Pleas and Protests

Letters from the week of February 27, 2003

As far as the actual number of people there, the police have underestimated the number deliberately. There were at least 3,500 to 5,000 there. There were about 25 Bush supporters there, standing near the anarchists. Did it occur to bright boy that the two or so retirees that he spoke with were quite possibly Republican plants? It has been know to happen, you know.

Implied in this "writer's" column was a generational and gender bias that was stupidly against anyone his parents' age, or who reminded him of his father. He failed to include anybody else's presence. Guess all the women there didn't count because he didn't deem them interesting.

I suggest that if New Times is going to cover the anti-war movement, it does so in a responsible way. What is happening is of global importance. The people actively working for peace deserve better coverage than this shallow, naive and insulting piece by Barrs. Next time, have your trust-fund baby Barrs write about how hard it is for a jerk to get laid. That is about his level of insight and maturity.

Pat Beck

Err apparent: Rick Barrs' column was based on a false and fairly imbecilic premise. Barrs correctly observed that some of the protesters on February 15 belonged to demographics (e.g., middle-aged, male, professional) that are normally conservative and pro-establishment. Barrs errs, however, when he labels these individuals as "normal Americans" and errs profoundly when he asserts that these demonstrators were in attendance because "about a year ago, anti-war groups changed their strategy and started trying to attract ordinary Americans to their cause."

Normal Americans are Caucasian and Hispanic and black and Asian and indigenous, sometimes all at the same time. Rae Dawn Chong is a normal American. Normal Americans are male and female, straight and gay, urban, suburban and rural. Most of us are working-class. We Americans are a people of diverse opinions and beliefs, and this does not make us other than "normal." When Barrs employs the term "normal Americans" to refer solely to white, middle-aged, male conservative businessmen and the like, he implies that the vast majority of us are not normal Americans. In short, Barrs seems to have forgotten what normal Americans are like. Perhaps he needs to get out more often.

Many political, social and ad hoc groups with diverse views and interests oppose war with Iraq. Barrs' statement is absolutely ludicrous when you think about it. What does he believe happened? Apparently, Barrs thinks that groups as diverse as the Anarchists, the Socialists, the Veterans Against the War, Move On, Not in Our Name, the Women in Black, and the hundreds of other political and religious groups opposing the war somehow achieved consensus on strategy and acted as one! Moreover, these groups, according to Barrs' tortured logic, must all, prior to a year ago, have sought to win only abnormal Americans to their cause.

Barrs' column was pretty obviously full of crap. There has been no change in strategy by pro-peace groups. They need everybody they can get, and they always have. People from all walks of life, from diverse political, social and religious backgrounds, came together on February 15 because it has become increasingly clear to more and more of us that our commander in chief is a raging pinhead, he's violent, and he's armed. If you want to know who is converting even former Bush supporters to the peace movement, you need look no further than Bush himself. Bush's transparent attempts to sway the citizens of this country toward war by sowing lies, fear, hatred and hysteria have converted more people to the peace movement than peace activists ever could.

Lee Einer

Religious Zeal

The Truth is out there: Read your story "Peace-Monger" and it was very interesting (Tony Ortega, February 13). But it was fatally incomplete.

The fundamental cause of this war is the censorship of the Truth, and the lies and errors which are at the foundation of Jewish, Christian and Muslim theology concerning the doctrine of the "resurrection of the dead." Unless and until this Truth is made known, there will be a perpetual war between Judeo-Christian civilization and Islamic civilization.

Michael Cecil
South Bend, Indiana

Driver Education

Fault line: I can't believe New Times is taking a stand that anyone should be able to sue a school because someone who attends it is a bad driver ("Permanent Recess," Tatum Ostaff, February 20). When I was in high school (only a few years ago), the campus was open and some students abused it. But really, is that the school's fault? The mother of that boy should have sued the guy who drove the car recklessly, not the school. But I guess the school had deeper pockets.

Seriously, if I left campus and smoked a cigarette, should I sue the school when I get lung cancer? The logic of Ms. Ostaff's argument is ridiculous. I feel bad for the kid and his family, but this whole idea that New Times says the kid was an innocent victim of the school's bad security policy is just stupid.

Our schools already have to be parent, teacher, baby sitter, everything. Now they are also supposed to be watching the kids when they aren't at school? Please. That kid got hurt because he drove with a reckless driver who didn't care about putting his friends at risk, not because a security guard let him go. Don't advocate having everyone else lose their privileges because he and his friends are idiots. Just because he got hurt doesn't mean he and his friends didn't do something really dumb. And don't complain that someone should have stopped him from hurting himself.

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