Letters from the week of June 12, 2003

 SWAT Shop

For all you do, this one's for you: Thanks for the great article "Blue Crush" (Patti Epler, June 5). I thoroughly enjoyed reading the article and found it really interesting. I give the people in the SAU great respect and admiration for what they do. Unfortunately in our current society there will always be a need for their services. Since I know I could never do what they do, I can only say thanks much for all that they do.

Cheryl Otte-McCleave
Via e-mail

Good read: Re: "Blue Crush" -- Excellent article! Nice to read an atta boy for a change!

I like your style of writing as well! Informative and well-written.

Suzanne Mull

Source material: I found it offensive that your couplet of stories on the Phoenix Police Department did not include any sources critical of the department, and virtually no sources from outside of the police themselves. For example, the author made seemingly no effort to talk to any victims or families of victims of police violence. She justifies the extreme behavior of the Phoenix PD by assuring us that these events only happen in the "poorer" (and, coincidentally, "colored") southern and central areas of Phoenix, and that these things are only caused by the scrappy, daring, and young new officers (who, doubtless, cannot be fully blamed for their behaviors).

As middle-class white people, we can all feel comforted, because, of course, brutality against the poor and people of color is always justified, especially when said brutality is committed by such valiant, handsome, muscular, and, let it not be forgotten, extremely bright individuals. We must also feel comforted by the continual assertion that these caring officers might actually feel bad when they kill someone over marijuana.

I would like to thank you for the map of the shootings in Phoenix and the immense number of pictures of handsome white cops (some of which feature arrests of black people! gosh!). Hopefully they will prove useful in illustrating to the citizens of Phoenix the extremeness of the department.

Emma Donohue

Objectivity lesson: Thank you for your refreshingly objective article "There's Something About Phoenix."

It's common for writers to find fault with the police for several reasons. For one, they aren't allowed to hit back. For another, the general public and the type of people who write intellectual articles aren't often exposed to the kind of situations police officers are exposed to and so can't comprehend them.

You, however, didn't take the easy road and went out of your way to explain things that few would otherwise understand. Kudos for your excellent article.

Ken Calman

Church Chat

Abuse of trust: I read "Judgment Day" by Robert Nelson (June 5) with mounting horror. I agree wholeheartedly with Mr. Nelson and have been moved to write to Rick Romley, who has demonstrated that he actually cares about our children -- unlike Thomas O'Brien, who couldn't care less.

I would like to commend Romley for taking up the gauntlet in defense of Roman Catholic children here in the Valley. He is performing a function that is not just his responsibility as the county attorney but that is mainly the responsibility of Bishop O'Brien as a "guardian and shepherd of his flock." Unfortunately, Bishop O'Brien is more concerned with maintaining his power and position than he is in protecting his flock. I find it even more disturbing that the victims of these predators are children and still we have obtained no action from the church other than pious mouthings of nonsense concocted to placate Catholic parishioners.

I was very pleased to see that Romley's office is not intimidated by the Roman Catholic Church's aggressive stance in protection both of the criminals who perpetrate these crimes against children and their supposedly rational superiors. As a Roman Catholic (I'm ashamed to admit it), I have been increasingly sickened and disgusted by the abuse of our trust that has been exhibited by priests and the hierarchy of the church. I now see how fortunate I was to escape abuse during the years that I attended both Catholic grade school and Catholic high school. I do believe that there are many more good and decent members of the Catholic clergy; however, I am furious at the hypocrisy of the church's hierarchy.

I cannot express in words the disdain and contempt that I now have for these so-called "holy men," but I am determined to demonstrate it by means of refusing to make any future donations to the church for fear that even 1 cent of my money could possibly help to shelter and nurture the pedophiles, predators and rapists that the church is shielding. In addition, I refuse to give any money for the support of a man like Bishop O'Brien who has failed miserably in his duties toward God's smallest and most defenseless human beings.

Name withheld by request

Porn again: I've never worked as a porn store clerk, but I imagine those who have are terribly offended that Robert Nelson would compare their moral integrity to that of Bishop O'Brien.

Jordan Myers

Food -- What a Concept

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