Letters for March 8, 2001
Re “Say No to Mandatory Flossing” (RN&R Guest Comment, Feb. 1):
I have a slightly different take on the freedom to ride a motorcycle without a helmet than Pastor Randy Siever. My mentally retarded brother is “institutionalized” back East. A while back, the patient mix started to change. Now there are a number of former professional types (e.g. lawyers, CPAs and the like) residing there. Like Pastor Siever, they, too, cherished the same freedom of not wearing a seatbelt or using a helmet. Unlike Pastor Siever, they had an accident. Unlike Pastor Siever, their work future is limited to cleaning up at the local fast food restaurant or working in a sheltered workshop.
Before anyone exercises Pastor Siever’s freedoms, I suggest he or she spend some time at a head trauma facility. They will quickly realize that some freedoms can be much more expensive than they ever imagined.
Separate juries are a solution
Re “The Death Penalty’s Other Victims” (RN&R, Feb. 1):
As Dave Lindorff writes, if there is to be a death penalty, there is no easy fix. However, the idea of separate juries [for the guilt and sentencing phases of capital cases] should not be dismissed out of hand.
With only a minor additional administrative burden, two six-person juries could be seated from the beginning of the trial after separate examinations from different jury lists. The guilt and penalty juries would have no contact with each other, and counsel would be prohibited from addressing or referring to the penalty jury between the time of seating and the beginning of the penalty phase.
There really should not be anything magic about a 12-person jury, anyway. I served on a six-person criminal jury in Louisiana many years ago, and it worked just fine. Whatever statutes and precedents prescribing 12 need to be revisited.
Vote Depoali off the island
Re “Bouquet Breakdown” (RN&R, Feb. 8):
Michelle Depoali should be stripped of her feminist membership—not because she wants to get married, but because she has not the first clue as to what it means to be a feminist.
Ms. Depoali claims that she is a feminist, that she criticizes tradition, that she got an “A” in her feminist theory class and that, somehow, all of that precludes her from a desire to be married. Perhaps she should go back and review her class notes. Feminism is about securing a society in which oppression of women is no more. While it is true that marriage is pointed to as an example of that oppression, it isn’t the marriage itself that is being condemned; it is the traditional, socially constructed paradigm of male ownership that comes with it. There is a huge difference between someone who marries because they need a man and one who marries because they want to build a life with a male partner.
My hope for you, Ms. Depoali, is that you do marry. I further hope that your choice of partner is also a feminist, and that together, you can serve as an example of what a real partnership looks like—just as our sister Gloria Steinem is doing. The wholesale dismissal of marriage in the name of feminism is an example of the misleading, antifeminist propaganda that makes it harder for all of us to achieve the goals you claim to hold forth as your own.
Politics gives me gas
Re “Come on Down” (RN&R Guest Comment, Feb. 8):
Chris Good’s comment about downtown is good advice. As a taxpayer, you owe it to yourself [to visit downtown Reno].
The new residents I’ve observed are the street vendors between the vacant storefronts and empty lots peddling their crack cocaine, accented by the menagerie of panhandlers. Yes, gather up the lil’ woman and younguns and take a stroll around downtown. Like Mr. Good states, the foot traffic will leave you spellbound. New shops are trickling in, but twice as many are moving out. As for his example of the Riverside 12, didn’t we do the math on that the week before? As for the infusion of art into downtown, the city imploded the town’s most visible masterpiece.
I get the impression that this city government views the citizens of this community as lab rats possessing the IQ of bean dip, and they may be right, because they still have their jobs. I am sorry if I sound bitter. But trying to digest the bogus spin this government is spewing gives me gas.