Letters for August 13, 2009

Letter of the week
We have what we have

Re “This irrational world” by Bob Schmidt (SN&R Essay, July 23):

The case for agnosticism is well stated by Bob Schmidt. For 40 years, I have considered the loss of my 7-year-old cousin to leukemia to be compelling evidence against an omnipresent, omniscient and benevolent god.

But after reading Schmidt’s column, I asked myself, “What kind of world would we live in if no babies died?” Would we be comforted, convinced that a world in which babies do not die constitutes evidence of a god?

No. We would immediately complain of the deaths of innocent teenagers, fetuses, and of any kind, loyal, courageous, helpful, brave, religious, generous person of any age. We would demand an end to death itself (“If God can save babies, why not me?”). We would demand adequacy in all things, along with no pain and no suffering. We would demand divine intercession whenever we are in danger.

And shouldn’t God protect all of those who act properly, but who may think evil thoughts occasionally? Should just one sin send God into a vituperative rage? How many mistakes are too many? Should God protect us from evil thoughts? Certainly, we would think that those who are pure of heart should be spared the pain that the wicked deserve. What about those who are known for their good works, but who act for selfish reasons? Even after God saved us from all unhappiness, fear that our lot could at any time change for the worse would send fear stabbing through our beings.

Perhaps, if there is a god, she created the actual world in which we live. Perhaps she set out the building blocks (particles and energy) and the operating rules of physics, wound it all up, and let it go, to see what would evolve (so to speak). If she wished, she could have designed a universe without pain, or even without knowing beings (robots), but it would have been a different world. Not better or worse, just different.

We can’t know if a supreme being created what we have or not; that is an empty question. We have what we have.

Evan Jones

Keen eye for writing and art

Re “How now, Horse Cow?” by Jackson Griffith (SN&R Feature, July 30):

This is some damn good writing. What a pleasure to read someone with such a command of his subject and setting. I hope to read follow-ups to this article, because it’ll mean for me that we value these artists and their contributions, and we want a keen eye on their development.

Elle Wrathall

Viva Horse Cow!

Re “How now, Horse Cow?” by Jackson Griffith (SN&R Feature, July 30):

Having lived in Sacramento for 15 years (and finding it the most wildly creative community in which I had ever lived), it was a thrill to read the story of Gallery Horse Cow, with a heavy heart related to their dislocation so many times.

David Mogavero is to be commended for his deep concern for this wonderfully innovative group of Sacramento artists. I agree with Mogavero and suggest that everyone read Richard Florida’s book on creativity and the necessity of attempting to become more creative than we have ever been.

Were I Steve Vanoni, whose creations I love, I would pack up and leave for Europe immediately, knowing that I would be far more recognized and received as a force for the arts in all its forms and disciplines.

Artists are planters of seeds for innovations that can change a society. Viva Vanoni, that great Italian master, and viva [Gene] Oldfield, you crazy mechanical wizard, and blessings on Burnett Miller and his wife, Mimi, who have supported all the artists of Sacramento for many years. May you all collaborate together so that something fantastically superb can arise from the ashes of the fire, symbolic for the Burning Man, to alert the entire community of Sacramento and cities beyond that art is as essential to a civilization as blood is to the heart of every human being. May you thrive and grow. Without you, the world would be intolerable.

Patricia D’Alessandro
Desert Hot Springs

Equal nudity for women!

Re “New nude order” by R.V. Scheide (SN&R Race to the Bottom, July 30):

I was stoked to read R.V. Scheide’s commentary on the need for nude-friendly natural places, as I couldn’t agree more.

But I was even more pleased when he mentioned the special disadvantage of women (and other people with breasts) who don’t want to wear stuffy, uncomfortable upper garments all the time. The double standard is absolutely infuriating.

My sister, my partner and I all agree that we would go topless in public during the summer if we wouldn’t be arrested and harassed for it, sexually or otherwise. I’m sure many other women feel the same way. Much more attention needs to be given to this blatantly misogynist public policy.

And as for the [female to male pre-op] who got ticketed for bearing his torso, I really hope he files a discrimination suit. Sue the pants (and shirts) off of ’em, man!

Renee Fisher

American Taliban against nude beaches

Re “New nude order” by R.V. Scheide (SN&R Race to the Bottom, July 30):

This is just another example of how our own Taliban (U.S.-based churches) want to control everything we do. If we give them the power to overrun our Constitution, this is what they will do, over and over.

Everyone should be very afraid of what “holier than thou” people can do when they are doing it for their god.

Rick Nadeau

More fishy questions

Re “Fishy business” by Alastair Bland (SN&R Frontlines, July 30):

Thanks to Alastair Bland for an excellent exposé concerning terminated UC Davis professor David Ostrach.

Several questions beg to be asked. Is withholding or tampering with evidence (Dr. Ostrach’s research fish) a draconian UC Davis attempt at censorship? Perhaps such research could one day halt the sale and delivery of water to Southern California metropolitan areas. Might the banning of popular pesticides currently utilized by the rice and nut industries be in order? Lastly, there are plans in the works for a “peripheral” canal that could possibly be jeopardized. Just follow the money.

Gerald E. Hill Jr.
Live Oak

Left out by founding zealots

Re “Math and marriage” by Ginny McReynolds (SN&R Essay, July 30):

It’s mind-boggling to me, as well. Even though I’m not “in the club,” I know same-sex couples deserve the same rights as hetero couples.

Unfortunately, this country only cares for the rights of the affluent, who are mostly white males. It continues to be distressing that women, ethnic minorities, and gays don’t have equal rights even in 2009, but I guess that’s because the affluent, white male religious zealots who started this country in 1776 left us out. Not much has changed in 233 years.

Ann Moore

MADD’s mad at drinking and driving

Re “After the crash” by Ryan Neal (SN&R Feature, July 23):

There is a reason why [Mothers Against Drunk Driving], educators and legislators worked so hard to pass the 21 drinking age into law across the nation. Scientific research and data shows that consuming drugs like alcohol under the age of 21 is problematic in health, brain development and decision-making arenas.

In this case, the worst fear for parents, legislators and peace officers was realized with the preventable tragedy of lost life and injuries. These deaths and injuries were preventable. Bad choices were made across the board. We teach our children to cross a street, not to play with fire, attend school and plan for a future.

How much time is spent teaching them that traffic laws are for everyone’s safety? Driving sober and never riding with a driver who has had any amount of alcohol should and must be a high priority.

The end result speaks for itself: Young adults were killed, injured and one now is serving time in prison with a criminal record. His future goals will now forever be altered with a criminal record. The devastation for all, including society, is complete.

The issue is not blame but of failed responsibility. Driving under the influence is a crime, never an accident. A choice was made to drink and a choice was made to drive. Many young adults and their family and friends have been impacted by those choices.

Sadly, this case is not unique. Peace officers respond to the crash scene. Trauma nurses and doctors treat our loved ones when brought in by paramedics. And parents and loved ones get death notification thousands of times a year. And for what? Drinking? The only safe plans are to obey the laws, regardless of your age and never mix alcohol and vehicles. There is no beverage that could possibly be worth the loss of lives, injuries to the human body and prison.

Tina Pasco
executive director
MADD Los Angeles-Ventura County

Would Dems have done worse?

Re “Down the drain” by R.V. Scheide (SN&R Race to the Bottom, July 23):

R.V. Scheide claims that Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger has been playing to the conservative pro-business, anti-tax rabble that has led us down the drain.

Oh, I get it! Schwarzenegger should have instead been playing to the Democrat elite, whose anti-business stance, tax the public to death, and ever-expanding government-handout programs have bankrupted the state of California. What a concept! Problem solved!

Jeremy Carruthers
via e-mail

Riling up the faithful

Re “This irrational world” by Bob Schmidt (SN&R Essay, July 23):

I really liked [Bob Schmidt’s] article and had a thought to go a step further with a title called “So Who’s the Godfather?” Growing up, I’d always heard of God as being the creator, but even he/she had to be created, so the question should be asked: Who created God? That should rile up the faithful.

William Suhar