Letters for November 18, 2004
On second thought
Re “My first thoughts about the election …” by Michael Moore (SN&R Essay, November 11):
Somehow, I don’t quite believe that Michael Moore’s “first thoughts about the election” were of the 1,000-plus soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines who’ve died in combat since September 11. It’s quite likely Mr. Moore was being more than just a little disingenuous with that so-called essay.
Without any proof, I submit that Moore’s first thoughts about the election were something along the lines of “Oh crap! My guy lost,” or “59 million Americans are stupid (as evidenced by the fact that they pay to watch my movies),” or perhaps “I’m going to go have another cheeseburger.”
Provide a roof, not handcuffs
Re “Can’t see the river for the trash” (SN&R Guest comment, November 11):
The main cause of homelessness is the lack of affordable housing, not because people choose to be homeless. There’s great effort to address this problem, but affordable housing is slow to be built, especially when so many community members think that people without homes deserve to be punished.
Precious community resources get diverted toward criminalization (a jury trial for one camping ticket can cost taxpayers over $200,000). The police and rangers have worked hard enough as it is, on a limited budget, eradicating homelessness by punitive measures. They take people to jail routinely for the crime of sleeping outdoors. When homeless people get out of jail, where do they have to go? They’re soon sleeping outside once again.
Instead of condemning people who are suffering enough misfortune as it is, why don’t we try to do something constructive about the problem: Call the county board of supervisors and ask it to include housing for extremely low-income people in the inclusionary-housing ordinance, donate money or time to homeless shelters and services, hire the homeless, rent them an apartment or room, or take a bunch of garbage bags out to the American River Parkway and pick up some trash. They need help more than hatred.
You think you’ve got problems? Try living by the river (because you get chased out from more-populated areas) and then look for the nearest garbage can or restroom. We should rescind the laws against being homeless, so people don’t have to hide out in the parkway, or we should establish places where they are allowed to pitch a tent until housing becomes available.
How can “society” tolerate them? People experiencing homelessness are a part of society, and they show us our society has some issues to work out. Let’s get busy and become a more equitable society, OK?
Changing lives with love
Re “There’s no place like home” by Erin Sierchio (SN&R 15 minutes, November 11):
Bravo to Bridget Alexander, and her co-director, Blithe, for their wonderful work at the Tubman House.
Too often, complex problems are given simplified answers, and the cycle of drug abuse, homelessness, ignorance and hate repeat generation after generation. The love, kindness and philanthropy of these two amazing humans are changing lives.
Don’t brand ’em—execute ’em
Re “Branded” by Chrisanne Beckner (SN&R Cover, November 4):
Rather than asking, “Is it fair that California plans to out rapists and child molesters by posting their names and photos online, along with their addresses?” perhaps we should ask, “Why aren’t all child molesters and rapists given the death penalty?”
Chrisanne Beckner is either incredibly naive or amazingly foolish and gullible. At least, this is the conclusion of one reader. No child molester can be “cured,” any more than a mass murderer or violent sociopath can be “cured,” either by surgery or drugs or therapy. And to compare child molesters and rapists with consenting gay couples (the non-neutral word “out” is used, rather than “expose”) is a patently absurd and plainly insulting analogy.
Child molesters are violent predators who must be permanently locked up or executed in order to protect civilized society. And if a “Chester” can’t get a job upon release, then he, and he alone, is the only one to blame. All humans must take personal responsibility for their actions and must suffer the consequences for their immoral acts—this is called “the law of karma.” No chemical castration can change the universal laws of cause and effect, or prevent evil from bringing destruction upon itself. We cannot feel sorry for a man who has harmed so many innocent children and has no real remorse for his actions (except for the crocodile tears he shows to the parole board, or to silly reporters).
And asking nonsensical, rhetorical questions only promotes the myth that such evil individuals might be somehow “rehabilitated.” The only cure for a pedophile is death, either by old age or lethal injection. Ms. Beckner reminds us of the Orwellian concept of “doublespeak,” wherein war is peace and evil is good (and where, in her world, a molester is merely “misunderstood”). I suppose her next article will explain to us how Adolf Hitler was merely a poor but sympathetic Austrian boy who should be forgiven for murdering 8 million Jews? Or maybe she should write about how Pol Pot should have been allowed to keep his job after the genocide he committed in Cambodia?
Before she writes another article of dubious value, Ms. Beckner should pause to use her intellect and common sense and spare us such moronic pap as was presented in her strange propaganda piece. She might also consider taking a college class called “Ethics in Society” or a philosophy course in logic and writing prior to putting pen to paper in the near future.
Truly, the liberal mind has sunk to new lows when left-wing writers need to write apologies for dangerous ex-convicts like inmate Burrows.
They should be branded
Re “Branded” by Chrisanne Beckner (SN&R Cover, November 4):
Nice title. In reality, maybe these people should be branded in the literal sense. Having their offenses tattooed on their cheek or neck or the backs of their hands would help fill in the gaps left by an inadequate online database.
Megan’s Law is great, but every individual needs to actively go to the sheriff’s department and sift through the information. How many people do this? When you find something, it is illegal to print it, photograph it or otherwise transport the data out of the room. In Placer County, there are cameras on you to make sure you don’t.
While an online database is more available, people still need to actively go and use it. I believe that isn’t good enough.
A regular bulletin to the community might be more appropriate but still doesn’t reach the target audience like tattoos would. Of course, that’s not the kind of policy that will be adopted in a society like ours. We no longer live in the dark ages, when criminals were actually punished. Today, the trend is to coddle them.
Here’s the thing: The psychological damage that is done to a young child whose development is interrupted by molestation can never be completely overcome. This guy served seven years on a conviction, while his victims may serve 70. Further, with multiple victims, a child molester can never suffer as much as the suffering he’s caused; there simply isn’t enough time in his life.
But in our society, it’s the criminal who is coddled. So, forget everything else and consider this: The stats you cited showed a small (3 percent) decrease in recidivism when the data is made available. What’s that mean? Can we conclude that out of 100 possible cases, the lives of three potential victims were salvaged? That’s fantastic! Those three people might live healthy, normal lives, and all we had to do was embarrass a few of our society’s sickest criminals?
I’d call that a deal.
Dumb voters and evil politics
Re “Voting for dummies” by Jill Stewart (SN&R Capitol punishment, October 28):
I really enjoyed this article by Jill Stewart. The propositions and measures are so complicated and worded to confuse the average voter, that it takes a lot of studying and reading to understand them.
I admire my husband, who put in many hours on the Internet studying all of the issues on the ballot this election. It’s so important that we all vote and stand up for what we believe.
It’s time that Americans take control of what’s happening in our world and the United States by waking up and realizing that the government does not belong to the people anymore, but to a menacing, controlling and evil political world that makes our decisions for us.