By Amy Silverman
By Olivia LaVecchia
By Monica Alonzo and Stephen Lemons
By Chris Parker
By Michael Lacey
By Weston Phippen
All this article really proves is that juries are best left with making these life-or-death decisions. Crybaby advocacy on the part of Mary Durand or all the defense attorneys in America can't change the fact that murder unravels the sacred social contract we all share with one another and just maybe some murderers should incur a deadly penalty for their behavior.
So cry on, Mary and defense attorneys of America. Just keep cashing those paychecks, crying those crocodile tears, but always remember even your boy might have to go to the gallows someday.
Name withheld by request
Death and taxes: Please, stop. My heart is just bleeding for those poor, maligned, misunderstood serial rapists and killers, those assorted multiple murderers and the rest of the cream of our criminal crop. Is mitigation just another name for how to make victims out of our worst victimizers so we can all feel sorry for them?
Put them to death, oh please. I just might lose sleep over them. Let's just see if we can find out if they were ever impoverished, victims of molestation, whether real or imagined, at any point in their distant past, victims of bias or prejudice, today, yesterday or 20 years ago, whether it was real or imagined. We need Mary Durand to spend thousands of taxpayer dollars looking for all this irrelevant social drivel and then tell us how important it really is and how we should feel so bad for her miscreant. Then and only then can we understand how 90 days of house arrest, treatment and an early parole just might be too punitive. Mary Durand can continue to make us feel guilty while she spins her yarn of meaningless nonsense and laughs all the way to the bank.
Even she cannot be so naive as to believe all these miscreants' early social misfortunes have anything to do with why or why not any murderer commits a murder and what is or is not society's reasonable response.
Name withheld by request
Cover me: I was appalled by the cover story of your June 19 issue ("Local Hero," Susy Buchanan). I don't know what you guys were thinking, putting a huge swastika and a skinhead giving a fascist salute on your cover. Although I was immediately offended by such symbols of hatred, I read the article anyway. I think it's disgusting that someone with a rap sheet, touting a doctrine of hatred, was given so much copy in your publication.
While the writer did make attempts to keep the cover story objective, including quotes from law enforcement officers on the dangers that skinheads pose to society, I can't help but think the article was less about education and more about glorification. Josh Fiedler obviously enjoys being in the spotlight and recruiting misguided youths into his hate gang, so why give him the opportunity to expand his little posse?
While New Times may have thought the cover story on Fiedler was informative, I'm sure that Fiedler viewed it as a great opportunity to spout his venomous beliefs and cement his local celebrity status, which will undoubtedly aid him in converting others to his doctrines. As for Fiedler wanting to "create a more positive image for skinheads," I don't think that's possible. Fiedler may think he's revolutionizing the skinhead movement by picking up trash at a park in front of the cameras, but the bottom line is, hate is hate. Many high-ranking officials of the Ku Klux Klan are respected, white-collar businessmen in their communities, but that doesn't diminish the KKK's long history of violence and hatred against minorities.
Your cover story on Fiedler, while revealing the ignorance and immaturity of his followers, only helps to further the cause of hate by providing Fiedler with a forum for his views. I don't understand your motives. Of all the people worthy of the term "local hero," why did you pick the leader of a skinhead gang?
Impact statement: I have yet to finish your article on the "Local Hero," but I had to stop and look up the religion Josh Fiedler claims to follow, as Christianity has always been the religion of choice, and from the first Web site I came to, I pulled this quote:
"We are opposed to racial hatred and intimidation, regardless of who practices it. We salute honorable men and women of all racial, ethnic, and religious groups. The AFA sympathizes with the efforts of all cultural and racial groups to maintain their identity and promote their legitimate interests. We are opposed to all forms of totalitarianism, of the left and the right alike."
How can someone claim to be a skinhead, tolerant or not, and follow these same beliefs? These beliefs may have a place in prison -- survival, maybe? They do not, however, have a place in today's society. I find myself from time to time cringing when I see a person of Arab-like descent, but thank God I have met a physician of that ethnic background and my son recently brought home a new friend of the same background. This was a pleasure for me to see, considering his father has "skinhead" beliefs and has tried to shower my son with them. But I feel I have made enough impact on his life that he can make his own decision about a person and not a race.