Letters for February 22, 2001

The RGJ encourages exploitation

Re “Spin of the Century” (RN&R Editor’s Note, Jan. 25):

Some people think that your paper is too harsh on the Reno Gazette-Journal. But its recent sympathetic portrayal of a local racist, and their picture of him at home kissing his baby, is a reason why no one can be too harsh on this ignorant corporate excuse for journalism.

Its article on Jan. 28 [which discussed the family of an alleged skinhead] fell hook, line and sinker for the “kinder and gentler racist,” one who views himself as a victim, a civil rights dreamer of racial identity and equality. These “new and improved” racists are using more cunning and sophisticated public relations techniques to attract sympathy and recruits.

The danger of overly commercialized papers like the Reno Gazette-Journal is not that they do a bad job of covering the news. More dangerous is that they do a bad job protecting the public from political and corporate exploitation. Even worse, in this case, the Gazette-Journal acted as a mechanism of that exploitation.

Long live the Reno News & Review as the only true public advocate and watchdog in Reno.

Ed Park

Police need competition

Re “It’s Time to Police the Police” (RN&R Guest Comment, Jan. 25):

I agree with Kendall Stagg that a citizen police review board is important to facilitate openness and accountability in this vital government agency. The Washoe County Libertarian Party joins in the call for an independent review body.

We believe that all government monopolies should be open to competition. A monopoly is interested in self-preservation at the expense of consumer satisfaction. It may be that the nature of police work, which is the authorized use of force to apprehend criminals, will always be monopolistic in nature. However, private security firms offer some competition even now.

Police power has been broadened to include “crimes” without a victim. When there is no victim to complain and testify, the police must resort to all sorts of invasive techniques and self-serving justifications for their actions. And the criminalization of consensual behavior, even though that behavior may be considered a vice, results in the creation of black markets.

While we as libertarians support the effort towards civilian review, we urge that it be done in the much broader context of a community dialogue about the proper role of the police power and the solution to the problem of the failed “war on drugs” and other consensual “crimes.”

Brendan Trainor Chair
Washoe County Libertarian Party

Give us a puzzle

Re “Disclosure Reports” (RN&R Editor’s Note, Feb. 1):

Since you mentioned feedback, I thought I’d offer my wish for what I’d like to see in the RN&R.

I usually read each issue cover to cover, and one of the things I like is that the RN&R is everywhere—Laundromats, bars, restaurants. Everywhere I turn, I can pick one up and read something if I need to kill some time. But once I’ve read everything, I’m left disappointed that there’s nothing to read until the next issue—one of the disadvantages of not being daily.

It came to me at the Laundromat last week: The RN&R needs games! Crossword, word search, Jumble, trivia, whatever. Something to keep me looking at it after I’ve read all the meat. So, ditch a couple of the “adult services” ads and use the space for some mental aerobics for your readers. Thanks for listening.

Marc Tiar
via e-mail

Say no to funding risk-takers

Re “Say No to Mandatory Flossing” (RN&R Guest Comment, Feb. 1):

Randy Siever is distressed that “Big Mother” protects him too much. He wants to be free to not wear a helmet while riding his Harley or to skip the seat belt in his car. Fine! Adults ought to be responsible for their lives.

But please, Mr. Siever, if you get hurt, don’t come crying to “Big Mother” to pay your medical bills. If you’re disabled in a crash, don’t tell the taxpayers sad stories about how we owe you a living. And don’t send your widow and orphans to the public treasury to demand money to make up for your losses. Support laws that exempt you and fellow risk-takers from wallowing in the public trough if something goes wrong while you’re having fun.

Freedom is wonderful. Choices have consequences. Be responsible for the possible consequences of your decisions. Go out and take whatever risk you wish. Revel in your freedom. Just don’t ask the rest of us to pick up the bill.

Ted Blackman