Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Arizona's Image

The Arizona Republic published an interesting piece about Arizona's recent image problem due to the widely-publicized incidents of open carry at the presidential appearance.

Just as local and state tourism officials tried to shed Phoenix's unbecoming title as the "kidnapping capital of America," another national moniker has emerged: gun-crazy.

A man carrying a pistol and semiautomatic rifle outside the Phoenix hall where President Barack Obama spoke this month ignited a media firestorm, reinforcing the stereotype of the Grand Canyon State as a gun-loving vestige of the Wild West.

The firearms display, later revealed to be a publicity stunt, was legal under an Arizona law that allows most citizens to openly carry guns in public without a permit.

Before the gun incident, tales of Mexican drug cartels abducting rival smugglers and immigrants and holding them for ransom in Valley homes had already painted Phoenix as a city under siege.

The perception of Arizona is extremely important. The tourism and convention industry pumped $18.5 billion into the Arizona economy last year, generating $2.6 billion in local, state and federal taxes and supporting 170,000 jobs.

Many people denounced the open carry incident as foolish, even some pro-gun folks said it was counter-productive to their cause. The New Yourk Times said this on August 20.

"It is hard to know what is more shocking: the sight of a dozen Americans showing up to flaunt guns outside the venue for President Obama's speech in Phoenix on Monday, or the fact that the swaggering display was completely legal."

But by far the most damage was done by Arthur Frommer.

Founder of the Frommer's series of travel guidebooks, Frommer wrote that he would no longer visit Arizona, fearing for his personal safety after reading accounts of protesters carrying loaded weapons on the streets of Phoenix.

Frommer, who sold his company decades ago, was unavailable for comment. But he told NPR last weekend he was disturbed police officers stood around "like scared rabbits" while armed protesters tried to "threaten" and "intimidate" Obama supporters.

"Open-carry laws have to take second place to public order and to life," said Frommer, a New York Democrat and Obama campaign contributor. When NPR host Guy Raz suggested Frommer was making Arizona sound like war-torn Mogadishu, Frommer responded: "Well, it's getting that way. . . . The number of guns that are now being carried by citizens in Arizona is becoming frightening."

What's your opinion? Do you think the New York Times and Arthur Frommer speak for most Americans? Even if the rhetoric is a bit strong, Mogadishu and all that, is their point well taken? Do you think some of that convention business will move up to Las Vegas? Would it be much different up there?

Please leave a comment.


  1. Maybe someone should inform Frommer that open carry is leagal in 43 states.

    He might want to update his travel guide.

  2. "But by far the most damage was done by Arthur Frommer."

    I think you overestimate the effect of this rambling from an old man. No one buys printed travel guides anymore nor does anyone really care what that old fool thinks.

    Frommer should look at the laws in his home state. Where he lives it is perfectly legal to do the exact same thing.

  3. Frommer is a raving nutbag. If he's uncomfortable around law-abiding gun owners he can hang out in DC, MD, NJ or IL, where he won't have to worry about such things and nothing bad will happen to him.....

  4. "But he told NPR last weekend he was disturbed police officers stood around "like scared rabbits" while armed protesters tried to "threaten" and "intimidate" Obama supporters."

    Complete hogwash.

    If anyone was threatened or intimidated, it was only in their mind. Not a single gun was unholstered or unshouldered.

    "Frommer, a New York Democrat and Obama campaign contributor."

    And that tells me all I need to know about him. Just another sheltered, hoplophobe.

  5. When Florida passed the "stand your ground" law the Brady campaign did everything they could to drive people away. They put up billboards and even hired people to hand out fliers in airports.

    Didn't really hear about that hurting Florida much, and it was a much bigger effort than Frommer.

    Although admittedly Frommer's statement was attached to an incident that caused much soiling of underwear among the gun fearing elite, and it only takes one NYC weenie who moves his/her big convention elsewhere to have an impact.

    Bottom line, though ... when Baseball Spring Training starts every hotel will be full again.

  6. Recommended reading.

    See if you can recognize yourself in there anywhere

  7. Bob, Thanks for that link. I left him a comment.