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Braveheart in Gallipoli

Viewers are forgiving of Mel Gibson's patriotic excess. Also: Amazing Ben. Blogged Down Democrats. Plus much more.

8.9.06

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THE REVIEWS ARE IN
Re: Hal G.P. Colebatch's The Real Case Against Mel Gibson:

Putting aside the fact -- bizarre in and of itself -- that Mr. Colebatch finds the historical inaccuracies in Mel Gibson's films far more offensive than the actor's now-infamous outburst ("a relative triviality"?), his charges against Gibson are exceptionally weak even on their own terms.

Mr. Colebatch spends most of his time damning the 1981 film Gallipoli. I have neither seen the film nor am I am expert regarding the battle it was based on, so I'll take Mr. Colebatch at his word on its historical inaccuracies. What baffles me is why he blames Gibson for this. Gibson was all of about 23 years old when he appeared in the film as an actor. By all accounts he had no other input into the film, which was written, directed and produced by others. If Mr. Colebatch finds the film offensive then he should direct his ire at those people.

Mr. Colebatch is on firmer ground in his criticisms of Braveheart and the Patriot, since Gibson did have creative control over those projects. But even here, his point isn't very strong. Neither film is presented as a true account of history but rather as Hollywood adventures inspired by true events. Audiences have known since the days of Errol Flynn not to take these films seriously.

In the case of William Wallace, there literally isn't a whole lot known, so any film about him is obliged to invent details. Gibson makes no effort to hide this either. In the audio commentary track to the DVD edition he points out many of the inaccuracies, anachronisms and inventions in the film himself. He makes no bones about taking dramatic license to make a simpler, more audience-pleasing film. So why does Mr. Colebatch take the film's history more seriously than Gibson does?

The same points can be made regarding Patriot -- a film I did not like -- but one that nobody in their right mind would watch as historical documentary.
-- Sean Higgins
Washington, D.C.

Mr. Colebatch needs to get his knickers out of a knot over Mel Gibson's movies. He goes into all of the problems of anti-British sentiment in Gibson's movies, as this is something that matters.

Mr. Gibson makes movies, not history documentaries. In any movie based on a real event, there will be liberties taken with the facts to create dramatic moments, conversations will be created to keep the movie going along at a good pace ...that's just how movies work. Anyone going to see "The Patriot," "Braveheart," or "Gallipoli" expecting to get a history lesson is a bit naive; there is a reason that fiction sells millions of copies, while histories sell in the thousands.

As for the specific contention about "The Patriot", nowhere did the movie imply that the Continental Army was fighting to free the slaves. The one slave in the movie was given by his master to fight in his master's stead. After a year of service, the slave was given his freedom. Was it historically accurate? Maybe not, but it was a dramatic addition to the movie to make the 'good guys' look even more noble. Again, that's showbiz ...deal with it!

But what I really have a problem with is the suggestion that "The Passion of the Christ" was somehow anti-Semitic, even though the author says that he has never seen the movie. He insinuates that Gibson should have somehow rewritten the Bible itself to spare the feelings of those Jews that could possibly be offended by the portrayal of Jews in the movie. The problem is that what Gibson filmed was true to the Gospels and in no way disparaged the Jews; the simple fact is that the vast majority of Jerusalem was filled with Jews, the Sanhedrin and the high priests were Jews, and they were responsible for delivering Christ into the hands of the Romans. What would he have had Gibson do, rewrite the characters so that the Sanhedrin were no longer Jewish, but maybe Arabs?

I think that it is ridiculous to blame Mel Gibson's movies for not being history lessons, or especially for "Braveheart" igniting some kind of British-Scotch animosity. Maybe, just maybe, there were already some problems there that the movie just brought to the surface. And even if that is the case, it is foolish to blame a movie for creating the problems!

Mel Gibson is an actor, and a good one at that, and while what he said was abhorrent, it certainly does not deserve all of the outrage and ink that it has gotten. Get your panties out of a bunch and let the Gibson story die the death it deserves.
-- E.D. Edwards
Stokes County, North Carolina

When I read Mr. Colebatch's piece this morning I had to check to see if my computer had inadvertently found itself at a liberal web-site. It hadn't. If we want to judge a person's life and we go by the films they have made we have what ....a statement of who they really are or we have what...Hollywood???!!! That might be a refreshing sign that all of the U.S. could forget actors and actresses (it is about time, I might add). As Laura Ingraham says in the title of her book, Shut Up and Sing, they need to entertain and not try to open their mouths to spout their thoughts.

I am tired of talking about Mel Gibson. Two incidents happened on July 28th, Mel's spouting and real terrorism on our shores, a Muslim man who used a hostage in Seattle to enter a Jewish Center and wound and kill. Which is the real threat? Why had the news media kept quiet about this incident (and many others like it?) Well, it is easier to keep people stuck on stupid than it is to really measure the signs of the time and where the real threat is coming from, radical Islam. It is time we distinguished between the real and the make believe. Or soon we may find ourselves hollering wolf about the wrong incident long enough that when the real killing comes to our shores we won't know how to respond to the REAL thing!

Any ill thoughts Mr. Gibson may have had about anyone he will answer to someday in Heavenly Court. I have enough I will answer to that I don't need to be concerned about another's sins. His real sin, the Liberal Press in Hollywood believes, is that he made one magnificent film about Christ and they cannot get over his moxy of bucking them, bucking all predictions about its failure (they did try hard enough to see the film failed), and they were proved wrong. When a person succeeds at Heavenly job, he/she must be on alert to guard their thoughts and mind from sin. Mr. Gibson knew this during the filming of the movie. He made sure he went to Mass daily and measured his behavior daily to avoid sin and temptation.

It is a shame he failed to do that and drank the evening in question, but this is what human fragility is about. It is why Christ died for us, to redeem us from the sinfulness we find bound in our hearts. It is why grace is such a marvelous gift, not earned, cost Christ His all, and is something for us to choose to live by daily with. The measured love of God gives blessing each day and though I am sure to sin I may still be forgiven and partake again. That is what Amazing Grace is all about. It will Mr. Gibson's today and tomorrow, as will forgiveness.
-- Beverly Gunn, rancher
East Texas

Mr. Colebatch seems to have an axe to grind against Mel Gibson and his portrayal of historical events. Be that as it may, I do not dispute his assertions (nor care about them). A movie, even one of "historical accuracy" is just that, a movie. Historical accuracy is secondary to dramatic effect and the author's interpretation of the event. I watched those movies Mr. Colebatch has outlined in his article and yes, they leave a lot to historical accuracy. I also researched the actual events being portrayed and noted the differences of each. They are movies, nothing more, nothing less. They are meant to entertain and if the uninformed wish to see them as true representations of fact, there is nothing any of us can do about it other than point out the inaccuracies as Mr. Colebatch has done. The underlying gist of his article however, seems to be a diatribe against Mel Gibson and his "problem." Mel Gibson is a human being and is subject to imperfection. He is also an actor by profession and when the director says "action" he acts, good, bad, or indifferent. It is up to the viewer to discern anything else. I am not defending Mel Gibson but I am giving him the benefit of the doubt. Time will tell whether he is the anti-Semitic racist the left is portraying him as (they should know about that) or just a drunken sot whose mouth overrides his brain when he's in his cups. Either way, Mel Gibson will pay a price for his indiscretion or bigotry. Two recent movies out by the left wing ( Moore's and Gore's) have done more damage to truth than anything Gibson has been part of, as far as I'm concerned.
-- Pete Chagnon

SAGE STEIN
Re: Ben Stein's A Few More Little Facts:

As always, kudos to Ben Stein for his insights. As for Israel being "in for an extremely prolonged, agonizing period of suffering" due to Iran's predation, I would say this is true only if the United States and its allies (such as they are) fail to confront the prime source for terrorism in the world. Iran is best described as the "Arsenal of Terrorism." One critical aspect of winning the War on Terror is to destroy Iran's capacity to train, arm and supply terrorists in the Middle East and elsewhere. I say this notwithstanding the need to destroy Iran's nuclear weapons development effort. I do believe that our political leaders have a momentous choice ahead of them, and sooner than they may desire: either take the fight to Iran, before Iran's capabilities grow dangerously, or expect a prolonged, agonizing period of suffering for all of us.
-- Jeff Schmidt

Mr. Stein makes a point that the rest of the world is apparently unwilling to concede: Jews have the same rights to live in peace as do the rest of us. Even those Jews living in Israel.

Historically, Jews came to Palestine, believing it to be their ancestral home. They purchased land from Arabs among others and wrested prosperity from a lifeless desert. They built homes and towns while making the barren land flower. In many places Jews and Palestinians lived in friendship and peace, side by side.

Then was born the State of Israel. The pathetically small and weak Jewish State. But populated by a small number of determined Zionists who vowed to die no more to satisfy the lust for murder so recently evidenced in Europe against them. Incensed by the creation of this new state the heretofore indolent Palestinians were incited to murder by the leaders of their Stone Age religion which requires the murder of those who do not follow the blood-soaked footsteps of Allah. The wrath of perhaps 50,000,000 Arabs was hurled against this small band of Israelis. But the wrath of Allah was defeated soundly. They were beaten by a people already dead, their ashes buried in the camps in Poland and Germany. They were not fearful of death because they had only one hope: Israel. If Israel died so would they.

The violence in the Middle East was begun by a Stone Age people, adhering to the bloodlust of a Stone Age god. These people to day still demand the blood of the innocents and indiscriminately murder old people, children and women. It has been this way for more than 70 years.

But soon this will all end in a fiery ball that may obliterate civilization as we know it. Now a nation led by an apocalyptic madman possesses nuclear weapons. The power to destroy earth is now in the hands of a barbaric people whose only skill is death and murder. Their god demands it.

The world inches closer to its hour of destruction. The question is no longer whether Israel will survive, but will the civilized peoples rise up and smite the forces of darkness. Can the world survive?
-- Jay W. Molyneaux
Wellington, Florida

Ben Stein is amazing. When others are too afraid to stand up for Israel, Ben doesn't mind. Even though it is unpopular and it could land him in a mine field of hate e-mails, he still manages to do the right thing. We should stand up for Israel, Ben is right, again.

Thanks, Ben, for standing up for the Truth and doing the right thing. I hope the rest of us can learn from your example.
-- Adam

I can not accept that 12 Israelis are equivalent to 600 Americans. I trust that you were only being imprecise in your writing, but that is what it says. I would appreciate some clarification.
-- George H. Freeman
Artesia, New Mexico

Mr. Stein, you are right about our President. He has made some mistakes(don't we all?). Our President is first and foremost a Christian. As a Christian, he is called by God to protect Israel. That is one thing he is sure to do right. Israel has always been in the heart of God. So, as Christians it must always be in our hearts. If we as a nation ever turn our backs on Israel-We will be done. You are a wonderful writer, Mr. Stein. Keep it up.
-- Lisa Chunn

I must respond to Ben Stein. Real Americans are praying for Israel in this awful existential fight, because those paying attention know in their hearts what Mr. Stein says is true: "The line of the fight between civilization and barbarism runs right along the Israel-Lebanon non-border. If it's not won there, it won't be long until the front line is right here, and then it will be too late."

If the world learned nothing from World War II, it should have learned that the poor Jewish people are the canaries in the coal mine. Long used as scapegoats for all the world's problems, the way they are treated is actually our future mirroring back at us. But, even if that wasn't true, the right thing to do is to support Israel, a good, decent, law-abiding oasis located in the middle of a maniacal Middle Eastern desert.

God bless Israel, the Jewish people and the good Ben Stein.
-- Deborah Durkee
Marietta, Georgia

Once again, Ben blows me away! He has said so much so briefly. I hope this article gets spread all over the blogosphere.
-- C.D. Hill

BLOGGED DOWN
Re: John Tabin's Tuesday Twosome:

Watching the left wing nuts take over the Democratic Party has not given me the thrill I thought it would. In fact, it saddens me, as I believe we need a two party system for checks and balances. However, as I have written before, we will not see the Democratic party alive and well, in many Southern states for many a year, I am afraid. The National Democratic Party has become a party of screws and nuts, as my elderly father would say.

I am reminded as I watch this unhinged group take over this National Party of a verse from Romans, in the New Testament, comes to mind. The verse speaks to humans being given over to the futility of their minds. Every time one of these "new" Democrats opens their mouth I see the party of the foolish. Republicans may mistakes along their way but folks ought to know that military families quake at even the idea that these unhinged lunatics might ever be in charge of both protecting our country and deciding how to use the military ever.

When the Democrats are in charge men and women are sent to carry water for idiots who sneer at them. We know the Clintons did this and shamed our military at every turn and caused the useless deaths of others. Then there was Jimmy Carter who started a bunch of brave men out to do mission in Iran, only to pull out and shame them. Those men, some of whom still serve, vowed that the American military would never be shamed again like that...until Blackhawk Down happened, again under Mr. Clinton.

We will see what happens. Personally, I think polls are rather useless and fraudulent. I think the American people have more sense than to listen to such them and enough sense to put decent folks in office, most of the time. But if Mr. Lamont and Cynthia McKinney are re-elected, then I think we have more to rejoice about come November and in '08, as the party veers like lemmings down a cliff...
-- Beverly Gunn

That "Blogged Down" artwork is TOO much, I mean, painfully speaking.

Joe, poor Joe. He's got that "I feel your pain" look, or is it maybe that "I have a pain" look, or "I know you think I am a pain" look? The raised fist is good, though, as if he would like to cause a little pain, if he could. Of course, Joe's like a fair number of politicians with that look, former Clinton Chief of Staff Leon Panetta comes to mind as the most practiced. He looked like he was born with that look. I felt sorry for the man to have to see himself that way in the mirror every morning, feeling his own pain. Anyway, by the time anyone reads this, it'll all be over in Connecticut, and Joe will either be painfully independent, or remain a pain to the Daily Kos folks.

And, really, don't you guys have a less flattering photo of Cynthia somewhere in the files to accentuate her eyes a little more? She looks as if she's watching the Hindenburg blowing up at Lakehurst! OK, maybe not. Maybe it's more like, "Did somebody just tell another joke about my 'girlie punch' at the Capitol Police? Come here, buddy, I'll try it on you! C'mon, get over here! I'll show you what a 'girlie punch' really is!"

Ouch! She may not feel your pain, but 'I'll show you who's a Georgia peach!', she sure can be a pain.

And, as you Democrats out there are all painfully aware, no pain, no gain!
-- Mike Showalter
Austin, Texas

CAFFEINE FREE MARX-LITE
Re: Florence King's Sing-Song Conservatism:

Two facts that Dreher left out of his book but mentioned on his Crunchy Con NRO blog are that he drives a 10-year-old Mercedes and is addicted to Ikea's frozen Swedish meatballs. Discovering this about Dreher was akin to learning that the original (and commie-loving) espousers of "The Good Life," Helen and Scott Nearing, had in the basement of their "electrical free" and "totally vegan" a freezer filled with ice cream.
-- Mrs. Jackson

Praise be to God. I feel like I have been well and truly saved. I have been suffering terribly since Miss King gave up her NR column, left Virginia, and moved to (horror of horrors) the area of Seattle, Washington. Florence and I were born about the same time and grew up in the same area, in families that taught similar lessons on living one's life, but we knew not one another. When I discovered her writings in NR some years ago, I obtained and read just about every book that she had written. I discovered a friendly spirit. The withdrawal pains since she stopped writing on a regular basis have been severe. (I am a closet misanthrope myself) It is my sincere hope that the gentle lady has become sufficiently bored that she will return to something like regular communication of her thoughts in the pages of journals that I read.

Thank you to "The Spectator" for this blessed dose of Florence King. Please keep it up, sirs.
-- Ken Shreve

I read Crunchy Cons and had about the same reaction as Florence King. Chapter two, the heart of the book, is a diatribe against capitalism. Dreher admits to not liking economics and knowing little about it, but that doesn't stop him from recycling Marxist fallacies. The rest of the book is pretty harmless and deals mostly with food and learning to live with less, pretty boring actually. Dreher never mentions Communitarianism, but his book seems to be an attempt to popularize the philosophy. Communitarians claim to have discovered a third way between Marxism and capitalism. They make the "good of the community" the absolute around which all activities should be judged. They make half-hearted criticisms of Marx, reserving their real venom for capitalism, but in the end, Communitarianism turns out to be nothing but Marx-lite.
-- Roger D. McKinney
Broken Arrow, Oklahoma

OVER THE MILL
Re: Ralph R. Reiland's Mill Stones:

In Mr. Reiland's article he notes that "...The Economist magazine...editorially takes [the] position... "Why should one set of loving, consenting adults be denied a right that other such adults have and which, if exercised, will do no damage to anyone else?""

Could someone ask those Economists why, if consenting adults should be allowed to do what they want as long as it doesn't harm others, shouldn't the heterosexual subset of consenting adults be included therein? Specifically shouldn't heterosexuals be allowed to establish and live under an institution created exclusively by and for them, namely, marriage?

And that ignores for the moment the larger problem of homosexuals' intrusion into heterosexuals' institution: the "right" to adopt children. How, under any stretch of the imagination, can an adopted child be considered a consenting adult?
-- R. Trotter
Arlington, Virginia

There is a serious problem with Mill's philosophy that Mr. Reiland's article does not address. Terms like "harm to others" and pronouncements claiming that an individual's actions "concern the interests of no person but himself" are just as subjective as any cited as examples in his article. Is Mr. Reiland suggesting, for example, that we pander to each individual's personal vices by allowing the distribution of hard-core pornography without regard for how it may influence the behavior of some individuals for whom it may be the catalyst for destructive behavior? The rationale used to justify its decriminalization has always been a variation of Mill's argument, one that states that it harms no one and that it is a "victimless crime." How can we be sure personal consumption of it will result in no harm to others? Are we to trust the word of any human being who confidently tells us that his leering at vile images will in no way affect us or our children? Can an individual with a predilection towards addictive behavior be counted on to inflict no damage to others, especially when that person may not even be aware of this tendency? No one argues that personal liberty isn't important. But pragmatic philosophies like the one espoused by John Stuart Mill break down because they make no allowance for the seductive allure of self-deception that abides in the heart of every individual. An honest appraisal of human nature should motivate us to temper out willingness to bestow "absolute freedom of opinion and sentiment on all subjects, practical and speculative, scientific, moral or theological" on anyone.
-- Rick Arand
Lee's Summit, Missouri

I hope I am reading Mr. Reiland wrong, but it seems as if he is using Mill to defend "gay" "marriage," essentially saying that it doesn't hurt anyone.

Rubbish. It hurts children. It says: children are so infinitely malleable that there is no need for them to have a mother, or a father, or to know and be raised by their biological mother and father. And just because the institution of Christian marriage has fallen on hard times does not mean we should destroy it altogether.

Yo, libertarians: read Jennifer Roback Morse. Without real families, formed by heterosexual couples devoted to their (mostly) biological children, the state has to become bigger and bigger to take care of all the human detritus that results.

And also: remember that Communism also sought to destroy the family. The real, natural family is the sole bulwark against the overweening state.
-- Lucy Tucker

Mr. Reiland does a good job of laying out the philosophy of J. S. Mill. The article would seem to suggest that Mr. Reiland is in pretty general agreement with Mill.

I have always believed that the arguments and basic tenets of Mill are Libertarianism taken to its logical extreme. The debate over Libertarianism, in theory, is simply the debate of logic and common sense over organizational theory, in my view. I have no doubt whatever that Libertarianism is the correct and right form of human intercourse, in theory.

The problem arises when we move from the realm of theory to the realm of reality. As long as man is a society to himself, living in caves, subsisting on one's own talents, interacting with no neighbors, pure liberty is great. If, on the other hand, we are to organize a society of humans in close contact with one another, co-operating for the benefit of all, then pure liberty MUST be compromised. So the argument (debate?) becomes merely one of where to draw the line.

My idea of the proper line would exclude most, but not quite all, of the current and proposed nanny state provisions in law, and would stop significantly short of the Jorge Boosh "go out and play while I handle everything" school of government. I would also stop considerably short of the line as drawn by the Libertarian Party in our country.

I would submit, however, that this is one example where an intermediate position is NOT the same as being "middle of the road" in one's views. I passionately believe in my threshold for the line between individual liberty and societal dependence. A true "middle of the road" type doesn't have much in the way of passion for anything except perhaps for the idea of going along to get along. (Can't we all just get along?)

All in all, a well articulated summary explanation of the political philosophy of John Stuart Mill, IMHO.
-- Ken Shreve

Let me see if I understand this correctly. According to Ralph Reiland/John Stuart Mill ("Mill Stones," August 8), social disproval (i.e. the sum of individual opinions) is worse than government oppression? And Mr. Reiland ought to have the freedom to marry his goat while smoking crack. But Mr. Tyrrell should have no right to disapprove, or call such behavior degenerate. This is where Mill falls into a perverse form of totalitarian anarchy. So much for freedom to act and to bear the consequences of one's actions. Freedom, in his opinion, means the freedom from consequences, increasingly even freedom from the laws of nature and physics. And it is why I reject Libertarianism as primarily the yowling of a bunch of self-indulgent and cowardly perverts. But then, according to Mill's understanding of freedom, I have no right to say so.
-- George Mellinger
Sioux Falls, South Dakota

HAPPY HOURS
Re: Reader Mail's Belt Ways:

As quoted from Mr. Maskiell of Melbourne, Australia:

"In Victoria, Australia from 1970 compulsory wearing of seat-belts and a lowering of the drink-driving limit of 0.8 percent to 0.5 percent slashed the states road toll by over a third, from well over 1,000 people to a rate that hovers in the 300's."

Considering that at 0.3 many lose consciousness and at 0.5, breathing ceases, I would venture say that dropping the limit from 0.8 to 0.5 would not have much effect on drunk driving rates, since corpses tend to not drive very fast or unsafe. I guess the key in handling drunk driving in Oz is to require inebriation so complete they can't find the car, let alone drive it. Like the Foster ads would say: Comatose...That's Australian for happy hour.
-- Harvard R. Fong

To Mr. Casselberry:
In your rant, you ask: "how much money does the state [sic] of California spend on seatbelt-less [sic] accident victims?" I think a more germane question would be to ask how much money the State of California spends on all the factors involved with illegal aliens (Medicaid, emergency room treatment, law enforcement, etc.). Surely the state (and country) would be better served if the "seatbelt Gestapo" were assigned to border security duties rather than worrying about whether or not some idiot declined to wear a seatbelt. It is after all a free country and idiocy does not a victim make.

To Mr. Maskiell:
You seem to spend a great deal of time trying to point out what is wrong with America. Perhaps you should turn your attention inward -- you might find that Australia, in all its glory, is not Utopia. By the way, while rattling off statistics pertaining to my country, you neglected to mention the increase in the incidence of violent crime and home invasions since your government (in its infinite wisdom) banned private ownership of firearms. Physician, heal thyself!
-- C.D. Lueders
Melbourne, Florida

I do not know whether or not Ms. Kyle intended the pun but, it is axiomatic that left wing nuts turn in the wrong direction! I really do enjoy her words of wisdom -- perhaps you should have her write a column for you.
-- C.D. Lueders
Melbourne, Florida

To Mr. Martin N. Tirrell: Hear Hear. Well said!!!
-- C.D. Lueders
Melbourne, Florida

Thank God for patriots like Beverly Gunn. Bravo Zulu! Your son is in our prayers. As for the cut and run, cower in the corner and kiss the Islamofascists butts "Lamont/ NY Times conservatives" thank God you're a minority among conservatives.
-- Michael Tomlinson
Crownsville, Maryland

STRAPPED IN
Re: Eric Peters's Seat Belt Lashes:

Anyone who has witnessed the results of a no-seat belt accident should be converted immediately to wearing seat belts every time they are in a moving vehicle. It is not at all a pretty sight to see people who have gone through the front window of a car -- even if they survive. No matter what 'the law' says, it is just common sense to take the obvious safety measure -- but I also know that common sense can be a rare commodity
-- Philip Sandstrom

I believe seat belts should be a matter of individual choice. I always wear mine, it's my choice. However, a refusal to buckle up can benefit society at large. If that someone is killed in an auto accident that person's IQ level will be deleted from the future gene pool, thereby benefiting future generations. Unfortunately, all too often the wrong people buckle up and tend to produce politicians and other self professed intellectuals and do-gooders.
-- Wolf Terner
Fair Lawn, New Jersey

I find Mr. Peters' analysis refreshing and more plausible an explanation for the seat belt enforcement phenomena than the current propaganda about concern for public safety. I believe the Driver Responsibility Laws that have become popular are also nothing more than another smokescreen to collect additional revenue. I live in the recessive state of Michigan where government budget issues would logically make tougher enforcement more tempting. They could save everyone a little time (and money) if they just billed annually those who didn't want to wear a seat belt for the privilege of not doing so.

The campaigns have become so obnoxious to me, especially when police stand on city street corners peering into my car, that I find myself having low regard for the integrity of law enforcement's culture. A heavy seatbelt campaign should be a criminal's playtime. By the way, I have never seen seat belt safety zones on the interstate. Is it too difficult to see into cars going by at 70 or 80 mph? Wouldn't that be where you would need one?

I have argued with those who have tremendous faith in this particular law, that seat belt non use is not a cause of death, but massive injuries suffered in an automobile accident are. No accident, no injuries. Is there any coroner who has ever recorded failure to wear a seat belt as a cause of death? Yet, Mr. Peters stated that use of seatbelts have caused injuries, some that have lead to death. In that context, the law is illogical to me. The law currently assumes that I will be involved in an accident, that any injuries I suffer are not suffered by myself personally, that the public will become involved, and that the odds that I will be helped more often than hurt by a seatbelt, warrant excessive enforcement to insure I am properly equipped, even when I drive 3 blocks at 25 mph. I'm not convinced that you stay in control better if you get in an accident, either, especially if it's that rare time it rips the aorta.

Closer to seat belt use in cars than being overweight, is helmet laws for motorcyclists. Some states don't mandate them, and motorcycles don't have seat belts or airbags that I know of. Should motorcycles just be banned? It would appear I can't be made as safe as in a car, yet I can legally drive both on the same road at the same speed. I don't think the masses would go for that, not the manufacturers or the enthusiasts, nor myself. I think our society is seeing an influence of the feminization or maybe bastardization of the idea of personal freedom and liberty coupled with the power of government making good bedfellows. By the way, I wear my seat belt because it is the law, and I don't want the hassle of potentially being lectured by a cop young enough to be my kid.
-- Rebecca Welton
Pinconning, Michigan

MORE MEL
Re: Andrew Cline's Mel, But Not Jesse?:

Unlike the author of "Mel, But Not Jesse?" I seriously doubt that Mel Gibson deserves "thorough and sustained public rebuke by the entire country until he can demonstrate..." Who really cares about what a Hollywood actor says or does, much less "the entire country"? The further absurdity that he demonstrates shows that he didn't mean it as an unbelievable standard. What does he do? Enlist in the Israeli army and fight in Lebanon"? Mr. Cline should save the entire country from his ramblings until he can demonstrate that he is capable of coherent thought.
-- Dr. Howard A. Hickman
Austin, Texas

AMEN
Re: Philip Klein's Let Israel Stay the Course:

A good example of the news media's pressure on Israel to hastily reach a resolution, whether good or bad, recently took place on the Charlie Rose show.

While lecturing Shimon Peres, Rose blurted out: "Well ...will the war be done by Labor Day?" To which, Peres wonderfully replied: "When is Labor Day?"

Putting an artificial deadline -- such as a U.S. holiday which has no relationship whatsoever to the Middle East -- shows the complete lack of thinking, or caring, by the main stream news media.
-- John Bryk

Perfect. Amen.
-- Martin N. Tirrell
Lisbon, New Hampshire

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