Letters for December 9, 2004

Courting money over safety

Re “Red light, green cash” by Gary Webb (SN&R Cover, November 24):

Excellent, excellent, excellent.

Finally, an informed article about how the courts are out to make money over personal safety in some cases.

Gary Webb’s article mirrors my thoughts. Good job!

Jake Barritt
Walnut Creek

Looking for a loophole …

Re “Red light, green cash” by Gary Webb (SN&R Cover, November 24):

First, the article seemed to equate “rear-end” collisions with the types of accidents that occur when someone goes through a red light. As a graduate of the Nevada Highway Patrol’s Accident Investigation school who investigated a number of traffic accidents, I know that rear-end collisions typically result in crunched fenders while front-end and side-impact collisions, which occur when a red light is skipped, often result in injury or death. Trying to equate the two is like comparing apples to oranges.

Second, not once in the article did it mention that any of the defendants denied that they had illegally gone through a red light. How could they? After all, their offense was recorded on film. Instead, they searched for legal loopholes to get away with their illegal act, blaming everyone except themselves. I find that much more repulsive than our local government trying to be cost effective in its enforcement of the law. Maybe the article should have been titled “People who break the law and then look for excuses as to why they shouldn’t be punished.”

Finally, it appears that the best way to eliminate the financial incentive associated with these types of tickets is for everyone to stop at red lights as they are supposed to.

Jim Kuthy

… but it’s easier if you just stop!

Re “Red light, green cash” by Gary Webb (SN&R Cover, November 24):

Just a suggestion to all you red-light runners: Don’t run red lights. Then you won’t have to spend your “valuable” time “defending” yourself in a court that will (rightfully) find you guilty anyway.

The yellow light is not a signal to blast through the intersection; it is a warning that the light is changing from green to red. Common sense (not a trait of red-light runners) says you should slow down. But noooooooo; you just have to speed up (and since you are probably going 5-10 mph over the speed limit anyway, you are now going 15-20 mph over as you charge through the intersection) so you don’t have to stop for those stupid red lights.

I say raise the fines to $500 or $600 or $1,500, or whatever, since it is obvious these people have no regard for others on the road. And stop trying to get off because an “i” was not dotted or the officer in court did not witness the calibrations of the machine that busted you. You ran the light. Now take your consequences and don’t waste my money fighting it in court.

David Payne

Griffith’s good shot

Re “This is where I belonged” by Jackson Griffith (SN&R Arts&culture, November 24):

I am a local musician—currently incapacitated—who enjoyed Jackson Griffith’s articles on local bands and artists. I will be sorry to see him leave SN&R.

In the past, he’s helped out the bands I’ve been in, and though he may not have fully grasped the immense amount of talent rolling around amid the broken beer bottles in this town crucifying itself night after night for a couple of drink tickets or some cheap kicks, he glimpsed the real rock ’n’ roll folks and tried to help them grow, and for that, he will be missed.

He gave it a good shot, but the underground music and art scene is a mushroom cloud that vaporizes any kid that sacrifices himself to it. The rest get newspapers to read about their missing selves in. Life goes on.

Thanks, Jackson!

Mike Diaz

The low boys

Re “Revenge of the nerds” by Christian Kiefer (SN&R Music, November 24):

You “guys” have really taken the term “boys will be boys” to a frightening new low.

Comments from local teenage boy band Didley Squat: “Let’s rape a whore and leave her dead body on his porch” and “We’re gonna have to fuck that bitch up” are repulsive and disheartening and are nowhere near the realm of boyhood charm. That young boys think this language will help dispel their nerdy image and will make them cool is an alarming social commentary.

And Kiefer’s editorial comment—“Boys will be boys”—illustrates a more telling and disturbing indifference within himself and among the editors who let it stand.

Kris Deutschman
via e-mail

Christian Kiefer responds: It was an awful, shocking joke, and my comment “Boys will be boys” was intended ironically. Sure, they meant it as an awful joke—teenagers do that. Is it appropriate? Of course not. If my remark sounded complicit with the band’s comment, it would indicate an unconscionable sense of moral apathy on my part, and I sincerely apologize to my readers if my meaning was not clear.

Who’s using whom?

Re “No Moore” (SN&R Letters, November 24):

I, like Michael Moore, have a cynical view of the president’s goals and methods. I have a couple of comments in regard to Pat Mracek’s letter:

First, I don’t think anyone has the right to cast aspersions on the service of another.

Second, if Michael Moore used this woman’s son for an example without her permission, it was tasteless.

Third, I can appreciate the service given by this young man. I’m not sure I would have had the guts to go where he went in service of the country. Needless to say, I (we) owe a debt of gratitude to Sgt. Mracek and all those who serve.

Finally, the first paragraph of Ms. Mracek’s letter states, “How dare you use these soldiers for your own political gain, Michael Moore?” I am apt to believe that “political gain” is exactly what the president is seeking from the lives of our young men. I personally feel that Mr. Moore is a bit over-the-top in his movies, but I don’t know how else he can make his point.

Tony Jennings

Don’t you read the articles?

Re “Praying for recovery” by Wesley F. Sander (SN&R Cover, November 18):

It cracks me up that the minute liberals realize that religion cost them the election, they immediately jump on the religion bandwagon—e.g., your recent cover showing three people praying. Don’t you libs stand for anything?

Bob Toben

Keep it running

Re “In God we sorta trust” by Tom Walsh (SN&R Editor’s note, November 18):

As a member of the local Americans United for Separation of Church and State, Sacramento Chapter (www.au-sac.org), I would like to thank SN&R Editor Tom Walsh for strongly supporting America’s flagging First Amendment.

The piece’s clarity, focus and unwavering support of separation of religion and government refreshed me after my morning run. I felt like I could run another four miles!

Our founding fathers enshrined fairness, equality and worldview pluralism—the progressive values of our great American experiment—into our First Amendment’s guarantee of liberty of conscience. Shame on those who would corrupt that ideal for the love of money, in order to further their own petty political and religious ambitions.

Kevin Schultz
Citrus Heights

Uniformity not necessary

Re “Students have no opinion” (SN&R Letters, November 11):

Selso Vargas claimed in his letter that Kaelan Smith and other university students have no legitimate opinion on military matters because they have no experience in war.

First off, I’d like to suggest to Mr. Vargas (a vet, in his own words) and those who share his opinions, that the country they fought for is one where anyone can express an opinion on any subject, regardless of age, profession or background.

Second, whether anyone likes it or not, the state of current affairs has sparked interest and strong opinions in people of all age groups, regardless of whether they have “experience” in military matters or not.

Third, this is not a country where one has to have military experience to have any sort of opinion or say in matters. Many of the civilian leaders who run the government have never served a day in uniform, and I fear the day when the civilian will is ignored because they don’t have the “experience” to speak on military matters.

Finally, the suggestion that Kaelan Smith needs to join the military or the Peace Corps and be conditioned to accept the military viewpoint before he speaks on anything military-related is ridiculous. It is the diversity of opinion from all sides that makes this country great.

Charles Smith (no relation to Kaelan)
via e-mail