Letters for June 22, 2006

High intolerance
Re “Consider higher education” (Right Hook, May 25):

I am a University of Nevada faculty member and have been for 40 years. I did my graduate work at Harvard University, so your reference to the “Summers problem” also had some meaning to me. Although I always read the Reno News & Review, this is the first of your columns that I have read completely. I’m sad about this now, because I thought it was an excellent piece. You raised many important points that are definite shortcomings of academics. I couldn’t agree more that the lack of tolerance (especially among the students of this generation) is disgusting. The examples that you pointed out at this campus were embarrassing at best and should not be ignored by those who work here. Although I had read the material leading up to President Summers resignation from Harvard (mostly in Harvard publications) and listened to the uproar over what he supposedly said about the lack of female professors in science, mathematics and engineering fields, I thought it was pathetic that this was responsible for his resignation.

You called it perfectly—a blatant example of intolerance. Moreover, I do not believe that his statement was what the media suggested that he was guilty of, namely, that females were inferior students in these disciplines. I am a chemist, and I can assure people that the female Harvard graduate students in chemistry (at least when I was there) were superb students! I believe Summers was actually commenting on the lack of female faculty to act as mentors for these young women, and in this he was correct. The only issues that I might raise with your column are minor: (1) There is certainly consulting and interactions with the “real world” done by the faculty members here that I admire, and (2) I really think that Harvard is run like a business, a very lucrative one.

In any event, thank you so much for writing this stimulating and provocative piece, I really enjoyed reading it.

Charles B. Rose, Ph.D.
University of Nevada, Reno

You’re a former Nevadan if …
Since I am soon moving away, I feel I must contribute my own thoughts on “You’re a Nevadan if …” based on personal experience. You’re a Nevadan if you’ve ever treated someone with disrespect because they are not from here. You’re a Nevadan if you have spent a whole night hanging out in the parking lot of a museum or grocery store because your little boring small town has nothing to offer in the line of fun besides sitting in a smoke-filled casino pulling on a slot-machine handle watching people destroy their livers and lungs hoping for a giant jackpot that they can use to buy more beer and cigarettes.

Tom Schreck
Soon to be living in Spokane

A finger to point
Re “Attack on Weller ignites Web hatred” (News, June 15):

Since district judge Charles Weller was shot, critics have been pointing fingers at the family court to explain or even excuse the sniper’s motives.

Can we consider placing 99.9 percent of the blame for the crime here on the sniper? And can we remember that the prime suspect also is accused of knifing his estranged second wife to death?

Yes, unfair decisions sometimes are handed down in court, including in divorce and child-custody cases. These decisions aren’t always in the best interest of the children. There are lots of reasons why these decisions are made by the human beings presiding on the bench. Among the reasons may be “black-robe fever": judicial hubris. Another may be gender bias. And while it’s impolite to say so, some judges develop substance-abuse problems.

Our judges are under tremendous stress from the overwhelming caseload created by grownups behaving badly.

And that brings us to Darren Roy Mack. He’s innocent until proven guilty, but if the charges against him hold up —supported by an Everest of evidence, plus the fact he’s on the lam—they reveal a spoiled guy who’s never reached adulthood.

It’s easy to see why. He never had to fight out in the world for a job; he went into his family’s lucrative business and sucked the silver spoon to the taste of $44,000 in income a month. His whole life, his world has revolved around him; when the orbit veered off-kilter, he couldn’t handle it.

Now his daughter’s mother is dead, a judge has been shot in a cowardly manner, and Mack is facing the death penalty if caught and convicted.

Are these results in the best interests of his 7-year-old daughter and two older children by his first marriage?

Based on press reports, Mack is merely an immature 45-year-old narcissist. He will likely be caught alive, tried and convicted. No doubt he’ll exhaust every appeal process—draining our strained criminal-justice system of even more energy.

No doubt, too, he’ll be hailed as a hero by a cavalcade of infantile whiners who can’t see beyond their own little worlds.

Michael Sion

Re “Labored relations” (Theater, June 15): The photo caption on page 23 incorrectly spelled actor Ted Wynn’s name. This has been corrected on the Website.