Congratulations on being the first nationally circulated magazine to present an objective article on the firearms issue in the United States today (Bang! Bang! You're Dead, March 18). Martin Kane hits the target dead center when he says that compulsory registration of all firearms only aggravates the law-abiding shooter, because persons desiring firearms for criminal purposes certainly will not register theirs. A partial solution is to make the punishment for the commission of a crime involving firearms or the theft of firearms more severe.
ROBERT J. MARONI
Upper Montclair, N.J.
The American public has been fired upon too long by the anti-gun faction with distorted truths, twisted facts and outright lies. It renews one's faith in national magazines to see a factual story presenting the sportsman's views on the proposed gun legislation.
I cast my vote for Martin Kane as SI's Sportsman of the Year.
It would be hard to improve upon this fine article. Your statistics are revealing and point out many of the fallacies on which so many unnecessary, unsuccessful and politically motivated gun laws have been enacted.
The major organization to campaign against such laws, as you pointed out, is the National Rifle Association. Unfortunately, many members of the NRA, and I number myself among them, feel its editorial policies are sometimes a bit too extreme. All too often, however, the NRA is practically forced into taking these precarious stands as a reaction to the uninformed opinions circulated by various anti-gun factions. The "enlightened" journalistic fraternity is a persistent source of "let's stop crime by licensing guns." It currently seems fashionable for these well-intentioned, if misguided, individuals to be against the use of guns in any manner, be it legal or not. The results of New York's Sullivan Law and others like it dispute their logic.
BRUCE R. SHAW
In regard to your article about Lady Bird's bowling in the White House (Deep Down in the Lanes, March 18): we understand that LBJ has started bowling with renewed energy. He's trying to figure out how to convert a Kennedy-McCarthy split.
JOHN V. LYONS
Best Lady Bird stick to planting daisies.
JANET G. BURDICK
Fox Point, Wis.
It was a real human interest story and the action photos are outstanding, not because Mrs. Johnson has good bowling form, but because many of our Woman's International Bowling Congress members see themselves with the same sort of follow-through. Mrs. Johnson has been good for women's bowling.
CHARLES W. WESTLAKE
Hooray for Duke University (The Timid Generation, March 11)! Long may its students have such a marvelous, sane and undisturbed atmosphere in which to pursue their intellectual, social and cultural goals! May they forever be able to retain this peaceful, untouched-by-the-kooks-from-other-universities attitude toward life.
M. K. MILLER
Concerning the Timid Generation and Abbie Dogget's lament that "kids feel they can't really influence anything themselves": for a century or so our "kids" have accepted the fact of life that their position was not one of power. Instead they have had the patience and guts to work for the right to lead and have come to positions of power as mature, wise and strong men. It is a sign of unpardonable conceit on their part if some of today's kids feel cheated because they cannot influence the policies of a nation at the age of 20.
Through my experiences at the university, from my relations with the students there and as a representative in a small way of what is to be, I would like to clarify a misconception. It may be encouraging to many to know that not all college students are radically and emotionally aroused about anything and everything, but the calm at Duke should not be confused with apathy. It is rather the product of a confidence, the same kind that once accompanied an affiliation with a Columbia or a Cornell. Granted the students do not seem to identify with an individual, with a Timothy Leary, an H. Rap Brown or even a Eugene McCarthy, but in a sense Duke the school is the hero, for it is sustaining a very important element of the educational world.
Class of 1972
South River, N.J.
William Johnson could have completed the whole comment that J. B. Duke was making—in favor of business education which included those 14 words Johnson chose to lift out of context for his own distorting use. Or he might have moderated his sardonic description of the "brimstone-bred Methodist" Duke family by mentioning their early and unpopular opposition to slavery and to secession; their courageously open support for liberal, Republican-Populist fusion politics during Reconstruction; their pioneering support for women's suffrage, which won them national attention; or the vital support they gave to a professor at Trinity College who was in danger of losing his job after he publicly castigated the South for its racial discrimination. All these incidents are matters of record, and the last one, in fact, attracted the laudatory attention of Theodore Roosevelt.
But the Duke family was not the only victim of Johnson's essay. The one-sidedness of his depiction of the university and its locale was even more puzzling. Obviously, a great deal of research went into his composition, and it is hard to understand why he would not have preferred to use that advantage to explore the situation in its real depth and breadth. Any time a writer reduces his perspective to a single dimension in order to make it look taller, he is going to have trouble holding it upright in the winds of challenge or disagreement.
Your essay on "Politics vs. Principles" (SCORECARD, March 11) demonstrated your marked insensitivity to the nonwhite segment of our population. In reality it is you and people like you who are playing politics and turning a cold shoulder to principle. The real principle involved in this case is whether South Africa, one of the greatest offenders of human dignity in the world today, should be reinstated at a time when the black people of the world are finally beginning to gain some of the respect and rights that have so long been denied them. Have the editors of SI actually been deceived by the cheap trick practiced by the South Africans of substituting unequal togetherness for equal separation?
In what better way, under the circumstances, could the U.S. show that she stands for human dignity than by boycotting the Olympic Games if South Africa is allowed to participate because of this devious ploy?
You support your stand by pointing out that we did not boycott the Games in Hitler's Berlin in 1936—as if two wrongs make a right. The editor, in calling this a political issue, completely misses the point that a much higher issue is involved—that of morality. Does anyone believe that the lot of the South African blacks will be any better after the participation of South Africa in the Games?
One wonders if the Olympic Games have not completely lost their relevance anyway in today's world of amateur hypocrisy, politics and nationalism. But that is, perhaps, another story. The issue at stake now is whether the Olympic Committee and the U.S. will finally take a moral stand and not bow to the politics of expediency.
SPENCER RAAB, M.D.
Garden City, N.Y.
NEW GARDEN AND PLANT
I was saddened and angered to read in SCORECARD, March 4: "The $43-million Garden is the third poorly conceived and badly constructed indoor sports stadium opened in the last five months."
From the standpoint of access, spaciousness, internal and external beauty, comfort, clubs, lighting, air purity, vision and other criteria the Charles Luckman Associates design excels.
As the contractors, we of Turner-Del Webb strongly resent the "badly constructed" statement. We are proud of our accomplishments in estimating, scheduling, supervising and managing this job and in helping the designer find better ways of carrying out his design.
You mentioned a basketball game that was delayed because of rain leaking through the roof. This statement is also incorrect. A leak did occur at a pipe connection in a previously tested mechanical system, but this type of mishap is normal during the first year of a building's use. As for vision problems at railings, most of these were recognized and corrected prior to opening night.
I would hope that in the future you would check with the contractors before making such damaging and inaccurate statements.
R. M. HETTEMA
New York City
In order to gain admission to the National Hockey League the Minnesota North Stars were obliged to construct a stadium for play. Inasmuch as a National Hockey League team would only occupy the building 40 nights a year, our group found it necessary to design and construct an all-event spectator arena.
The job of building such a structure was accomplished in 10½ months. The cost was about $5.5 million. The sight lines are perfect. The roof is firmly intact, simply because it was built to withstand the extremely rigorous Minnesota winters. We have provided parking places for 15,000 cars, although the maximum number of spots needed to satisfy a full house for hockey is only about 4,000.
Pattee & Associates of Minneapolis were the architects of this fine structure and, in my estimation, it is standing refutation of the quote in your article that "architects and builders still cannot find out what will work and what will not."
GORDON H. RITZ
Minnesota North Stars
WHO'S NO. 3?
I am wondering about a point in William Leggett's story (Some Hot Rookies For a New Season, March 11). On page 30 he mentions two of the National League's three best rookies of last season as New York's Tom Seaver and Cincinnati's Gary Nolan. But Leggett fails to mention the third. Is it a secret?
•No secret. He is Cardinal Pitcher Dick Hughes.—ED.
Has Mr. Bowen (Crossing the Bar, March 4) no pity for those self-respecting old duffers, such as my father, who, having long since crossed the bar, continue to parlay the end arounds of yesteryear into tomorrow's drop shots?
Certainly the unshakable theory of Prowess and Cool ranks right up there with Parkinson's Law and its monstrously wise corollaries.
A devastatingly enjoyable piece of writing.
LIEUT. DAVID C. EKBERG, USA
Thank you so very much, and amen!
SAM A. NIXON, M.D.