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A Bush in hand...
The photo accompanying Hal Crowther's "Shame is for sissies" (June 8) asks the nature of Bush's hand-holding posture with Saudi Crown Prince Abdullah.

One only need remember that Abdullah is the most powerful man in the world, followed by the members of China's Central Committee. The first is the source of oil and the second the source of most goods sold in U.S. markets (turn any item at Target or Wal-Mart upside down for proof). As such, these individuals are far more powerful than any American president, and their status determines the posture the latter will adopt in their presence.
Donata Lewandowski Guerra

GRNC responds
Re: "Can we stop domestic violence?" (May 18).

In the 12 months following implementation of North Carolina's 2003 "Homicide Prevention Act," which purports to disarm abusers under protective orders, domestic homicide increased by 26 percent while murder-suicide increased by 40 percent.

Responding to recent domestic homicides, including the UNC-Chapel Hill murder of Shennell McKendall by a husband under a restraining order, Grass Roots North Carolina drafted HB 1311, "Domestic Violence Victims' Empowerment Act," to require sheriffs to issue expedited concealed handgun permits for qualified applicants being protected by restraining orders.

While opponents claim we expect victims to shoot abusers, the truth is that HB 1311 draws on methodologically sound research that the prospect of encountering armed victims deters murder, rape and aggravated assault.

And although domestic violence activists conjecture that guns can easily be taken from and used against victims, Department of Justice research finds that victims who defend themselves with firearms are injured only 40 percent as often as those who don't. Moreover, the fact that domestic homicides involve guns less often than other homicides (common alternatives include knives, blunt objects and strangulation) suggests that perpetrators--94 percent of whom are physically stronger males--don't need guns.

Even as HB 1311 crawled through the House--opposed by sheriffs defending their "power" and by the N.C. Coalition Against Domestic Violence, whose lobbyist reportedly "doesn't like guns"--nine more domestic homicides marred a span of just two weeks. Predictably, two of the murderers ignored restraining orders.

When NCCDV representative Beth Froehling admits the group's efforts are "not working in the bigger sense to reduce domestic violence," she conceals that far from being "leaders" in reducing domestic violence, as the article claims, advocates cling to failed approaches. It's time for NCCDV to choose between banning guns and empowering victims to protect themselves when police are unable.

Interviewed after a recent murder, homicide detective Richard Laursen said it best: "There's only so much a court order will do. If the person wants to disregard it, he's going to."
F. Paul Valone
Grass Roots North Carolina

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