Enter Stage Gabbing

Happy belated anniversary

By Steven Martinovich

(June 19, 2000) My family has been warning me lately that I've been working way too hard...apparently they are right. June is Enter Stage Right's fourth year on the web and I didn't remember until June 17. Lucky it wasn't a wedding anniversary.

The past year has been a tremendous one for ESR, one of the oldest continuing publications on the World Wide Web. Last June, we moved to a weekly schedule and since then we've taken off in terms of both traffic and reputation. In the past year, the number of people visiting ESR has increased well over 400 per cent. More importantly, ESR has been featured regularly in other respected journals, both Internet and in the "meat world," which enhances our credibility. ESR's writers are now interviewed on television and radio stations across the United States and are approached for their expertise. Not bad for a grassroots magazine started a few years ago on a whim.

Of course, it's chicken-egg as to who's responsible for what. I prefer to look at it as a collective push in the same direction. We are all working for the same thing. The road may be long, but we will get to the end of it one day. An article, a letter, even visiting ESR and likeminded activities promotes our common cause of liberty.

Now that we're moving into our fifth year, a number of changes are planned. In the next few weeks, ESR will move to a new service provider, which promises both a speed increase and increased storage space. Rolling out in the next few months, thanks to that increased space, will be our entire archive stretching back to June 1996 and a forum where you can argue the issues of the day to your heart's content.

ESR will also see a number of other technical improvements, including a better search engine -- which will be necessary with the archive -- so that the results you see will mean more when you look at the listings. A number of other features and sections are also being contemplated. You'll find out more about those in the coming months.

Finally, I have been playing with the idea of an increased publishing schedule. While I'm not promising anything -- since it depends on an increased level of quality submissions -- a move to three days a week isn't out of the question.

For those of you who can measure their readership of this magazine in years, I thank you for sticking around and watching it grow. Thank you new readers for finding us and sticking around. Get ready to enjoy more of the same!

It's not just hypocrisy

By Steve Martinovich

(June 5, 2000) I'm tempted to call talk show host Rosie O'Donnell a hypocrite and it wouldn't be a difficult charge to prove.

Besides her friendship with Madonna and a middling acting career, O'Donnell is famous for her outspoken support for increased gun control. O'Donnell participated at the recent "Million" Mom March in Washington, D.C., regularly attacks the National Rifle Association on her talk show, hectored actor Tom Selleck for daring to star in a commercial for the NRA, and asked Bernadette Peters to change a line in a song from Annie Get Your Gun (refused by Peters who cancelled her appearance). She even ended her relationship with Kmart last November because the international retail chain carried rifles in many of its locations.

With that in mind, one would expect O'Donnell to reject any connection with firearms. But like her Hollywood pal Sharon Stone -- who fought for years in favour of gun control and then admitted owning more firearms than your average Militia member -- words and actions don't necessarily meet.

O'Donnell asked for and has received permission for an armed body guard to escort her son to and from school and to watch him while he's on school property. The body guard will only be armed off school grounds. O'Donnell says she's not being a hypocrite but actually living up to what she's been fighting for.

"I don't personally own a gun," O'Donnell says. "But if you are qualified, licensed and registered, I have no problem."

Especially when they are protecting your child I guess.

She may not be a hypocrite, but her thinking certainly betrays what she really believes. O'Donnell believes that the great unwashed masses should be stripped of their firearms, or regulated to the point where owning a firearm is more of a bother than simply being killed by a criminal, while the intellectual elite -- as much as O'Donnell represents that group -- arm themselves to protect their families from any threats.

O'Donnell forgets that's why the millions of Americans -- and Canadians -- have armed themselves. They, like the talk show hostess -- realize that being armed in case something happens has its advantages. Gun control may limit the number of firearms sold to barn jacket wearing suburban types who walk their dogs on Sunday afternoon, but the type of people O'Donnell wants to protect her son from don't care about the 24 000 gun laws already in effect in the United States. The only constraint to their ownership of firearms -- those banned by law and otherwise -- is how much money they can bring to the table.

Gun control advocates are right, there are more guns then ever before. Criminals continue to arm themselves while Bill Clinton's administration militarizes every branch of government. Some employees of the U.S. Postal Service now carry handguns. We all know what those tanks that belong to the ATF and FBI sharpshooters can do.

And in the middle? The honest citizen who wants to own one or more firearms for whatever reason they have: pleasure or protection. It's a right guaranteed by the Constitution of the United States of America. The same document that protects an American's right to free speech.

Even Rosie O'Donnell's.

Thanks for reading,

Steven Martinovich

Meanwhile, back at the ranch...

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