Love-Hate Mail 

Letters from our readers

Letters from our readers.

Swain’s swainI’d like to thank your publication for a revealing look at the life and career of Carol Swain (“A Woman Apart,” June 5). I have known her since she came to Vanderbilt, and the respect I have for her accomplishments as a scholar can’t begin to be conveyed in this letter. Having had the good fortune—and good sense—to attend her conference at the law school this past spring, I discovered that her approach to some of this country’s most vexing social dilemmas is indeed different, to say the least. Carol Swain doesn’t have to preach to the choir as long as she keeps preaching.

While it may not support her efforts, Vanderbilt Law School does not hesitate to publicize her deeds. Her achievements speak volumes about the type of person that she is. To me, that’s all that counts.WILLIAM LIGONb.ligon@yahoo.com (Gallatin)

A better cutThanks so much for doing the story on Randy Piper (“Gettin’ Jacked Big Time,” May 29). Surely the ABC has better things to do than go after collectors and genuinely good guys like Randy. If not, Gov. Bredesen should start there when deciding how to cut state government!SHERRYL MIDGETTsl148@bellsouth.net (Hendersonville)

Historic blackoutI would just like to take the opportunity to say thank you for an outstanding article in the Nashville Scene regarding the case against Randy Piper. It’s about time the media printed the other side of the story (“Gettin’ Jacked Big Time,” May 29). The front page is awesome. In fact, I will frame a copy and hang it on my wall.

As a Jack Daniel’s collector myself, I can totally relate to what you have written about Randy and his obsession for the brand. This is not just a hobby for Tennesseans, though: I myself live in the United Kingdom, and whereas my collection doesn’t nearly match up to Randy’s, it does include bottles and memorabilia from all over the world. Many of us are members of an online community, where we share information about our hobby with fellow collectors all over the world.

These ancient Tennessee laws regarding liquor need to be reviewed. If these laws were upheld, it would mean that there are many otherwise law-abiding Tennesseans breaking the law by having more than five gallons of liquor in their homes, when in fact they are really only guilty of being collectors and loyal fans of the Jack Daniel’s brand. Many of these people are local historians who are supporting historic Tennessee by preserving the old bottles and jugs from the world-famous distillery.

Last October the ABC raided Randy’s stores in Lynchburg Square, where many priceless collectible containers were confiscated. One of these stores, Sully’s, is world famous for being a kind of museum for Jack Daniel’s collectors, where much of Randy’s own collection was on display for others to see. In fact, one of the most valuable bottles taken didn’t even belong to Randy and was placed on display in the store that day for other collectors to view. I even have a photograph of collectors posing to have their picture taken with this very rare piece of Tennessee history. I personally even had a bottle taken in that raid that belonged to me: It was a single-barrel bottle that had been left in the store on my behalf by a good friend to be signed by the retired master distiller, Frank Bobo, just two days earlier. Randy had kindly arranged that bottle signing for his fellow collectors, who flock from around the world to meet up at the annual barbecue each October.

I just feel that these ancient laws need to be reviewed as a matter of urgency before the ABC ruins the heritage that has put Lynchburg, Tenn., on the map and brings millions of visitors and revenue to this historic town. Jack Daniel’s collectors are not criminals or bootleggers; we have members on the collectors’ forum who are police officers, firemen, lawyers, accountants, etc.DARREN KINSONd.kinson@blueyonder.co.uk (Birmingham, U.K.)

Squire peggedJust wanted to let you know what a great story you wrote about Randy Piper and his recent troubles with the ABC (“Gettin’ Jacked Big Time,” May 29). I, like Randy, am a member of the Tennessee Squire Association and a collector of all things Jack Daniel’s. I was at the Squire party that got raided in Nashville and was in the square in Lynchburg the day Randy’s store got raided. It all seemed surreal.

I have been a collector for several years and have never thought of myself as a bootlegger or criminal. The bottles I have acquired from other collectors are not meant for consumption. I wouldn’t dream of drinking any of that Jack. I have Jack Daniel’s in my bar for drinking, and the collectible bottles are in a separate area—unopened! To think that a collector is the same as a bootlegger is just laughable. I consider myself an ambassador to the Jack Daniel’s brand. To me, that is part of what it means to be a Tennessee Squire. Jack Daniel’s pride! Anyway, I just wanted to say thank you for the wonderful article and for shedding some light on the collectors’ side of this whole situation. Keep up the great work.DEAN MAYESpamsgfp@comcast.net (Camas, Wash.)

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