Letters from the week of August 8, 2002

 Hostage Crisis
Wrong arm of the law: I am writing to share my horror and disgust about the way the hostage situation at the Arizona State Prison Complex was handled ("Covering Tracks," Robert Nelson, February 5). It didn't take a genius to figure out that the female hostage was being raped, and now we finally have a confirmation that this is what happened.

To allow a person such as Dora Schriro, with virtually no experience in hostage negotiation, control over an event of this magnitude was more than irresponsible. My only hope is that an independent council will be appointed to investigate this calamity, and that the State of Arizona steps up to the plate to make reparations to its faithful employee who has suffered so much. I hope the state is prepared to foot the bill for all of the counseling that she is going to need as a result of being trapped and raped for 16 days. I hope these men get what they deserve. Hopefully the gentlemen at the prisons to which they were transferred will be very, very unkind. I would cavort with glee if I found that someone locked these guys in a confined space and raped them senseless for a month.

Finally, as a woman, I am especially appalled by the actions of the women in power in this state. Janet Napolitano and Dora Schriro allowed a woman, and an employee of the state, to be put in this situation for 16 days, when there were other options available, as corroborated by the tactical expert you interviewed. The fact that these men were given exactly what they wanted and basically rewarded for their actions is unfathomable and inexcusable. Maybe before Ricky Wassenaar and Steven Coy get theirs, they should lock the men in a room with the governor and her partner in crime, Ms. Schriro. I'll bet their perception of leaving one woman alone with Mr. Wassenaar and Mr. Coy for any length of time would be radically altered.

Athena R. Huckaby

Whither DOC?: Damned if they do -- damned if they don't.

Let me guess. If the Department of Corrections had tried the high-risk strategy of assaulting the fortified prison tower and killing the inmates, with the result that the woman hostage had also been killed, what is the likelihood that you wouldn't have run a story expressing outrage at the itchy-trigger-finger Rambo-style tactics? Zero. Nil. Nada.

I'm not a big fan of the Arizona DOC, but you're going to find something to be outraged at these people for no matter what they do, aren't you? You don't get it. Congratulating DOC for ending a dangerous situation without a blood bath wouldn't be such an edgy, splashy story to write. But it might have given you an ounce of credibility. Gee, next time there's a hostage situation, let's call a New Times reporter to tell everyone how it should be handled.

David Durfee

Toy soldier: You certainly nailed the tail on the jackass again. It is quite clear that Dora Schriro is a commander who leads from the desk instead of the field. Worse, it appears she certainly doesn't even know how to run the desk. In short, she doesn't know crap from shinola about the corrections business.

I wonder how she and her buddy the "Guv" would like it if every ADOC employee just up and walked off the job at once because now they all know for sure that prison management is "namby-pamby" as hell and they have absolutely no protection from that management.

James Barbee

Police Story
Who's the victim here?: After reading your article ("Molecular Damage," Paul Rubin, February 5), I wanted you to know how much I appreciated it. It is about time that someone would let it be known the whole story, not just one side of it. I have known Jill and Shawn Dirks for some time now. They are the aunt and uncle to my 3-year-old son and a couple that my 11-year-old daughter is very fond of. Anyone who is acquainted with Shawn knows there is no way he could have committed the acts of which he is being accused. Lori Levinson couldn't be more wrong in her sick venture to riches. She claims to be a victim, but the only victims I see in this case are Shawn and his family. Thank you for an article so well written.

Kim Bonnie
Via e-mail

Simply put: To get her DNA on the base of his penis would be as simple as touching her skin anywhere and afterward urinating without washing his hands first. Isn't that obvious?

Kevin Young

The Truth Hurts
The exploited: I don't generally care for John Dougherty's articles; however, "Blasphemous Backlash" (January 29) was fair. He is out for the sensationalism, not the truth. It makes us not want to tell him anything or get involved. I realize that is what sells papers, but we don't want to be exploited.

Hazel Zitting
Centennial Park

Justice Is Served
Harsh sentiments: Dear author of the You Got Served review ("Pop It, Lock It, Yo," Gregory Weinkauf, January 29): I feel you were really harsh and rude about the movie. If you would have gone into it with a good attitude, then I'm sure your statements about it would have been better. Go see it again before you corrupt them again.

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