Letters

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
Phoenix

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
Phoenix

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
Tempe

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?

Sivan Sper
Via e-mail

Jailhouse blues: How pathetic that the only way these people can feel good about themselves is to dress up in some quasi-uniform and find someone else to hate. And so much for prisons being the answer to the rising crime problem. Hell's bells, they're the prime recruitment centers for Black Muslims as well as the Nazi skinheads! Even the cops themselves admit that!

Joe Roy, a former police officer, private investigator, and current director of intelligence projects for the Southern Poverty Law Center, calls the prison system an "ideal environment" for gangs, and an "ideal culture for recruitment."

Okay, Sheriff Joke and all you others: What's the answer? You're the know-it-alls. (Just ask them.)

Marc V. Ridenour
Via e-mail

Gets it: I would like to thank you for the article you wrote. Though I am not a literary critic, the story was very well written. I don't feel that you spit out your opinion, but instead let the article speak for itself. This story further reinforces how deranged and dangerous the skinhead movement is. The skinheads, along with many other white supremacy groups, talk about how they are moving towards more "non-violent" behavior, but from all I have seen, read and continue to learn, their violence only continues to escalate.

There are very few things I am scared of in this world. The one thing that terrifies me more than anything would be skinheads and hate groups simply because there is no provocation necessary to be injured or killed.

Being a sensible gay adult male intensifies my fear even more. It really bothers me to see gay people flaunting their sexuality in public because of the dangers around that they are not even aware of. Yes, you should be able to be who you are and not worry about it. I guess we each choose our own way to handle our lifestyle. I have a lot to live for and that is my choice -- to live.

Name withheld by request

Doesn't get it: I can't believe you gave this jackass the cover. You are probably solely responsible for the recruitment of at least 20 new members. 20 more fatherless pieces of shit or ones whose fathers blamed blacks and Mexicans for taking his job while he's sucking down his 20th Old Style before lunch. So some retard reads this article after reading his new copy of guns and ammo and decides, hell, nobody understands me; I should join and make some new pals. Three weeks later he's kicking the shit out of some poor kid whose waiting for a ride outside a pool hall.

The only good thing to come out of your article is you managed to mention a couple of their hangouts. Some of the anti-racist (the true skinheads) can hunt them down and give them a beating of a lifetime. These guys roped you in; these are the same people who put their white power pamphlets in books at the library then call the news claiming to be a distraught black student. That's how they operate and I'm disappointed that you found the time to help the bastards out.

Name withheld by request

Sort of gets it: Hopefully someone equally ignorant and pathetic will put a bullet through this "Local Hero's" skull and we'll never have to hear about him again. What a disgusting group of people skinheads are. Glad to know that I have a gang of white supremacists living less than 10 miles from me. Being Jewish, it doesn't make one feel too safe. It's also very comforting to know that so many Arizona politicians' children and relatives are involved in this.

Name withheld by request

Church Chat

Sweeping statement: In the middle of his interview with abuse victim John Starkey, your writer Robrt L. Pela makes the outrageous statement, "It's practically a tradition of Catholicism: the molestation of little boys" ("Altered Boy," Speakeasy, June 19). With this comment, Mr. Pela libels many thousands of good priests and good Catholics. This is cheap, pandering anti-Catholic bigotry; an example of narrow-minded stereotyping that would be similar to calling all journalists in America frauds because a number of reporters at various news organizations have been exposed as liars and plagiarists.

Unfortunately the failure of some priests and bishops has subjected our many good priests and our entire church to scorn and humiliation, and we will have to bear the insults of people like Mr. Pela.

But be assured that the church will survive, just as it has survived other attempts to destroy it, even from its own corrupt leaders. I hope Mr. Starkey will return to the church because he can help make it better. We as Catholics must sustain the hope that a better church can emerge from this present darkness, just as certainly as Easter followed Good Friday.

Brian J. Tindell
Gilbert

Campaign Trail

Trail of tears: I almost wept when I saw that there would finally be some competition for Joe the Joke ("Heir Apparent," Robert Nelson, June 12). It pleases me to no end that the people of the Valley have finally come to realize that he is a lunatic that needs to be stopped.

I was, however, a bit disappointed in the statement made that Tent City would stand. Not because I particularly think that it is inhuman or that it would be better in a standard jail. But, having been in the military and lived in those tents, I know that it is cruel to leave human beings in those tents in the heat. The heat builds inside the tents and because of the weatherproofing they do not breathe.

I am, in all honesty, totally happy that someone is finally going to give it a real try to defeat Arpaio. From those of us who are the victims of Arpaio's abuse -- thank you. This is one election I will not miss.

Name withheld by request

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