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\( ;-. ‘ A = .40 11. :II:a.’ …KM’ 1 011%1’…r. 7.; . .41r Valerie Fowler VOLUME 91, NO. 18 A JOURNAL OF FREE VOICES SINCE 1954 Editors: Louis Dubose, Michael King Assistant Editor: Mimi Bardagjy Managing Publisher: Charlotte McCann Office Manager: Ayelet Hines Production: Harrison Saunders Poetry Editor: Naomi Shihab Nye Staff Writer: Nate Blakeslee Special Projects: Jere Locke, Nancy Williams Webmasters: Mike Smith, Amanda Toering Interns: Julie Hollar, Carol Huggins Contributing Writers: Barbara Belejack, Robert Bryce, James K. Galbraith, Dagoberto Gilb, Paul Jennings, Steven G. Kellman, Char Miller, Debbie Nathan, John Ross. Staff Photographer: Alan Pogue Contributing Photographers: Jana Birchum, Vic Hinterlang, Patricia Moore, Jack Rehm. Contributing Artists: Jeff Danziger, Beth Epstein, Valerie Fowler, Sam Hurt, Kevin Kreneck, Michael Krone, Ben Sargent, Gail Woods. Editorial Advisory Board: David Anderson, Chandler Davidson, Dave Denison, Bob Eckhardt, Sissy Farenthold, John K. Galbraith, Lawrence Goodwyn, Jim Hightower, Maury Maverick Jr., Kaye Northcott, Susan Reid. In Memoriam: Cliff Olofson, 1931-1995 Texas Democracy Foundation Board: Ronnie Dugger, Liz Faulk, D’Ann Johnson Geoffrey Rips, Gilberto Ocafias. The Texas Observer \(ISSN 0040righted, 1999, is published biweekly except for a four-week interval between issues in January and July \(24 issues per 7th Street, Austin, Texas 78701. Telephone: E-mail: [email protected] World Wide Web DownHome page: . Periodicals Postage Paid at Austin, Texas. Subscriptions: One year $32, two years $59, three years $84. Full-time students $18 per year; add $13/year for foreign subs. Back issues $3 prepaid. Airmail, foreign, group, and bulk rates on request. Microfilm available from University Microfilms Intl., 300 N. Zeeb Road, Ann Arbor, MI 48106. Indexes: The Texas Observer is indexed in Access: The Supplementary Index to Periodicals; Texas Index and, for the years 1954 through 1981, The Texas Observer Index. POSTMASTER: Send address changes to The Texas Observer, 307 West 7th Street, Austin, Texas 78701. the Democrats were tired of Richards’ advisors and that Bullock wasn’t averse to hammering her. It was a great moment in Texas politics: Bob Bullock handing Richards over to pro-gun, East Texas Democrats, while Ron Wilson turned black voters in Houston against her. So we got what we elected: a Governor who in his first session worked to pass the “right-to-carry” measure Richards vetoed two years earlier, and who has since opposed every attempt to curb the spread of handguns. In the 1999 session, on the evening of the Columbine High School mass murder, Bush briefly reconsidered his opposition to a bill requiring instant background checks for gunshow and flea-market handgun sales. But he came to his senses, and instead supported and signed pro-gun legislation that makes it impossible for cities and counties to sue gun manufacturers for the cost of caring for victims of handgun violence. So when a shooting occurs close to Bush’s home, there’s no reason to expect more than hand-wringing and lamentation about “a wave of violence.” Did Al Gore seize the moment and offer up a bold policy initiative? Gore criticized Bush for signing a second right-to-carry bill in 1997, making it legal to carry licensed weapons into churches, prisons, and hospitals. Talking to The New York Times’ Adam Clymer, he took an oblique swipe at Bush, saying: “If the holster fits wear it.” Clymer even described Gore in Los Angeles “resolutely star[ing] out the car window,” while pondering “questions for the gun industry and for those who unquestioningly support their positions.” In other words, the Vice President is slightly more articulate than George Bush. There are 60 million handguns in private hands in the United States, according to the Washington Post. That’s 60 million too many, Post editorial writers argued in late April, when they described a bill Rhode Island Republican John Chafee tried to get through the Senate seven years ago. Chaffee’ s bill would have banned the sale, manufacture, and ownership of handguns. It was a “radical bill,” Chafee said, intended to address a “radical situation.” After the Columbine High School murders, the Post argued it was time to pass such a law. Instead, we get George Bush talking about a “wave of evil in … a house of love and hope” and Al Gore resolutely staring out a car window. Now there’s a couple of profiles in political courage. L.D. 4 THE TEXAS OBSERVER OCTOBER 1, 1999