Letters for April 10, 2003

Correction: Last week’s cover story, “Shelter from the storm,” mistakenly reported that the Jesus Center requires participants in its free-meal program to pray. Center Director Katy Thoma says that is not a requirement; participants may excuse themselves during prayer. The News & Review regrets the error.

Crossing the line
It’s not enough that we have George Bush destroying the Constitution and John Ashcroft eviscerating the Bill of Rights, now we have Robert Speer attacking the Greenline [“Cutting the Greenline,” cover story, March 27]. There’s nothing so disgusting as a liberal turned into a toady for the developers. I suggest you Meghdadi him. Maybe he’ll get a job at the Enterprise-Record, where his views will be more appreciated.

John Omaha

American liberation
I get very confused when our president and his colleagues mention that we are in Iraq to liberate the Iraqi people. We have been trying to “liberate” people for more than 200 years and have not truly liberated anyone. We liberated African Americans with segregation, Native Americans with reservations, Mexican Americans with work in our fields for low pay, Japanese Americans with concentration camps and women with unequal opportunities. Although we have made steps in improving these Americans’ ways of life, they are still not truly liberated today.

I think our government might want to try their liberation efforts here in this country before they set out to try their efforts elsewhere.

Dave Bonillas

Hail the cabbies
I am appalled by the actions of a few citizens last night when a man needed assistance and very few came to his aid.

At about midnight a taxi was called to pick up a man. During the ride the customer passed out from intoxication. The cab driver took him back to his house and tried to wake him up. The man didn’t budge, so the driver radioed to more drivers for assistance.

Three people from the man’s home came outside when they noticed the three taxis outside. They said they knew the man, and that this was a halfway house he was living at. The drivers asked for help, but the most the people would do was get a piece of cardboard to lay the guy on. The cab driver asked the [halfway-house] employee to call an ambulance, but the worker said it wasn’t his responsibility.

Why is it the cab driver’s responsibility and not the halfway house’s? The driver had his dispatcher call the police. A fire truck, two police cars and an ambulance arrived shortly. The halfway house worker warned the paramedics to be careful because the man had hepatitis. He had watched the cab drivers struggling to keep the man from choking on his vomit and had failed to warn them.

Next time an incident like this occurs, I hope there are more caring citizens out there. Picking up a phone is not a large responsibility.

Danielle Fowler

Combat clowns
There is nothing funny about war, but it is also true that laughter is the best medicine, and we are a very sick country to have let this happen. Fanatics and fundamentalists rarely laugh and almost never at themselves. Their humor, if any, is usually of the put-down variety that only increases hostility and tension. What we need now is compassionate laughter to lift our spirits so that we can continue to give love in the face of this violence.

Perhaps we need to “send in the clowns” to help us deal with this foolish war. I recall that the origin of an April Fool was one who defied the King’s proclamation that the New Year be changed from spring to winter. King George’s proclaimed war has created winter in many of our hearts. May we all be courageous, spirited, and defiant April Fools this year.

Renee Renaud

Gored by George
Normally I enjoy and agree with the Rev. Gus Wagster, but I strongly disagree with his claim that things wouldn’t be different if Al Gore had been elected (which, incidentally, he was) [Cheesespread, March 20, 2003]. Get your head out of the sand, Gus; face reality, we blew it. Would the fiasco in Iraq be occurring? No. Would we have an oil-company-friendly VP pushing to open the ANWR and other wilderness areas for drilling? No.

Would we be facing a massive tax cuts that benefit the rich and plunge us into huge deficits? No. Would we be losing our freedom and rights as citizens? No. Would Sept. 11 even have happened? Perhaps not.

Yes, the electoral system in this country sucks. But to have voted for a third-party candidate who had no chance at a time when there was such a clear and obvious difference in the character, intelligence, compassion and experience of the two major-party candidates was a big mistake that we are now paying dearly for.

Rex Stromness

If God’s on our side
With all the praying that is going on these days, wouldn’t you think that God would stop the war? Can anyone give me the name of a war that was stopped by prayer? I posed this question to a Lutheran minister who has a prayer group on the Internet. He said he doesn’t know of any, but “we don’t know how many have been prevented!”

First class rationalizing! And no one can rationalize like a religious person. Now, if God can prevent a war he/she/it should be able to stop one, I think. Maybe we need the five- or seven-headed goddess that a cult in India worships? They say two heads are better than one, so five or seven should do the trick.

Would a “kind and loving” God create only predatory systems—fish, birds, mammals, people? Sounds like something the Roman cmperors came up with—they enjoyed watching animals and people tear each other apart!

Wallace Forsland

Birds of a feather
Ten patriots, ten thousand parrots.

Stephen T. Davis

Support hose
People who oppose the war in Iraq yet feel compelled to express “support” for “our troops” might reflect that without those troops there would be no war.

Simply put, if today’s troops would behave as George II did during his own military service—that is, go AWOL—there would be no one available to prosecute the war.

Press-ganged troops deserve support, like any prisoners. But none of these troops were press-ganged. This is not Vietnam. There is no draft. Anyone now in the American armed forces is there because s/he volunteered.

These volunteers are currently engaged in killing people, or trying to, thereby advancing the agenda of what the French journal Liberation has correctly identified as George II’s “theocracy and pathocracy,” rooted in “a worldview that is intrinsically paranoid, imbued with visions of the most regressive Crusades, drenched in a frightening symbolism that sees any external opposition as evidence of crime and in which every decision and every action bear the seal of a vengeful divinity.”

The metaphysician G. I. Gurdieff, asked during WWI what soldiers might do if they were to become truly “awake,” replied: “They would drop their rifles and go home to their families.”

Those are the troops I support.

Kevin Jeys

The high road
On the front page of the March 7 B section of USA Today, an article relates that Walgreens decided it is inappropriate to sell pre-packaged Easter baskets that contain toy soldiers. Walgreens is to be highly commended for this decision.

Dorothy L. Subke