The shootings in Tucson are a dramatic reminder that we are one of the world’s most violent societies. Violence governs our foreign relations, our sports and video games and our daily diet.

Yes, our diet. Desensitization to violence begins in the home, when parents assure their naturally inquisitive, animal-loving children that chickens “give” eggs, cows “give” milk, and that pigs “give” their flesh for us to eat. The horrific daily violence and barbaric slaughter visited on these innocent animals and subsidized by us at the checkout counter gets buried in our subconscious mind.


Once our kids have learned to live with the violence of their diet, how much of a stretch is it to while away their idle hours on video games like “Mortal Kombat,” “Manhunt,” or “Grand Theft Auto”? How likely is this experience then to govern how they resolve a social confrontation in their neighborhood or a military one in an Afghan village?

Most of us abhor violence, but we don’t know how to prevent it.


Giving our kids an honest answer when they ask “Mommy, where do hamburgers come from?” is certainly a great start.


Lewis Mermell

Little Rock

Your readers will do well to read and clip the fine essay by Ernie Dumas in the Jan. 12 Times “Demonizing policy.” What will we learn from this? What action will result? Will we learn that sale of 30-shot magazines and ammo to the mentally ill is a recipe for disaster? How many — 10 in the last few years? —  multiple killings with guns will it take for Congress to take action in limiting  gun and ammunition sales to those with reported mental disturbance? Words of sadness are appropriate. But action to prevent the mayhem is more appropriate.


Having fired multiple-shot, semi-automatic weapons in the Army I have seen the horrible damage they can do.

Let the Arkansas congressional delegation know if you agree with me.

Robert Johnston

Little Rock

On the radio

I recently called KARN radio to ask Dave Elswick a question. His show was about the redistribution of wealth in America. Elswick spews the same garbage as Beck, O’Reilly, Hannity and the other puppets of media mogul Rupert Murdoch. He was arguing for the extension of the Bush tax cuts for the rich.

This is what I asked him:

For decades now the federal government and the rich have sent American jobs to other countries. During this same period, our borders have leaked like a sieve, allowing more poor people into America at record levels. If we do not redistribute wealth, or create employment that allows people to earn enough money to care for their families, what will happen in America? I pointed out that history teaches us that people will revolt and overthrow the rulers if this problem is not addressed. So Dave, what is the solution?

True to form, he did not give any solution at all. He said, “when I started out I was poor. My family lived in a 400-square-foot house. I lived in my car. But I believe that in America, the greatest country on earth, that if you get marketable skills, you can find a good job.”

Elswick started out in radio decades ago, when education was affordable. When there were jobs to be had. Before the Bush family destroyed this country’s economy. The Murdoch parrots do not seem to be in touch with reality or know much about history. It’s interesting how he could ignore the unemployment rate in America when it suits him. He is one of those people who think the earth is 6,000 years old and that wrestling is real.

Trying to get an intelligent answer from him is like a toe ring on a fat girl; what’s the point?

Butch Stone


The tax cuts

The Bush tax cuts are up for reinstatement or to be allowed to expire. Back when they were proposed I wrote that, if used as Bush said they would be, I’d support them wholeheartedly. His proposal was that the ones saving would use the savings to establish more jobs. My support, as I stated then, was contingent on the tax savings being used to establish AMERICAN jobs! I wagered that they’d not do that — but would export the jobs overseas to third world countries to capitalize on the slave wages there for profits. And that’s exactly what was done in most cases. Count the jobs that were sent to Mexico from the refrigerator and washing machine factory in Fort Smith in the last three years or more alone in Arkansas. Count the jobs in China that supply the sub-standard junk that Walmart imports from there by the shiploads. Americans are conned into buying such crap at “Low, Low Prices” and it falls apart in a matter of a few months. Then we are sold a couple more of those same poorly made items to make up for one decently designed and made item of that sort we used to make here in America. Why is that? Because the whole damned crew, from Walmart shareholders to the billionaires Sam’s kids have become, are skinning us alive financially and we’re damned fools enough to fall for it! Tax havens for these and other rich “Patriots ” are multiple such as those in the Seychelles and other off-shore banking tax shelters. This is made possible by bought and paid for congressmen and senators who do the bidding of the lobbyists on K Street and E Street in Washington, D. C. We have the very best Congress that MONEY CAN BUY. Until we throw out the lobbyists who are legally bribing our government entities and elected folks, we will continue to be treated like the serfs we’ve become. A new crop of Republicans to be bribed won’t change things. Changing the causes of the problem must be done first. That is ridding ourselves of the legalized bribe artists.

Karl Hansen


Submit letters to The Editor, Arkansas Times, P.O. Box 34010, Little Rock, AR 72203. We also accept letters via e-mail. The address is We also accept faxes at 375-3623. Please include a hometown and telephone number.