Keith Lee Fan
Before Frank Murtaugh writes a column (Sports, February 14th issue), he should do his homework. Keith Lee was a power forward for four years, not a center. Derrick Phillips was the center on that team for three years, and William Bedford played center the fourth year Lee was there. Also, Keith Lee was the greatest Tiger of them all, not Larry Finch. If it had not been for Larry Kenon, no one outside of the city of Memphis would have ever heard of Larry Finch.
Bruce VanWyngarden's column (February 14th issue) on the Tennessee legislature's latest gun law, while amusing, glossed over the real reason behind their actions. They are owned, lock, stock, and steely blue barrel, by the National Rifle Association.
The NRA claims it represents deer hunters, the right to self-defense, and the Second Amendment, but it really represents Bushmaster, Browning, Smith & Wesson, gun-show associations, and the rest of the gun industry. Gun makers and gun sellers have donated at least $39 million to the NRA in recent years, and the board of the NRA is loaded with representatives from the gun industry.
This is why the NRA adamantly opposes all restrictions on gun sales and ownership — even those that surveys show most NRA members support, such as requiring background checks at gun shows and banning sales to people on terrorist watch lists.
Gun manufacturers only profit if they can keep growing the number of gun owners. There are only so many hunters. They need to gin up fear in order to sell arsenals of expensive weapons to the gullible — those who believe a tyrannical government is going take away their guns.
Regarding "gun rights" versus "property rights": On one hand, you had major corporations, such as FedEx and Volks-wagen, and major educational institutions. They wanted to retain the right to ban guns from their property. Few would argue that the state of Tennessee needs these corporations — and more like them. It's bad business to irritate major employers and manufacturers, which can easily move to states where their property rights and corporate policies are honored.
On the other hand, you had the NRA and the 5 percent of Tennesseans who are so terrified of life they can't go anywhere without a gun. Guess who our fine legislators listened to. "Guns 'R Tennessee" should be the state's new motto.
Paterno, the Pope, and the Church
In response to the Paterno family's response to the Freeh Report, Dan Wetzel, in a Yahoo Sports news article, wrote: "But the idea that these four [Paterno and Penn State president Graham Spanier, vice president Gary Schultz, and athletic director Tim Curley] sat around knowing kids were getting raped and had zero concern is also, while possible, not probable. That would require true, unequivocal evil." Incredibly and shockingly, for the last 50 years, and perhaps even longer, there have been Catholic bishops who have been guilty of just such true and unequivocal evil.
I was sickened to learn that Archbishop Bernard Law was appointed archpriest of the Papal Basilica of Saint Mary Major in Rome, in 2004, after he had resigned as archbishop of Boston, because he did not protect children from predatory priests in his diocese. And other bishops have also escaped censure, discipline, and prosecution. In 1981, when Pope Benedict was Cardinal Ratzinger, he became head of the Vatican's Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. He was responsible for investigating claims of sexual abuses against clergy, and his office received thousands of letters that detailed allegations of abuse by clergy. And yet he took no apparent action until ordered to do so by Pope John Paul II in 2001.
He is the target in a lawsuit filed by the Center for Constitutional Rights on behalf of the Survivors' Network of Those Abused by Priests. I know he is old and his health is not good, and I know Catholics abhor what has happened as much as non-Catholics. They are not to blame for what happened. But I hope that all Catholics will be vigilant and take action to make certain justice always is done for the victims of abuse.
Editor's note: In the April 14th, 2005, edition of the Flyer, we reported as part of a story that an FBI agent had testified in open court that Andre Dotson had assisted one of its investigations. Mr. Dotson does not deny that the agent so testified but denies that he assisted the FBI in any way.