Letters for March 30, 2006

Not quite a ban

Re “It’s not about the cartoons” (SN&R Guest Comment, March 23):

M.A. Azeez writes that numerous European countries banned Muslim women’s headscarves from public places, while other religious symbols such as Jewish yarmulkes were exempt. I don’t know what happened in other countries, but for France, where this issue originated, Azeez’s statement is not correct.

First of all, nothing was banned from public places. Ostentatious religious symbols were banned from public schools. Yarmulkes were definitely included. It is still permitted to wear a small, unostentatious religious symbol, such as a charm. Students are encouraged to keep these inside their clothes, although the law is vague. Nuns’ habits, mentioned by Azeez, are not an issue, since public-school children don’t wear them.

One important purpose behind the law was to protect Muslim girls who didn’t want to be forced to wear hijab but were being attacked by Muslim extremists if they went bareheaded. Interestingly, Turkey, a Muslim country, recently banned headscarves in its public universities. The European Court of Human Rights upheld the ban on appeal, saying that it was necessary to protect the democratic system and did not violate freedom of religion or conscience.

Charlie Klein

V is for violence

Re “Pop zombies” by Jonathan Kiefer (SN&R Editor’s Note, March 23):

What do you mean “the Wachowski brothers could learn something from Moricz. Like, um, a sense of humor?”

In the opening sequence of V for Vendetta, when the rapists were being sliced up and ridiculed, I was laughing and shouting, “Take that, churchie!”

It was funny to me.

M.A. Ross

He’s sighing over SN&R …

Re “The War Issue” (SN&R, March 16):


Do you guys even attempt to be objective anymore?

Chad Vander Veen
via e-mail

… while he’s counting more casualties

Re “Too many and counting” by Rachel Gregg and Cosmo Garvin (SN&R News, March 16):

The count of injuries in this article is incomplete, since it does not include non-hostile injuries, although non-hostile deaths are included. A service member who suffers a crippling injury in a non-hostile incident is every bit as much a casualty of war as the one who is wounded in action.

Additionally, there is one group of people that the Department of Defense does not talk about: the soldiers who have or will have PTSD [post-traumatic stress disorder]. Does anyone doubt that many of those with PTSD will have lifelong psychological problems?

We should also not forget the families of service members who are killed or maimed or suffer from PTSD—these are also casualties. And all for a war started on the basis of untrue information and then incompetently executed. Now Bush, Cheney and the other chicken hawks are waving the sword at Iran. Is there no shame in this administration?

James G. Updegraff III

Back to the ranch with him!

Re “The War Issue” (SN&R, March 16):

The president has introduced the “Bush Doctrine” to the world: pre-emptive strikes and war whenever the supreme commander gets the urge. Color me anti-war, but I’m not ready for the conservative Christian idea of redemptive Armageddon, and I’m beginning to see under George W. Bush’s armor of deception.

Your cover for the wonderful issue of March 16 says it all. Do we need this gunslinger sitting in the Oval Office as leader of the most powerful nation of the world? Send Cowboy George back to the ranch.

Ron Lowe
Nevada City

Shooting for accuracy

Re “Bang bang, shoot shoot” by Becca Costello (SN&R Nothing Ever Happens, March 16):

To say I was very disappointed by this article would be an understatement. Ms. Costello did not take the time to introduce herself to or interview any executive member of our organization, the Sacramento Trapshooting Club.

Her comments about safety, sportsmanship, attire and management, etc., were without merit. It should be taken into consideration that the day she picked was very cold and blustery. Under such conditions, people are not as friendly as they might normally be.

The comment about the informality—“men strolling about with shotguns and firing across a field bordering Business 80”—was, at best, poorly thought-out. It is not only a requirement that all shotguns be unloaded whenever not on the firing line; it is required that all actions be open as well. As to firing “across a field bordering Business 80,” the direct firing stations are not toward Business 80, but rather into an open space designed for that purpose.

This is an informal sport, and attire may vary from person to person and with weather conditions. The type of glasses worn are designed for this sport. Colors vary depending on light conditions, an individual’s eyesight and, in some cases, just personal preference.

I would like to point out some facts that Ms. Costello did not take the time to find out. The Sacramento Trapshooting Club has occupied this property for 80 years. It has always operated, through an agreement with the city of Sacramento, as a nonprofit public shooting facility. There are many programs offered for everyone, from novices to serious shooters, with safety as well as proper shooting instructions. We have beginning clinics and an ongoing juniors program.

We hold tournaments for these juniors, culminating in June with the California State Trapshooting Championships. Juniors participating as representatives of our club have several team championships and, individually, many additional championships and awards.

We hold several special events throughout the year, the largest of which is the Building Industry Association’s “Home Aid” charity fund-raiser. Last year, it was attended by 335 participants and many guests, netting over $103,000.

It is estimated that well over a million people enjoy trapshooting on a regular basis in the United States. The sport is well over 100 years old. In its history, there have been only two deaths nationally and very few injuries. It would be difficult to find a safer sport.

Jim Elliott
president, Sacramento Trapshooting Club

SN&R responds: Arts Editor Becca Costello called the Sacramento Trapshooting Club three days before her visit and identified herself, explained that she wanted to visit the club for her column and that she would be shooting for the first time under the guidance of a friend. Upon arrival at the club, she again identified herself to the employee in the club store. On neither occasion was she offered any safety instruction, orientation or additional information by staff.

The California gulag

Re “Prison futures” by Sasha Abramsky (SN&R Feature Story, March 9):

From his first book, Hard Time Blues: How Politics Built a Prison Nation, written in 2002, until now, Sasha Abramsky has been tireless in his efforts to reveal the unfairness of the California “three strikes” law and our prison system, the California Gulag Archipelago. He must be heard. Thank you for printing his article.

Carole Urie
Laguna Beach

Sex on Sunday besmirched

Re “Sunshine and lollipops” by Christian Kiefer (SN&R Music, March 9):

I take exception to Christian Kiefer’s numerous misrepresentations in his review of Sex On Sunday (SOS). Kiefer calls SOS “one of the area’s most aggressive marketing machines,” when the only marketing we have ever done is a monthly ad in SN&R. Kiefer’s assertion is ridiculous, dishonest and journalistically irresponsible.

Kiefer tries to dismiss SOS as a “studio band” when SOS plays live as regularly as the busiest bands in town. He criticizes me for working with well-known musicians, such as members of Cake and Tesla, and Stevie Ray Vaughan. The fact that SOS records with well-known musicians or performs live with them does not diminish the music on the Sex on Sunday CD or during performances. Kiefer’s only mention of SOS’s actual music was, “Make no mistake. The CD sounds good.”

Kiefer labels Sex on Sunday as having a “new wave” sound, when it uses piano, Latin beats, Coldplay-esque ballads, five-part harmonies and a symphony orchestra. There is not a single song that is remotely punk or new wave.

It’s telling that Kiefer did not mention a single SOS song or musical element in his entire review, which included only name-calling and attacks on SOS for having famous musicians.

Kiefer purposely slams the area bands getting radio airplay, making good records and signing with major labels. He slammed Endeverafter when they signed with Sony. They are slated to tour with Poison/Def Leppard. SOS is going into the studio with Warner Brothers producer Bill Cuomo.

Kiefer is the same writer that told us there aren’t many good songwriters in all of Sacramento and then chastised Sacramento musicians for not supporting local music or other local bands. He has done more to besmirch, belittle and destroy appreciation for local bands and the local music scene than any other force in Sacramento. Having a journalistically irresponsible local-band member review his competition is a blatant conflict of interest. Having one whose actions are factually and continually dishonest discredits the entire staff of SN&R. It is a shame that Kiefer lacks the self-esteem to appreciate the many great bands and wonderful people that make up the local music community.

Scott West
Sex On Sunday