Letters for November 8, 2001

Press on!

Re “Homeland Insecurity” by R.V. Scheide (SN&R Cover, October 25):

I was disheartened by the news of R.V. Scheide’s unwarranted abuse at the hands of LAX security officials. Unfortunately, it seems that terrorists have scared many of us into doubting the very core of American excellence. At the core of our excellence are both the belief in freedom and the competence to protect it.

Hopefully, more than digital photos would be needed to breach security at the nation’s highly militarized post-September 11 airports. Wouldn’t it be logical to conclude that any security procedures in plain view of the public are obviously not top secret? The presence of armed guards at LAX isn’t exactly classified information. In fact, one would think that seeing pictures of a few guardsmen on duty might actually raise public morale.

Yet, by succumbing to fear, we do ourselves a disservice. By tying the hands of our journalists, we play into the hands of our enemies. The adversary wins once America becomes so panicked that it strips its citizens of the very rights and confidence that this country prides itself on.

Come on people! America is supposed to be the land of the free not the land of the frightened.

Robert Cabiness
via e-mail

Back off

Re “Homeland Insecurity” by R.V. Scheide (SN&R Cover, October 25):

Excuse my anger and frustration, but I don’t believe it is quite appropriate to take such a civil libertarian and belligerent tone especially in light of the current state of affairs. While I tend to be a tad less brash in my everyday life, I also used to be a member of the press, as a contributing writer to PC World magazine, and love to report a story as harshly as necessary.

However, with the need to sustain a heightened sense of security, it should be in everyone’s best interests to keep their wits and common sense about them and try to tone down their voices. What difference would it have made if he found out which passengers didn’t feel comfortable with his presence? And what about a little concern for those who are working in the airports, spending their 8-10 daily hours, trying to keep every passenger safe? Instead of waltzing through the airport system expecting the worst, why not try to appreciate the best our country is doing for us?

It’s people like R.V. Scheide that give Americans a bad reputation to foreigners. In time, I’m sure our country will relax the restrictions and when the coast is clear, all Americans won’t have to worry about being “harassed.” I do a fair amount of travel around the world and can attest first-hand to the liberties we Americans enjoy. I for one thank my lucky stars that I live in this great country. But there’s a time and place for everything … now is not the time to be expecting brevity.

Alex Jorge
San Francisco

No, take legal action

Re “Homeland Insecurity” by R.V. Scheide (SN&R Cover, October 25):

I just read the shocking story of how Mr. Scheide was abused by the National Guard and the LAPD.

I am as fervent about going after the terrorists as anyone. However, I am equally fervent about not permitting foreign terrorists to push domestic law enforcement into treating our own the way these foreign terrorists would treat people.

As a lawyer and as a user of both the LAX and Sacramento Airports, I urge Mr. Scheide to sue the National Guard and the LAPD for violation of his civil rights. It is his obligation as a patriotic American, who broke no law, to not allow law enforcement to get away with this ultimate manifestation of “domestic violence” against an otherwise law abiding American citizen.

Edward Tabash
Beverly Hills

Get a grip

Re “Homeland Insecurity” by R.V. Scheide (SN&R Cover, October 25):

I had a comment about the recent episode that became a piece in your recent edition. Namely, what was this Scheide guy thinking? Does he have any idea how on edge everybody is now? I understand that with proper credentials, and this may sound corny, but like a press badge or armband and a camera he should be able to photograph non-sensitive areas, but whippin’ out a small digital camera and taking a full frontal picture of armed security personnel shows he’s been drinking a bit too much Starbucks.

And what is this thing with his yoga position? Did he want to show everybody something? A man behind a counter in a half lotus position is definitely unusual, especially in these times.

In short, get the proper credentials, identify yourself, extend the same courtesy to security personnel that you would to an average person before taking their personal image on film, and most of all get a grip. We are at war, Mr. Scheide.

Jason de Luca
via e-mail

A freedom fighter

Re “Homeland Insecurity” by R.V. Scheide (SN&R Cover, October 25):

I was greatly angered by what I read in Mr. R.V. Scheide’s column regarding security at the airport. Such nonsense. Such rubbish. How offensive.

This is not the America that I love, the America that I served as a Naval Flight Surgeon detached with the Marines, the America for which I risked my life in Albania while fighting acts of terrorism by the Egyptian jihad, long before September 11 and America’s recognition that we live in a dangerous world.

I have ties in N.Y. and the WTC touched me personally. As many others, I shed tears and continue to be choked-up with emotion. But what Mr. R.V. Scheide experienced in LAX was un-American.

Stanley C. Giudici, M.D., M.A.R.
via e-mail

Story hits home

Re “Killing the Queen” by Cosmo Garvin (SN&R News, October 25):

I appreciate Cosmo Garvin’s well-written and thoroughly researched article. I am very concerned about rising rents and the gentrification of Midtown. SHRA spending funds earmarked for affordable housing to support “moderate income” units is ridiculous.

My brother, a retail assistant manager, was forced to move in with our parents when his modest one-bedroom apartment at 26th and V streets increased from $465 to $775 per month after some minor “remodeling.” Property managers in this area are taking full advantage of market conditions by exacerbating challenges faced by renters.

A close friend and her husband who live in a four-plex on J Street had to break their lease one month before it expired when their rent spiked from $775 to $925 per month.

My heart goes out to the plight of the Queen’s tenants and other Midtowners who are faced with relocation en masse.

Denise Doss

Dear conservatives, rightists and reactionaries

Re “Left Out” (SN&R editorial, October 18):

The editorial “Left Out” in the October 18 edition is condescending, smug, insulting and, most important, blind. Hey, after all, if you were crossing the street and a bus were bearing down on you, you’d want us to tell you, wouldn’t you? The trouble is you’re too busy being right and righteous that you forget to be accurate. You use that tired old Rush Limbaugh rhetorical technique of stating the opposition’s viewpoint in whatever terms suit you, then you proceed to poke holes in it. You’re making a fool of yourself. You’re going to destroy yourself and all the issues we both hold so dear.

You people just don’t get it. Yes, we know how important it is to show those people they can’t mess with us and all that. We know how much you love to show strength and pride and unity. Really, we agree with you … really. There’s just one thing missing in all your bravado—perspective.

Yes the Bush administration told us about “those folks,” the “evil-doers.” What keeps bothering me, is that if they’re “evil-doers,” what does that make us? Stay with me now. I want you to think really hard, jar your memory and go back 22 years. A Middle Eastern terrorist, a privileged rich boy from a rich family killed thousands of innocent people. Then that terrorist went to hide out in a foreign country—the USA. He was the Shah of Iran. Iran demanded his return, and we refused. They took our embassy and called us the “Great Satan.” So 22 years later, with a few minor plot and character changes, it’s the same story.

Am I saying we shouldn’t be bombing military targets, even bombing old folks homes? No! I’m not saying that! When you’re right, you’re right. We don’t have much choice right now. I’m saying we shouldn’t be so surprised and confused by their hatred and frustration. I’m saying they don’t “hate freedom” (as the president claims); they hate us. And whether you agree with their reasons or not, they do have reasons. And it would behoove us to attempt to understand those reasons so this crap doesn’t happen again and again and again. Not only would it behoove us, it would give us the moral high ground, something we have too little of. For all of our pride, we’ve done a lot not to be proud of.

So let’s drop the righteousness and do what we have to do right now. But let’s try and learn something for once, and from now on let’s practice what we preach. (If it’s OK for us to harbor a terrorist, it has to be OK for everyone else.) And maybe we won’t have to do this again.

David Martin

Riveting and online

Re “Homeland Insecurity” by R.V. Scheide (SN&R Cover, October 25):

I just read the cover story (online) by R. V. Scheide. This is the kind of riveting journalism that my local paper lacks. Kudos to Mr. Scheide, and to you for placing this fine article on your cover.

Keep up the exceptional work. Yours is a site worth bookmarking.

Bill Roberts
via e-mail