Letters

Bite the Bullet
John Dougherty's article "Sentence: 90 Days of Pain" about an inmate receiving "inadequate" medical care in Maricopa County jails is inaccurate and misleading (December 7). Confidentiality rules preclude discussing a patient's medical condition without his written consent; but, had the reporter contacted me, I would have told him that competent care has been provided to this inmate whenever such care was medically indicated. Also, medicine, as practiced in Maricopa County jail systems, is "no frills" medicine, funded by the taxpayers of this community, that consistently meets or exceeds the basic medical needs of our patients.

Without discussing this inmate's particular case, but in reference to allegations made in the article, here are some points to consider:

1) Bullets and bullet fragments are not routinely removed by the medical profession because of the damage that can be caused in the removal process. 2) Different courses of treatment may be prescribed by different doctors without being contradictory. 3) Ace bandages are generally provided to patients as a comfort aid, to be laundered with their other personal items. 4) Follow-up care for conditions that require a dressing is routinely provided.

Correctional Health Services practices responsible medicine in the jails. We trust that New Times will practice responsible journalism by obtaining both sides of a story to present to its readers.

Susan Svitak, interim director
Correctional Health Services Administration
Phoenix

Editor's note: Given your lack of specificity, claims of "responsible medicine" are difficult to verify in this case. John Dougherty did file a formal request for the inmate's medical records, which the inmate wanted released. Our upstanding sheriff not only has failed to make these records available, he has simply ignored our request--and Arizona law.

Get With Deprogram
I was very disappointed in the article about Rick Ross ("Hush, Hush, Sweet Charlatans," Tony Ortega, November 30). New Times was remiss in not researching Ross in more depth, duplicating the same lack of respect and effort that Ross extended to us.

I protest his flip assessment of us as "a destructive cult." If Ross had ever accepted one of our many invitations to meet with our pastors, our church members, our neighbors in Tonto Village or anyone even remotely connected to the church, the Church of Immortal Consciousness, he would have been able to determine that we are anything but a cult.

What of cult deprogrammers who are newly come to the scene, "self-styled" and "reinvented," and who destroy others by labeling them "destructive"? In my opinion, it was people like Rick Ross who were instrumental in the tragedies at Waco and Ruby Ridge. In both instances, there were so-called "experts" on hand who assessed the situation with little or no firsthand knowledge of the individuals involved, often turning down invitations or pleas for one-on-one meetings, and always assessing from secondhand knowledge, hearsay and gossip.

I'd like to challenge Ross to deprogram me of my love of God, the respect I have for my children and others, my own self-esteem and joy in life. Let's see if he can take away those qualities that I have gained since joining the Church of Immortal Consciousness in 1982. What would he replace them with? The emptiness I felt for 39 years? That same emptiness that most people experience today? He would learn one very important lesson if he were to try: One cannot deprogram an adult who, by choice, has fallen in love with the Holy Spirit. Nor can he continue to be guided by the thought that each and every group of individuals that comes together in a mutual quest for God has failed and is now under the thumb of a demented leader.

Finally, through whatever medium of protest is available to me, I will speak up and will not allow my family or my church to be yet another blot on Rick Ross' conscience--if indeed he has one.

Norma "Fritzy" Czinki
Payson

Dog Ado
I was a speaker at one of the county meetings two years ago that was mentioned in Amy Silverman's article "Who Pooped on the Scoop?" (November 30). The proposed bill was not so simple or benign as "a pet-overpopulation ordinance favored by animal breeders and opposed by animal-rights activists." It was a poorly written piece of bureaucratic crap that would have assigned completely arbitrary pet-ownership standards to everyone in Maricopa County. The proposed ordinance not only was cosmically stupid, it also was insulting to responsible pet owners.

Those of us who spoke against the measure (and I'm unaware of anyone who spoke in favor of it) emphasized that we're the good guys. We're not the ones who are the subjects of those heartbreaking horror stories about neglected animals and filth and disease. We're the ones who make sure our pets are spayed and vaccinated and receive lots of other (expensive) veterinary care. We clean our yards daily. We keep our dogs safe and confined to our own fenced properties. We adopt homeless dogs and cats rather than see them go to the pound. We go ballistic when we hear about animal abuse, and we're not just a bunch of wide-eyed, overly sentimental antivivisectionists. Our ranks include good ol' boys with their good ol' dogs, disabled owners of guide/help dogs, and snowbirds with poodles in their RVs. What we have in common is a distrust of certain animal-control officials, a distrust that is reinforced by the details in Silverman's story.

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