Letters for October 25, 2001

Hansen’s a maverick
Re “How Ira Hansen Got the Boot” (RN&R News, Oct. 4):

I have listened to Ira Hansen on KKOH for years and have found him to be well-informed and fiercely intelligent. More importantly, Hansen is audacious and a true maverick, willing to broach subjects that are unpopular and politically anathema.

It is with great dismay that I read that KKOH had dismissed Hansen, reportedly because of his remarks concerning U.S. policy in Isreal and the threats to pull ads.

In the wake of the Sept. 11 massacre, it is all the more important that free speech be upheld so that Americans can hear A VARIETY of viewpoints. It is often said, after Sept. 11, that the terrorists can kill Americans, but not the American spirit. Central to that spirit is our freedom to voice—as well as hear—unpopular opinions.

Maria Hsia Chang
via e-mail

Hansen’s fair
Re “How Ira Hansen Got the Boot” (RN&R News, Oct. 4):

We’ve all known that for some time that the U.S. government and its officials have operated under the mantra of “thou shalt not criticize Israel.” Those who have the temerity to do so often find themselves labeled anti-Semitic, their comments being dismissed out of hand. Indeed, during the last two congressional elections, it almost seemed as though the people running for election in the United States were seeking office in the Israeli Knesset. The firing of Ira Hansen from KKOH is the latest example of this subtle form of repression. I have listened to Mr. Hansen on numerous occasions and rarely find myself in agreement with his opinions. He does, however, present views that are, on the whole, balanced and fair. Still, he broke the prime commandment and criticized Israel and must now pay the price. I don’t know about the rest of the population of Reno/Sparks, but this action by KKOH scared the hell out of me. I must admit that even writing this letter makes me nervous. For the sake of freedom, though, I felt I had no choice.

Robert Michael Kern
via e-mail

Hogwash, Hamma
Re “Disagreement on Homosexuality” (RN&R Guest Comment, Oct. 4):

The year is 1980: I am 21 years old, heterosexual, a UNR student and a conservative Republican. The year is 2001: I am 42, lesbian, an attorney and a liberal Democrat. My life is different. What is the same? Bill Hamma’s comments still border on the ridiculous. He made my blood boil in 1980, and he still has that ability today. He advocates that queers should be treated “sympathetically,” but that the “condition” is neither “normal” nor “desirable.” It is normal, and having lived both, I find it more desirable than being straight.

Mr. Hamma turns to a text dated 1933 to argue that queers destroy civilization. Again, hogwash. Queers did not just pop up recently. We have always been around. Queers are no more sexually licentious than straights. To assume that I am immoral because I am queer is blatant bigotry. I am in a committed relationship, and my partner and I are raising our son to be accepting of all. We own a home, pay taxes and vote in this community—no differently than all those right-thinking straight folks. We are entitled to the same legal rights, obligations and benefits of married individuals.

Mr. Hamma concludes by noting that he welcomes “intelligent disagreement.” I suggest that in the future, should Mr. Hamma wish intelligent discussion, he construct an intelligent argument.

Katherine J. MacKenzie

Horsecrap, Hamma
Re “Disagreement on Homosexuality” (RN&R Guest Comment, Oct. 4):

I’m not homosexual. That’s my first comment. My second one is: Why in the bloody HELL was Bill Hamma allowed to spit out such drivel? That was the biggest load of horsecrap I’ve read in a while. I guess he doesn’t understand one simple thing: Homosexuals aren’t looking for “special” rights; they’re looking for “equal” rights, as should be provided to them by the U.S. Constitution. So you don’t like homosexuals. Fine with me. But spreading slander and hate about a group you don’t happen to like, well, that’s damned Nazi-esque. Bill Hamma, I hope someday you close your mouth and open your eyes. Not all “homophiles” are sick, twisted, hate machines gunning for you and the “religious right.” Maybe they’re just trying to be American.

Sara Hughey
Carson City