Letters

As evidence of that effect, please see a comment in the article where Labbee says, "At least Pardillo's credibility doesn't bear the taint of any smutty allegations." Here the author declares that smutty allegations, even without proof, taint the objects of the allegations. The best way to stop such unfounded rumors is not to print them. If your journalistic investigation shows that they are not rumors, but have foundation in fact, then, of course, you are dealing with a news item and it is fair game. What you have done is poor journalism, even for New Times.

Walter C. Ward
Miami

TULLUS HOSTILIUS FOR PRESIDENT
Regarding the gun show story ("Bullets N' Things," April 29): Rafael Navarro's using Truman Capote as an authority on sexual ambivalence is, well, like using Truman Capote as an authority on sexual ambivalence.

Mr. Navarro, and even the usually sensible George Will, still don't get it. The Second Amendment was not fashioned to ensure that the states have a right to form militias; the amendment plainly states that in order to have a well-regulated (controlled) militia, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed. Thus, the amendment provides that an armed citizenry is the bulwark against a militia ordered to act against them. History is full of such episodes; for example, Aristotle describes the manner in which Peisistratus seized power by disarming the Athenians; and Tullus Hostilius, the third (legendary) king of the early Romans, used deception to disarm the Albans. And the American people are supposed to trust Howard Metzenbaum and Ted Kennedy, who are trying their best to disarm them?

Of the 116,000 concealed-weapon permits issued in Florida, I've read about only three permit holders being involved in firearm activity; as far as I know, those are the only documented instances. Of those three, only one acted in a criminal manner - and he was mentally deranged. The other two used their firearms to prevent extremely dangerous crimes. If Navarro is "dazed" by picking up a .38 revolver, then he doesn't have the training or experience to be around guns. I suggest that he take one of the many gun-owner courses offered by the National Rifle Association.

Chekhov believed that a gun around will be used; well, he was a Russian and a writer, and not an American and a real person. In truth, of the estimated 200 million civilian-owned firearms in the U.S., only one-half of one percent of them are used illegally in any given year. Maybe Mr. Navarro and Rep. Ron Silver can get together and come up with some way to get that one-half of one percent out of the wrong hands. I would applaud their successful efforts. In the meantime, I believe that Mr. Silver would just as soon take the firearms away from the law-abiding citizens who, as has been reported by Prof. Gary Kleck of Florida State University, use firearms more than 640,000 times per year to defend themselves.

D.E. Berger
North Miami Beach

MORELLO: DEATH OF A CLASSMATE
I am writing in reference to Jim DeFede's stories about Andrew Morello ("Justice Undone," April 15 and 22). While reading the letters people wrote, I couldn't believe how cruel and heartless our society has become. I'm seventeen and attend North Miami Senior High School. I knew Andrew, and I know the three young men involved, and for people to say that Andrew deserved to die is wrong. Nobody deserves to die.

The people writing these letters didn't know Andrew, and they don't know the three others involved. Andrew was a person, not an animal, and he doesn't deserve to be treated like one. They make him seem like a delinquent who was always in trouble. Wrong. Andrew and the other three had their faults and made their mistakes, but they're still people with hearts, minds, and most of all, feelings. Andrew's death will always be a part of those three friends, and even though it wasn't their fault, they will always blame themselves. How can the judicial system blame them? Don't people understand that watching a friend die is punishment enough?

Then there are those who commend Laura Russell for killing Andrew. She's not God, she didn't give him life, and she had no right to take his life. So I'd like for those who applaud her in killing Andrew to just for a minute put themselves in the Morellos' place and try to imagine their lives without a son or daughter.

Danise Maisonet
North Miami

MORELLO: SOCIAL DISEASE
Regarding the Andrew Morello case: After analyzing some of the comments and suggestions offered by angry citizens, I'm disappointed and frightened to actually realize how cruel and blind our society is.

"Exterminate the hoods," "Thanks for offering one," "Make my day, kill the other three dirt bags." What is this? Unfortunately, I see a retributive society that only sees an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth as the quickest and most effective way to deal with crime. I'm disappointed with society and its impatience in not realizing that education and rehabilitation is the best policy to deal with this part of life. My suggestion may be difficult to understand, particularly with those who want quick results to a violent society, but it frightens me. Society can either understand its problems or fight fire with fire and burn unforgivingly.

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