From the week of September 6-12, 2001

Color Bind

Voter cycle: Normally I find it difficult to finish reading your long-winded feature articles because you tend to beat the subject to death, but I did read almost all of ("Primary Colors" Edward Lebow, August 30). Not because it was a particularly good story, but because of what this article really says about our society today. Racism in voting is okay. Who on God's green Earth would vote blindly for someone because they share the same race? If these people think by doing this they are helping their plight by getting one of "their" people on the inside, they are woefully misguided.

Most of today's "ethnic politicians" weren't raised in poverty, nor do they live anywhere near there (poverty) while in office. But because they can play the race card, they are almost a gimme in their racial districts.

As Americans we should expect -- heck, I say demand -- quality in our elected officials, regardless of race, gender, denomination or party affiliation. I've been a registered Republican voter since I was 18. Every vote I have ever cast has been after I have informed myself of the issues as well as the candidates' views. Can anyone who votes a "straight" ticket, for whatever reason, say they know what their candidates' views on the issues are?

Do they understand that campaign promises (otherwise known as "telling people what they want to hear") are what candidates do to get elected?

I doubt they do.

Always examine the track record of these would-be public servants. Who are they really working for, their constituents or the people who voted them into office? Better yet, go to one of their round-table discussions. (These are usually around election time. When better to "press the flesh"?) Ask them a question based on the issues that are most important to you. (Hint: If you don't understand the explanation, they probably didn't answer the question.)

I am an American, I cast my vote for Americans, for American office. I make no distinction between African-American, Hispanic-American, or any of the many other "-" Americans. We are all Americans. Let's try working together a little more so we can fix the fixable, and forget about the race war long enough to realize we're all in this experiment called America together.

Robert Serrano, an Arizonan-American native who is also Hispanic, but only on my parents' side

Neigh Slayers

Galloping gourmets: First, I must say that there is some misleading information about what killer buyers send to slaughter ("Hamburger Helper," Maria Luisa Tucker, August 30). I know a couple of them personally, have rescued several horses from them that were not old, crippled or emaciated. In fact, I have gotten registered former show horses with incredible pedigrees. One Arabian mare I rescued had sold for $11,000 as a weanling. She was being sold to slaughter because "she's an Arab." I gave $100 and a brand-new saddle for the horse, then sold her to a 12-year-old girl who had raised a lamb and sold it at the fair to get money to buy her own horse. I made some "profit" . . . but it went to rescuing another horse which I lost money on. I am filing for not-for-profit status, but must say that anyone who has horses, has their own facilities, etc., doesn't make a profit selling rescue horses. They usually need vet care, shoeing and training, then there's the advertising and all the feed. I lost $14,000 last year alone. I won't give up, and have been late on my mortgage to do what I do. My main goal is public awareness, and first people need to know that really nice horses go to slaughter. Anything a killer buyer can get for under $1,000 is potential slaughter. Other more expensive horses also go. People who want to know more about the slaughter process can go to this rescue organization's site, www.jolenehorserescue.com, for a graphic synopsis. I have a friend in Texas, also a horse person, who thought only the old and crippled horses were killed. She called several rendering plants one day at my request and found they each process several hundred horses per day. I know it won't stop, but again, my goal is public awareness, for humane treatment in the process of travel and stalling, and to get private individuals to the sales and get the horses instead of the killers, also to have horse sellers seriously screen their buyers.

M. Mayhew
via Internet

Jolt .45

Stun burn: One can't even begin to imagine the horrible possibilities this "torture device" can inflict in the hands of a, let's say, John Gacy type or just your garden-variety child molester ("Shocking Accusations," James Hibberd, August 16). But please let's not forget rapists. What a "life-saving" tool we have here. By the way, aren't silenced weapons illegal? Get ready for a lot of sad, sad stories. Muggers, rapists, kidnappers, your success ratio will increase a thousandfold! Oh, yes, special notice to self-defense instructors -- get another job! Even Jackie Chan will lie there helplessly like a baby when caught in the crosshairs of the laser sight from 21 feet away. Ah, yes, we have a claim that tracers will be disbursed when discharged so the perpetrator will definitely be identified. Tracers, schmacers -- whatever is computerized or mechanized can be hacked into and disabled.

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