Letters for July 14, 2005
But he said it wasn’t victimless
Re “Shock treatment” by Tom Walsh (SN&R Editor’s note, June 30):
Those of us who live in South Sacramento know that drug abuse is not a “victimless” crime as SN&R Editor Tom Walsh claims in his editor’s note. Many of us in South Sacramento have had our homes and vehicles broken into and our belongings stolen by drug addicts who steal to support their drug habits. Walsh must be another one of those clueless white liberals who has lived his entire life in upper-class comfort and privilege (perhaps in a gated building or a gated community).
That’s us—not so politically correct news
Re “Hell no, they won’t go” by Jason Probst (SN&R News, June 30):
Thank you for covering this story. Sacramento depends on you for the news of the “not so polically correct,” or whatever the Bee calls it. I also appreciated your stories regarding Diana Greigo Erwin. I will never quite understand why the Bee felt it necessary to trash her and Jim Van Vliet.
Don’t fuss with progressive friends
Re “For Michael Jackson coverage, turn to page … ” (SN&R Letters, June 30):
Regarding Ruth Holbrook’s letter about the article on Christine Craft [“On the air and oppositional” by Sasha Abramsky, SN&R Cover, June 16], I don’t agree with everything Christine Craft has to say either. But who cares if Ms. Craft’s position on the war supported the invasion prior to her current stance, which is against the war in Iraq? What’s the point in going backward, citing out differences and ideologies with our allies, when it behooves us to work together as a community on bigger issues?
We’ve got an ally, Christine Craft, who is willing to put herself on the line “behind the mike” and fight with the progressive-activist community against the war in the bigger picture of things.
To begin with, the article in question wasn’t about the progressive-activist community; it was about Christine Craft. Yes, SN&R would do well to cover the progressive local-activist scene. Folks like Stella Levy, Eric Vega, Ellen Schwartz, Jeannie Keltner, Phyllis Campanello, Dan Bacher, and Leisa Barnes, to name but a few, and Sacramento Peace Action, Peace Arts Exchange, Because People Matter, and Comic Press News are making a difference. Yes, I’d like to see an article on them, too!
But let’s not get caught up in petty stuff over the coverage of Christine’s work. I am very thankful she’s around and we have a way to get our message out there amidst some fairly depressing obstacles, such as other media sources who’ve sold out the American people. Poltical satire graphics of Arnold—“Wurst Wiener,” “Arnold For President of Austria,” Bush “Fraud and Electile Dysfunction”—have been empowering tools for change in getting our message out there with a sense of humor. Yep, blame that “hot sweaty ol’ bag” Christine for supporting us!
When she’s wrong, she admits it (unlike Bush)
Re “For Michael Jackson coverage, turn to page … ” (SN&R Letters, June 30):
Regarding my letter about Christine Craft, I was incorrect in indicating that she supported the Gulf War. She has informed me that she openly opposed the war on her radio program and received death threats as a result. I equated the dissemination of pictures of herself during that period as support of the war. The rest of my letter is as I intended.
Extremes produce opposites
Re “A Wiccan asks why” (SN&R Guest comment, June 30):
Thank you, Jessica Day, for so eloquently stating the obvious.
The anti gay-marriage movement reminds me of the same racist point of view that fought against interracial marriage in the early 20th century. Little did they know that they were shaping the events of the future, propelling the civil-rights movement to the forefront. Let’s hope that the anti gay-marriage movement has the same effect on the 21st century.
Anything that exists in its extreme eventually becomes its opposite. Same-sex marriage is inevitable.
Resist the culture of fear
Re “Round up the hood!” by Cosmo Garvin (SN&R Cover, June 23):
This informative and frightening article shows the overzealous character of much of policing in the United States today, and we in the Sacramento area are not immune from it. The seemingly indiscriminate labeling of young and old as “gang members” smacks not only of racial profiling (all the individuals mentioned in the article have Hispanic surnames), but of the broader move in law enforcement to judge individuals and situations prior to any criminal act.
It is telling that one Yolo County district attorney mentioned that individuals served with the gang injunction could be put on a terrorism database. It has become popular in recent years to designate much criminal (and even political) activity as “terrorism.” Activity as widely disparate as marching in the streets, holding placards and chanting, sitting in trees to prevent logging, and vandalism have all been put on par with the actions of al Qaeda on September 11, 2001. Since that fatal day, many constitutionally protected freedoms have been legally restricted, criminalized, and actively suppressed. So-called “eco-terrorism” is the flavor of the month here in Northern California, where three arson incidents have provoked authorities to declare the activists “eco-terrorists.” U.S. Magistrate Judge Peter Nowinski, at one defendant’s bail hearing, declared that the 21-year-old had “betrayed” his parents and “will betray them again.” So much for the suspension of bias: If a judge can make such a sweeping declaration without hearing a whit of trial evidence, a fair trial seems unlikely.
When we label individuals using a category as broad as “terrorism,” we do a disservice to ourselves and honest political communication. Terrorism needs to be taken seriously, to be sure. The threats to national security cannot be underestimated. But we are talking about our neighbors. Terrorism is a term that cannot be used loosely and must be confined to specific and well-defined actions. Calling kids “gangsters” and “terrorists” simply serves to distract us: Those who pander to the public and whip up a culture of fear are to be resisted with all our might.
Kevin Wehr, Assistant Professor of Sociology
California State University, Sacramento
Figures don’t lie
Re “Phobic porno fantasy” (SN&R Letters, July 7):
While I agree that the original letter [“Visualize hot, sweaty Boy Scouts,” SN&R Letters, June 23] was an obvious attempt to make fun of homosexual men, Mike Coppock’s “rebuttal” didn’t exactly help his case (assuming he is also a homosexual).
He stated that studies show homosexual men are responsible for “only” one-third of child molestations. He seems to be implying that since two-thirds are committed by heterosexuals, this means homosexuals are less likely to be pedophiles.
Well, all I can say is “do the math.” For that to be true, the ratio of homosexuals and heterosexuals in the population would have to be fifty-fifty. Yet homosexual men make up perhaps (at most) five percent of the population. That means five percent of the population is doing 33 percent of the molesting.
Of course, I am not implying that all homosexual men are pedophiles, but figures rarely lie and should not be ignored, regardless of what they show or who they make uncomfortable in these politically correct times. Personally, I agree with the original writer. Thank goodness common sense prevailed in the Boy Scouts’ legal battle.
So, lesbians should lead the Boy Scouts?
Re “Visualize hot, sweaty Boy Scouts” (SN&R Letters, June 23):
Whoa! Only a pedophile would visualize any child as “hot and sweaty” in that suggestive manner. I can not believe Mr. Stewart contorted the facts to fit what he fears.
Yes, I believe the studies did prove that what arouses a person is something that they do not choose. I do not believe the studies specified the testosterone was that of a child—which, by the way, has little testosterone. But moral restraint provides an individual with control over behavior, regardless of the situation.
Am I to gather Mr. Stewart would say we should never have male physical-education teachers for females? Surely, the heterosexual males responded to the female scents as would homosexual females. Only men—err, straight men—could hold these positions when there are boys involved. And of course homosexual women, since they do not respond to testosterone like gay men do.
And, equally, only gay men or straight women could work (or often, volunteer) in these positions if girls were supervised? Wait, I forgot: Studies also show that a large number of women have had at least one homosexual encounter, so now only gay men can be involved where there will be girls.
Given Stewart’s implications, perhaps straight men shouldn’t be allowed to raise their daughters, since they can’t help responding to the scent. Or, is this all just some excuse for him to demean and ridicule people for being who they are?