Letters from the week of July 3, 2003

 Death Row

Death be not proud: Thank you for an article that had to be written. ("Off With Their heads," Paul Rubin, June 26) Instead of placing pressure on the state Legislature and the county boards of supervisors for the money to conduct death penalty cases correctly (e.g., proper training for attorneys, properly trained mitigation specialists, sufficient time for preparation, etc.), the Arizona Supreme Court justices and the Superior Court judges, particularly in Maricopa County, are forcing attorneys to assist the state in killing the attorneys' own clients. The Legislature and the prosecutors want the death penalty, but they don't want to pay the price for it to be imposed in a constitutionally permissible manner (although I personally don't think that's possible). Instead, they place the blame and the burden on the courts, which in turn place both on the attorneys. I no longer do death cases. I refuse to get "qualified" to do them, and would refuse to do one if appointed. I have frequently urged my colleagues to stop doing them. Without us, the state cannot kill our clients, and that's the bottom line.

Eleanor L. Miller

Skin Game

Writers chaos: I am responding to the letters to the editor written in regards to the "Local Hero" article (Letters, June 26). Maybe I misunderstood the article but I felt that the tongue in cheek writing style of New Times pointed out the hypocrisies and the utter ridiculousness of the white supremacy movement. Comparing Sean Gaines to Barney Fife and stating that Josh Fielder looked like a Snuffleufagus with his little gas mask was hilarious. Am I wrong? Could I have misunderstood? How could anyone think this article complimented the Skin Heads? Could they have been so offended by the cover that they could not interpret the articles intent? These people want us to fear them. Why not laugh?

Name withheld by request

Freedom to speak: Hurrah for the New Times for proving that your paper really can publish whatever the hell you like! I have long had a great respect for your newspaper and the great journalistic freedom you possess. Your June 19 cover of "Local Hero" proved my point exactly. Although myself, and (probably) the rest of the New Times staff does not agree with Josh Fiedler and co.'s opinion, I respect the New Times for daring to publish such a story. Keep up the good work, New Times.

Name withheld by request

Local zero: I have been a reader of your newspaper for several years and this is the first time that I have been offended and outraged by an article. The cover of the June 19 issue speaks for itself. The real local hero is Cole Bailey Sr. for doing the work that Phoenix detectives should have been doing. It makes me stop and think about who runs the New Times. Hmmm. Is it knuckleheads or skinheads?

Cynthia Quezada

Supreme beings: I thought the article was a good read, was well written and had a good unbiased writer. I was reading the Letters in response to the article and was stopped dead in my tracks by a response written by Christian T. Black. ("Peace nicks," Letters, June 26) What some readers refuse to see is that most of these tiny supremacist groups, whether they be white, black or Latino, are rarely ever big enough to be widely known. So people are oblivious to idiots like Sean Gaines. They just think he's some stupid kid trying to be big and bad. If I remember correctly, it took awhile for the Devil Dawgs from Gilbert to be brought to everyone's attention. It was only after Sammy Gravano got busted and when papers like the New Times had done some good investigative journalism that people started taking notice of the tiny clusters and started finding out what these people were all about.

Black criticized the New Times for publishing a story about Nazis. This is where he needs to get further education of exactly what a Nazi is. Keep in mind, I am no way defending or condoning the National Socialist German Workers Party or any of their past actions. These kids are white supremacists. They are not Nazis. They may be racists but most likely have nothing to do with National Socialism, nor are they German. So let's label these kids what they are: People who were unimportant outcasts as kids and made up their own little clan so they could feel threatening and important.

By Black calling those morons Nazis, he is therefore giving them the attention that they are craving and making them bigger than they really are. That is exactly what they want -- society thinking that they are something bigger and uglier than they themselves really are.

Kirstiana Yaeger

Evil doers: I am completely surprised at the tone of the story, which seems to me to be about the normalcy of a skinhead's vision. The details of this man's life (i.e. the roses he buys his girlfriend) are completely misplaced in an article that seems to forget that it is about the neo-Nazi movement. This article is incredibly irresponsible, giving a voice to a message that preaches hatred and genocide. There are times in which we reserve judgment, but this should not be one of those times. I am simply amazed that "Local Hero" can be published as an acceptable article, but more than that I am saddened that such an article, which only serves to humanize evil, can be printed. That the Jewish community remains silent is equally astonishing; have we learned no lessons from our history?

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