Posted: March 10, 2004

Just the facts

Bryan Miller claims ("Bizarre theory on guns," letter, March 3) that "The Inquirer must be the last respectable publication" publishing my work, but over the last two months the Los Angeles Times, New York Post, the Economist and the Wall Street Journal Europe among others have run my writings.

As to my research being "thoroughly abused by [my] peers," Miller's gun-control organization may wish it were so, but the discussion in my March 2 Commentary Page article on semi-automatic gun bans ("Senate bill can end misleading debate on guns") is based on my latest book, The Bias Against Guns, which was endorsed by three Nobel Prize winners.

Miller asserts that I inaccurately described the legislation that was before the Senate as still allowing a wide range of civil suits against gun makers for defective products, violations of state or federal law, or selling a gun knowing that it would be used to commit a crime. Fortunately, the text of the legislation is available online (http://thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/query/z?c108:S.1805:).

His attack about a hard-disk crash that lost data fails to note that all the data were replaced and made readily available to others on my Web site.

He claims that I used a pseudonym "in print." Also false: it was used in Internet chat rooms, where such usage is quite common.

Facts, not emotional personal attacks, would help save more lives.

John R. Lott Jr.

Resident scholar

American Enterprise Institute


Prison for Stewart

Re: "A long prison sentence would be in bad taste," editorial, March 6:

I am hard-pressed to understand the pity that you would have us all to bestow upon Martha Stewart. This is not some widow who made a mistake managing the stocks left her by her dear departed husband. This ex-stockbroker performed an insider trade that she knew or should have known was illegal. And when questioned about her actions, she lied to investigators.

And we John and Jane Does are supposed to be satisfied that she has "sacrificed already in credibility and economic clout"? Are prison terms only for the poor and middle class?

Precisely because she has presented herself as a role model to the public, she should serve at least a year in prison. If she had come clean to investigators she would have only been fined. Instead, she turned her self-interest and contempt for the securities laws into contempt for the government and the investigation of her self-serving actions.

Francis Fox


Biased story placement

Re: "Bush ads anger 9/11 families," March 5:

Does The Inquirer not have anything better to do than put a contrived opinion piece on Page One? The flap over President Bush's new television ad, recounted in an article that served awkwardly as the lead piece in the paper, is sheer demagoguery. The Inquirer has colluded with Bush's opponents in an effort to silence his campaign from emphasizing his main asset as a strong leader who rose to meet the country's challenges in difficult times.

To run the story on the front page is unconscionable. Given the fact that many 9/11 families support the President's ads, the story is also disingenuous. Save the propaganda piece for the Editorial Page or, better yet, the newsletter of the Democratic National Committee.

Christian Petrucci


'Recovery' benefits few

According to the Federal Reserve ("Rate of job growth slow in Jan., Feb.", March 4), the pace of economic activity was strong during the past two months. Nevertheless, job creation and wages lagged.

What kind of recovery is a jobless recovery? Not only are the jobless in trouble, but people with jobs find it harder to get raises or better jobs. This benefits capital at the expense of labor.

The President's economic policies are benefiting the people he cares about. His challenge is to fool the people he does not care about into voting for him also.

John Engelman


No Penn speech code

Temple University professor Burton Caine's March 5 letter ("Speaking out at Penn"), in which he criticizes the speech code at Penn, is way off the mark. As a matter of record, there is no speech code at Penn, and none has existed at Penn since I became president 10 years ago.

Judith Rodin


University of Pennsylvania

For more letters on regional issues, see B2.

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