Home artists need training: Not everyone who can draw or paint can tattoo, but I agree with those in your story who argue against new Florida laws banning home tattoo artists ("Ink Wars," Chris Sweeney, March 15). People should be allowed to tattoo out of their homes. However, I believe there need to be some checks and balances associated with at-home tattooing, such as formal training in blood-borne pathogens, cross contamination, and proper sterilization. Just because someone tattoos out of their home doesn't mean they are a "scratcher" or are unqualified, but with anything involving a health risk, they should have to have some sort of qualification and training and must be held accountable in the event that something goes terribly wrong.
In a perfect world, everyone who tattoos would have a license and would have apprenticed for at least a year and would receive formal training. What the Florida Professional Tattoo Guild, which supports the new laws, isn't telling the general public is that breaking into the industry is extremely difficult and very competitive and that working knowledge of our art is tightly guarded. The tattoo industry, in fact, creates these at-home artists, scratchers, and unqualified tattoo artists by making it so difficult to learn and get the proper training. Instead of opening up the doors and training people properly, they would rather have legislation put in place to stamp out the very problems they have created.
letters to the editor
Screw regulations: It's a lot easier earning money the more competitors you can run out of business. This whole scheme is merely a way to limit competition and run up the cost for existing businesses. It's been sold to do-gooders who have never seen a regulation they didn't love. The losers are the customers, who have to pay more, and small-time tattooers, who can't earn an income. Damn the liberals, lawyers, legislators, and industry weasels.
Rules save lives: Ninety-five percent of regulations exist because the people being regulated failed to act responsibly in the first place, usually leaving someone sick, injured, or ripped off. There are scores of examples, such as the "toxic tush" fake doctor who was injecting Fix-a-Flat into people's asses. I'm sure she envisioned herself a "freelance artist" as well. Every trade that affects public health is licensed and regulated, whether a brain surgeon, paramedic, or hairstylist. Similarly, dozens of skilled trades require certification and apprenticeship (electrician, carpenter, etc.). Are you seriously suggesting that someone who uses invasive techniques via thousands of needle pricks should be held to a lesser professional standard than any of those examples? If your arm was rotting off after a bad tattoo, I bet you'd be crying, "There should've been a law!" and scrambling for one of those liberal lawyers to file a $10 million liability suit on your behalf.
Larry from Hollywood
WMC Versus Memorial Day
No more race cards: As usual, Uncle Luke is always the first to pull out the race card, this time by arguing that police treat the mostly white Ultra and spring break visitors better than the majority black crowds during Memorial Day Weekend ("Luke's Gospel: Treat Ultra's White Visitors and Urban Beach Weekend's Blacks the Same," Luther Campbell, March 15). Have you ever even been to Ultra? Have you ever actually stuck around Memorial Day long enough to see what happens other than just reading stories about it? I highly doubt it, because lemme tell you something: People are people! Shootings happen with blacks, whites, Hispanics, you name it. "Pill poppers," as you like to call them, also come in a variety of colors. The only racist here is you.
Memorial Day is too violent: Too bad there are never any shootings during Winter Music Conference, or you might have had an argument here. Next time, know your facts before you write.
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Hip-hop is to blame: Ultra is an electronic music festival, not a hip-hop fest like Memorial Day weekend when no one in Miami can go to the beach without fear of get shot or ending up in the middle of some gunfight or gang brawl. Stop playing the race card. I'd rather be "pill popping" and loving my fellow raver, neither of which I have ever seen at any hip-hop festival! Besides, drugs happen at all these festivals. Look around at all the violence that occurs during Memorial Day weekend and compare that to what happens during Ultra. You're arguing that increased police presence during Memorial Day just pisses patrons off and makes them want to commit more crimes and stab and shoot each other? Your premise is a joke!