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No Stallone Fan

June 01, 1986

I'm annoyed by the implications and editorializing of William Tuohy's May 18 article concerning an American couple's recent three weeks abroad. Tuohy reviews the travels of two Altadenans, fine people, and reports their trip as if Americans unwilling to travel overseas are cowardly, should have a guilt complex, un-American, not in keeping with his idea of our virility and manhood.

I'm not a Sylvester Stallone fan. I gave up on celluloid heroes when I learned years ago that John Wayne and Van Johnson didn't win World War II. Why attack Stallone for not showing up in France for the Cannes Film Festival? Tuohy's charge of cowardice suggests that Tuohy's hero may have suffered the realities of life.

But let's forget our fallen heroes and get back to the American traveler and guys like me. I resent the implication of cowardice. Frankly, by my not going overseas this year I'm one of the thousands who are forcing entire nations to provide the services and protection they pooh-poohed when our government initially requested their cooperation against terrorism.

The mighty dollar, the lack of, has accomplished what diplomacy has failed to do. We individual American citizens have hit them where it hurts. Losses of 40%-plus in tourist revenues have forced entire governments to come to attention, reacting to the demands of their businessmen demanding they do something to protect tourists.

If there are now fewer sneering Frenchmen, as Tuohy reports, it's not because of those travelers' heroics for showing up in Europe today. It's because we hit them where it hurts.

As for the French honoring bravery, Tuohy isn't paying attention to history. Even after World Wars I and II the French still haven't given the American his due for heroism. (I'm still angry about the French refusal to let us overfly their country to attack Kadafi and his terrorists.)

I traveled Greece extensively last year, just before the TWA hijacking, and am a veteran European tourist. Security checks were a joke. Wilbur and Orville Wright had more protection when flying. Yesterday I returned from 10 days in Canada visiting Expo 86 and the provinces of British Columbia and Alberta. Security checks they have! My camera case, the same six-pocketed one I've carried all over Europe, was not only X-rayed but every pocket emptied, its contents examined individually.

Not only did I pass through the usual X-ray machinery but after giving permission, was bodily searched, scanned with their buzzers and patted down. It's inconvenient, but the life saved may even be Tuohy's.



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