June 15, 2000


DO THREATS WORK? Well, maybe that's too strong a word - let's use DEADLINES, OK? I am still trying to get an accurate list of those of you who don't have copies of our Member Biographies, a blue loose-leaf notebook with some 40 or 50 of these profiles. So I'll now list those that I think probably DO NOT have these books: Susan Allen, Nora Aquino, Paul Beckstead, George Cox, John Crowell, Kari Dorris, Ann Elkin, Kevin Komatsu, Peter More, Dan Price, Nevin Senkan, Paul Sorrell, Sloss Viau, Bill Walters, Uri Herscher, David Matson, Bob Younker, Henrietta Liam, Mike Newman, Lenore Mulryan and Ralph Beasom. If I don't hear from you by next Thursday, June 22nd, I will assume you DO want a book. I'll bring some to that meeting, and pass them around (to refresh some memories, perhaps). But seriously, please do respond if listed above and NOT needing a book, OK?


Well, Prez BOB caught me again - but I was rescued from not having fully committed to memory those three damn words, which I believe are Consistency, Creditability and Continuity - since others at my table came to my rescue and I replied correctly, more or less. That hurdle passed, PP MIKE NEWMAN stepped forward with the Pledge, preceding it with a nice intro about what our Flag stands for. LENNY FRIEDMAN then thanked PP JIM DOWNIE for his continuing good music, and they led us through "Smiles" - assisted, it should be noted, by crib sheets already on the tables. Next up was SLOSS VIAU, with an Invocation titled "Be A Friend" by Edgar Guest.

We had no known Visiting Rotarians, but three guests: Gaea Schwabbe, outgoing Rotaract President at UCLA was introduced by RALPH BEASOM. DAN PRICE brought Bill O'Neill, and BILL MICHAEL had his Special Guest, Ken Kilpo. June birthdays were celebrated - GENE PRINDLE, GEORGE DEA (in Hong Kong), STEVE ADLER, RAY ZICKFELD, GREG ELLIOTT, PP STEVE SCHERER and FLOYD DEWHIRST.

In response to several puzzled inquiries from the recipients of the Birthday Presents, someone allowed as how they were stress relievers, which info is included here in the interest of our consistent policy of full disclosure of all pertinent facts, etc.

STEVE ADLER reported on the very successful visit of our four Rotary couples to Buenos Aires for the International Convention. Our PLLUS booth was staffed by all, and particular thanks are due to the ladies, who helped staff the booth, which was open 6 hours each day. As I'm sure you know, those who attended, in addition to Claude and STEVE, were Guin and PP RON LYSTER, Shirley and PETER MORE, and Janice and GEORGE DEA. There were 15,000 Rotarians and guests in attendance, the plenary sessions and entertainment was excellent - and here's the bad news: Incoming RI President Frank Devlin has another SLOGAN, which I hope I won't have to learn - it is, apparently,

"Create Awareness, Take Action!"

GEORGE DEA also reported, pointing out that we will have delivered over 250 videos of the PLLUS program, all from our booth in Buenos Aires. We had a great location, and as you may recall, President Devlin has taken a personal interest in our program - Kudos to the eight of you who attended, plus thanks to ROY BELOSIC for signage, and HENRIETTA LIAM for the Spanish translations. Next year's Convention will be in San Antonio - and our Booth will be there! Check our Web Site, by the way - www.wvrc.net - for photos, etc.


Prez BOB spoke about the most important Rotary activity of recent times, a polio-free world by 2005, which is featured in the current Rotarian magazine.

For those who don't have a better offer, there is an event on June 24th at Riviera CC - call STEVE ADLER for particulars, OK? And do note the July 11th Board Meeting at DiStefanos in Westwood - again, RSVP to STEVE, please.


JIM BECHTEL introduced our speaker, Merrill Gibson, who was there on behalf of the NRA. He began by asking a question - How prevalent is the use of a gun as protection if you are attacked? This is difficult to determine, since many such events are never reported, but guesses range from 2.5 million times annually, to just l00, 000. Based on extensive surveys by Dr. Klech, the leading academic authority on this subject, the higher figure is closer to being accurate. (There are l00 million gun owners in the US, by the way.)

Anyway, based on reported incidents, in 76% of the cases no shots were fired. In only 8% of the cases was anyone struck by a bullet, and almost no one was killed in these incidents. Where did these incidents occur? 37% of the time, at home. Another 36% of the time, near home, with the remaining 27% taking place away from home. Of those surveyed, 57% said they would have been killed without having a gun for protection.

Why do citizens need guns? The police cannot protect all of us, and dialing 911 provides an average response delay of 20 minutes - which is maybe l9.9 minutes too late to really help. The job of the police is to discourage crime - they have no obligation to protect you. As one example of what difference police protection provides, in the 75 days after the most recent severe hurricane, considerably less police protection was available than usual, yet the crime rate did not materially increase. As an alternative to carrying a gun, Mr. Gibson allowed as how the various sprays were not effective deterrents - many of the perpetuators simply walk through such sprays, since they are often mentally unstable anyway.
Three myths to be dispelled: Firearms are not effective - yet 2.5 times as many women report they work well for them when needed. They are particularly useful in combating rape - 97% of the time, the attacker is rebuffed. Myth #2 - Firearms can be taken away from the user. The facts are that only 1% of the reported cases substantiate this. And # 3, They cause high proportions of death among children. He had a passout which showed that in 1999, firearms caused a total of 110 deaths for children aged 0 to 14 years, making them only the 8th highest cause (led of course by automobile deaths at 2600).

There are dangers to children with firearms - they do get into everything. He suggest use of a Safe, costing about $l00, with a quick combo lock. He doesn't think trigger locks are effective. There are serious limitations as to how you can use a gun for protection - the laws are quite specific, so learn them before you take on intruders.

Thanks, Merrill Gibson, for giving us the other side of our deeply held concerns about guns in the hands of citizens.

YOE, Ernie Wolfe