite back on its feet are even aware that it sells handguns; and, if they are aware of that fact, whether or not they are aware of the drastic damage handguns do to our community.

Consider these statistics from the Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence (www.bradycenter.org):

In 1998, 30,708 people in the United States died from firearm-related deaths: 12,102 (39%) of those were murdered; 17,424 (57%) were suicides; 866 (3%) were accidents; and in 316 (1%) the intent was unknown.

In 1998, eight out of 10 of those murdered with firearms were murdered with handguns.

In 1999, there were only 134 justifiable handgun homicides by private citizens in the United States.

In 1998, firearm homicide was the leading cause of death for black males ages 15-34.

In 1998, more than 10 children and teenagers, ages 19 and under, were killed with guns everyday.

In 1998, 77 percent of murdered juveniles age 13-19 were killed with a firearm.

From 1993 through 1997, an average of 1,409 children and teenagers took their own lives with guns each year.

In 1998 alone, licensed firearms dealers sold an estimated 4.4 million guns, 1.7 million of which were handguns.

More information on the number of handgun-related deaths in our country, and ways that we can stop the violence, can be accessed from Stop Handgun Violence (www.stophandgunviolence.org), Stop the NRA (www.stopthenra.com), and North Carolinians against Gun Violence (www.ncgv.org).

Perhaps, after the Starlite is rebuilt with the help of the community, Mr. Grove will repay the community by getting rid of the guns once and for all.
Michael Taeckens
Durham

No more years
The Republican Convention ("If I were a rich man," Sept. 8) showed the world what the Republican Party is all about: fear, lies and hate. When not trying to scare us with terrorism, they lied about their opponents, questioned the patriotism of others, and preached openly about denying homosexuals equal rights. Inequality, super-nationalism and misinformation should not be the hallmark of our ruling parties.

The Republican delegates themselves were a large body of wild-eyed emotional people. The delegates were crying, screaming, afraid and worshipful of the President as if he were the Golden Calf. When a few people in the crowd voiced dissent, they were attacked and dragged out of the building, in a fashion similar to 1933 Berlin. All the while, the Republican politicians smiled and the crowd chanted, "Four More Years!"

If these people are allowed to control this government for four more years, what we will be left with in 2009 would barely resemble what we had in 2000. We would be thrust into an Orwellian nightmare that would do a disservice to those who gave their lives for our freedom. The founding fathers knew that if America were to be ruined, it would be so from internal sources. Ladies and gentlemen, I think we have found those internal sources.
Anthony DiMarzio
Raleigh

Correction
Ruth Zalph, who was quoted in our story about the protests at the Republican National Convention ("500,000 to Zero," Sept. 1), lives in Carrboro. Leslie Cagan is national coordinator of United for Peace and Justice.

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