FIT TO PRINT NUMBER 406

True Crime Trading Cards
were not the first victim of legislative stupidity

circa February, 1992

I want to thank all the good folks who have sent us letters of support about the True Crime cards. And, to those of you who have taken the time to send letters to your local newspapers, thanks most deeply.

As you can read in the news items surrounding this episode of FtP, the situation has moved beyond the demonization of Eclipse by ignorant and gullible people to the point that we now find ourselves on the brink of some sort of First Amendment case. Let's hope those involved in this witch hunt -- from newspaper and television reporters to state legislators -- take a deep breath and regain their sanity before this thing gets utterly and completely out of hand.

I am being asked by numerous folks if the insanely vituperative misrepresentation of our current events trading cards was something i had "expected."

Well, as the Monty Python Show used to remind us, "Nobody expects the Spanish Inquisition!"

But then, having observed this world for quite a few years now, i have to add that the length and breadth of human folly is virtually beyond measuring.

For instance, a correspondent who wishes to remain nameless in print has just sent me some information so astoundingly silly i feel the need to share it here with you.

In researching IRS rules regarding allowable deductions for medical payments, he claims to have discovered the following gems:

"Navajo healing services are considered deductible by the IRS while Scientology fees are not.

"If a home health aide or nurse prepares a meal for a patient, that is considered a personal care or custodial activity and that portion of salary is not deductible -- but if the aide or nurse helps the patient eat the meal, that is considered a legitimately deductible medical expense.

"Alcoholism treatment is deductible as a medical expense, but the cost of attending a smoking cessation program is not."

With that kind of wacko logic rampant in our government, do you think i am in the least surprised that a couple of rough and ready state legislators want to ban the possession of trading cards that depict criminals?

The only thing i don't know is why the heck they haven't done this sooner!

What about the 1888 (yes, that was EIGHTEEN eighty-eight) Allen/Ginter 50-card set of Pirates of the Spanish Main? Didn't they depict murderers and robbers? Didn't those cards corrupt our kids...er, i mean our great grandparents' kids? You bet they did!

And how 'bout that 24-card set International Gum released in 1938, Don't Let It Happen Over Here (great title!), or that 1938 Gum Incorporated 288-card set, Horrors of War? Didn't those pictures of firing squads, the bombing of nuns and (gasp!) "Horror Camps in Naziland" upset our kids... ah, i mean our grandparents's kids? Of course they did!

One charge i've heard over and over is that kids "emulate" what they see on trading cards, so "killer trading cards" will turn kids into murderers.

Right.

And the kids who collected Pirates of the Spanish Main cards became pirates, and the kids who collected Don't Let It Happen Over Here cards became Nazis, and the kids who collected Flying Nun cards (Donruss, 1968) became nuns (until the Horrors of War collectors bombed them), and the kids who collected Civil War News (Topps, 1962) have seceded from the Union, and all the lucky, lucky kids who collected Goddesses of the Greeks and Romans (Kimball, 1888) have decamped to Elysian fields, where they laugh at mortals such as we.

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