Letters for October 29, 2009

Mutual submission

Re “The baby makers” by Sena Christian and Ted Cox (SN&R Feature, October 22):

I find it interesting that [Theron] Johnson goes on and on about how “personal liberty” should be protected and how “American society no longer treats women with respect,” but he somehow thinks it is great to take away a woman’s voice and her chance at an education. I also find interesting the mentality of “if a woman was simply a better wife, didn’t nag her husband, submitted to man’s domination and didn’t mess with gender roles, then domestic and sexual abuse wouldn’t occur.”

That is backward, ignorant thinking. That thinking places the entire burden on a woman’s shoulders and can contribute to keeping her in an abusive marriage. What is with the obsession with wanting women to accept blame for whatever goes wrong in a marriage? I’m sorry, but that’s not Christian liberation. Christ promised us freedom in Him, not slavery to pigheaded idols who want us walking wombs to worship them for their possession of external reproductive organs.

Another thing that bothers me is thinking of rape as a punishment for leaving a household. Why blame the victim? Do you even know what rape is, or understand its effects? Everyone is responsible for their actions, especially men who decide “Hey, there’s a vagina over there. I want it.” I don’t recall God saying it’s all right for a man to rape a woman, but that a woman who leaves the house deserves to be raped. God gave us free will, the ability to choose between right and wrong.

Guess what, Johnson family? Men are responsible for their own actions; God’s allowance of free will says so.

Another question to consider: If the woman doesn’t leave the house but gets raped by a father, a brother, an uncle, a cousin—in your mode of thinking, is it still her fault? …

If anything, patriarchy has dealt Christianity a catastrophic blow over the years, allowing for male pride and narcissism to take over where Biblical principles once stood. People pay more attention to “wives must submit to their husbands” than “husbands shall love their wives as Christ loved the church.” To further illustrate that latter quote, Christ died on the cross for his church because he loved it so much, and demonstrated service and love toward his church for his entire life.

I do believe in submission in marriage, but from both parties. God’s design lays out the plan for that: Love and self-sacrifice from the husband yields love and self-sacrifice from the wife. Marriage is give-and-take, yes, but it shouldn’t just be about the wife giving and the husband taking. There has to be that mutual love, respect and desire to serve the other. Just remember: Christ modeled all three.

Khaliah Ingram

Quit pickin’ on fixies!

Re “Braking the law” by Nick Miller (SN&R Arts&Culture, October 22):

[John] Cardiel is right; there’s nothing better than seeing kids on a bike instead of in front of a TV. And it’s the rider’s prerogative whether he or she would like to go brakeless. I don’t see how it’s any different than a motorcyclist whizzing between cars. That person chose to be on a motorcycle, knows the risks and knows the equipment.

Personally, as a trained track cyclist and an urban fixed-gear enthusiast, I believe that brakelessness teaches discipline and skills that can only be learned on a track bike. These kids are becoming better cyclists than pros. With that, they are branching out to other cycling genres or looking into track cycling.

In addition, these kids are putting money down for bicycles. Bicycles! They’re not putting it down on drugs or into [racing] cars where they run a bigger risk of being in an accident. We’re talking about bicycles. This is a beautiful thing—we should be rejoicing that kids are becoming active. Not only that, they’re putting money back into the cycling economy. There are more people coming into specialty stores.

Furthermore, with more kids on bikes, the government shouldn’t be focusing on the kids going wild in the streets; they should be catering to this new active lifestyle. Sacramento’s bike lanes are sparse, and riding on the sidewalk is extremely dangerous to more people than being on the street. Rather than blaming the fixed gear for the cycling problem, the police are covering up for their own shortcomings around the marvelous city that is Sacramento.

All in all, fixed-gear cycling never hurt anyone. In fact, it’s bringing this city to life. (Oh, and the law states that there should be a brake on a bike, but does not specify whether the brake is mechanical or human powered. Therefore, what the Sacramento police are doing is indeed, illegal.)

Jereme Mika’ele Sanchez
via e-mail

Bravo for Popsmart

Re “Full of hot air” by Rachel Leibrock (SN&R Popsmart, October 22):

A nice column on the “Balloon Boy” fiasco. Your points are all well made, and I couldn’t agree more. I’m a regular CNN watcher, too, but the network looked pretty silly on this one. The “Wolf Man” stumbled through a lot of interviews, and he was only the second most pathetic and nowhere near as bad as the wacko father.

I like [Rachel Leibrock’s] style, and look forward to future columns with my Thursday morning coffee at Peet’s. Bravo!

James Raia

If the flu doesn’t get us …

Re “Superflu!” by Kel Munger (SN&R Feature, October 15):

Looking back over the last few centuries, we can pat ourselves on the back for overcoming significant public-health threats by means of technology.

For example, William McNeill, in his book Plagues and Peoples, notes that improvements in sanitation effectively countered cholera in cities. He also observed that Napoleon’s introduction of vaccination to his army helped to increase the size of the army.

It strikes me, however, that nowadays a person agreeing to receive a vaccination is taking a risk that the vaccine has not been contaminated—either accidentally or on purpose—with something worse than it was designed to prevent.

We are no doubt going to be assured by the expert technologists that something like this (an accident) could never happen, that efficient safeguards have been put in place and all this la-di-da—exactly as they said before Chernobyl or the Titanic. What the decision really boils down to is an act of faith: the system (our “technological society”) is sound, both in theory and in practice.

The more interesting question would be whether such a vaccine might be contaminated on purpose. On the surface it might seem this could only be an act of malice “and certainly there isn’t anyone that bad”—or at least no one that bad in a position to influence the content of the vaccine.

But there is another possibility: There might be an entity with both the power, and a different imperative or a different set of priorities than what we, on the outside of the inner circles of policy, would expect. Would such an entity (if it exists) create and deploy a vaccination not to protect the population or the country, but rather to manage mortality to protect some other ideal (such as the drive toward a manageable and sustainable future, for instance) more to their own liking?

Right away we’re back to making a leap of faith, one way or another. Those with real power might be concerned that for some reason, either because of global warming, or the consequences of peak oil, or something else, current population levels are not sustainable. They might take it upon themselves to surgically reduce the population in a controlled fashion, to make things come out right in the end. Reminds me of Dr. Strangelove.

Oh, I forgot; the really interesting question is whether man, by means of his own efforts utilizing science and technology, can ultimately come to a good end?

John Reed
West Sacramento

… Big Pharma will

Re “Superflu!” by Kel Munger (SN&R Feature, October 15):

I am a disappointed SN&R reader. One can’t help but think your story entitled “Superflu!” was aimed at thinking that a person’s only option in the “flying pig flu” potential epidemic is that they must vaccinate.

This, dear SN&R readers, is simply not true.

If you don’t have medical insurance, there are alternative medicine options at economical prices. Why is it so hard for everyone to see that Big Pharma is using scare tactics to coerce you into getting the “regular flu shot” and now, the H1N1 flu vaccine? This is history repeating itself because the original human mistake for H1N1 was not brought to justice.

The vaccine recommendation to receive the vaccination for the regular seasonal flu, which is a fallacy, and subsequently, the H1N1 vaccination are dangerous recommendations. Just because you do not suffer the short-term consequences of a flu vaccine does not mean that you will not suffer in the end.

The federal Food and Drug Administration are untrustworthy. Various verifiable negative consumer reports indicate that the FDA is not doing a sufficient job of protecting us, the American citizens.

Kel Munger, I urge you not to fall into the status quo.

Diane Easley
via e-mail

Kel Munger responds: I appreciate the good intent in this letter, but the attitude expressed is at best misinformed, and at worst dangerous. H1N1 occurred as a natural result of the influenza virus’s ability to mutate and the proximity of pigs and birds to humans. Vaccines have got three centuries’ worth of science to support their use; stimulating the immune system by vaccination prevents infection. That said, there are undoubtedly many “alternative” medicines that do no harm and may even alleviate symptoms. Still, the best defense against the flu is not to get it, and that means vaccination, hand washing, and cough and sneeze covering.

Will K.J. learn?

Re “City Hall gives no thought to freethought” by Cosmo Garvin (SN&R Cut&Paste, October 15):

Perhaps Mayor [Kevin] Johnson does not know that many freethinkers are religious! The issue is not whether one believes in God, but does one believe that religion and politics should mix. Church/state separatists include theists, atheists and agnostics.

Hopefully next year he will be better informed!

Richard Kowaleski

Kindness first

Re “Grumpier Miss Manners” by Joey Garcia (SN&R Ask Joey, October 15):

I am pleased to hear that your readers are upset with rudeness. There are so many people who go through life with a mentality of hostility, and they wonder why others tend to neglect them. Taking responsibility for our lives both socially and spiritually is difficult for many of us to do.

To be received in a kind way, we must display kindness. In these words, the truth rises: “The first and best victory is to conquer self” (Plato).

Otis Bailey