After reading Ishmael Reed's article "Assisted Homicide in Oakland" (December), I thought I was going to throw up. I am sick and tired of people who think whites are always holding down blacks in this country. For this writer to imply nothing was done to stop the murder of Chauncey Wendell Bailey Jr. because he was black or people were indifferent to his death
is repugnant. I watched a 6(7 Minutes segment about blacks in many major cities who turn their back on the police trying to solve crimes in the country's most dangerous neighborhoods. Citizens who could easily help solve (and prevent) crimes tell police officers (black and white) who go into these areas that they saw nothing and that even if they had, they wouldn't talk to police. Statistics, the most easily manipulated data one can find, are used to explain how the police are supposedly indifferent because homicide rates are going up. How are the police supposed to solve crimes when witnesses say they can't help and wouldn't if they could? The fact that hoodlums know they won't be fingered by the people in the communities they terrorize may have more to do with rising crime rates than fewer police patrols. Then Reed gives examples of how guns help protect members of the same community. How hypocritical. 1 love that playhoy provides a forum in which to discuss social issues, but this is ridiculous. Max Boettger Indian River, Michigan
I can't believe you would publish such stupid articles relating to gun control and blacks. People like Reed and Joe Bageant ("The White to Bear
Arms," December)—who have to keep bringing this stuff up—create racism. But since you raised the issue, here are the facts: Justice Department figures show that between 1985 and 1995, as the number of white men sentenced to more than a year in jail rose by 103 percent, the number of black male convicts grew by 143 percent. According to the FBI, there were 806,316 homicides in the U.S. between 1965 and 2004, and 588,611 of them were committed by blacks. Blacks are the reason four cities in the U.S. are world murder capitals. Just look at the demographics of whites versus blacks in New Orleans, Detroit, Washington, D.C. and Gary, Indiana. You want to give blacks more gun rights?
Tony McMichael Pinckney, Michigan
The idea of whites wanting to disarm African Americans is total nonsense. In most concealed-carry-friendly states, concealed-carry licenses are granted on a "shall issue" basis: Regardless of an applicant's race, unless the government can find a reason not to issue a license, it has no choice but to do so. Louisiana is one of these states. The black-majority city government of New Orleans passed an ordinance that nullified the state concealed-carry law within Orleans Parish. In response, the majority-white Louisiana state government in 1985 passed a preemption law that prevented localities from passing most aspects of firearm regulations, including concealed-carry laws.
Wayne Talley Houston, Texas