Letters: Race In America, Piracy, And Guns Host Liane Hansen reads letters from listeners about our series on Race and Politics, Captain Fatty Goodlander's essay about piracy on the high seas, and a story about Air-soft guns: B-B guns that look real and shoot plastic pellets.
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Letters: Race In America, Piracy, And Guns

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Letters: Race In America, Piracy, And Guns

Letters: Race In America, Piracy, And Guns

Letters: Race In America, Piracy, And Guns

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  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/93922115/93922081" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
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Host Liane Hansen reads letters from listeners about our series on Race and Politics, Captain Fatty Goodlander's essay about piracy on the high seas, and a story about Air-soft guns: B-B guns that look real and shoot plastic pellets.

LIANE HANSEN, host:

Now, your letters. Our month-long series about race and politics is still creating quite a stir, and we're getting lots of email from you. Julie Senestori(ph) of Madison, Wisconsin, wrote that the series has really made her think. "Radio, unlike other media, has no pictures. Of course I know the race of the candidates, but that attribute is not at the front of my mind when I hear the candidates or their representatives talking about the issues. This is unlike TV, newspapers, and online news which always feature a picture or a clip of the candidate with the story about them. Getting my news from radio means that I am blind, like the statue of Justice, to the physical attributes of the candidates. Thanks, NPR, for making the campaign about issues and not looks."

Chana Joffe-Walt's story last week about the popularity of airsoft guns - BB guns that shoot plastic pellets and look real - received the biggest response. It shocked listener Gary Kmant(ph) of Leawood, Kansas.

Mr. GARY KMANT (Listener): This is one of the most frightening stories I have heard. As a Marine combat veteran, I can say that the mothers are teaching their kids all the wrong lessons, that it's okay to point a gun at someone else, that it's okay to spray the area without looking to see who's there, that war's a game, that it's okay to shoot people. If they want to teach war, then enlist their kids in the Marines and have them learn the proper way to kill people and point the gun in the right direction. I've lost too many friends in Vietnam to laugh at kids' war games, and I have played Taps in front of the grave.

HANSEN: While most of you were angry about the piece, Benjamin Lang(ph) of Spokane, Washington, had a different reaction. "As an airsofter myself," he wrote, "I was excited to hear your article until I realized you were neglecting a whole category of players. There are many people - most male, between 18 and 40 - who use airsoft guns in realistic war games, something far different from the backyard game of teams portrayed in your article. In fact, our local organization has provided a valuable service by providing our time and equipment to a local National Guard unit which doesn't have the funding to undergo proper training on its own."

And finally, Sharon Pines(ph) of Evanston, Illinois, wrote that she was appalled at Captain Fatty Goodlander's essay about piracy encountered traveling across the seas on his boat. "I was very disappointed that Weekend Edition felt it appropriate for Fatty Goodlander to refer to Islamic Indonesia in his piece on piracy. Since neither Indonesia nor the religion of the majority of its citizens had anything to do with the story, I can only suppose that the phrase was some kind of knee-jerk Islamophobia. Shame on NPR for not catching this gratuitous remark."

If you hear something on our show that makes you wish your radio was captured by pirates, then go to npr.org and click on the link that says "Contact Us." This is NPR News.

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