The Bird is rubber and you're glue: These Minutemen are patriots who have the guts the Feds don't have to secure our border. And you call them vigilantes? That must make you a blithering idiot!
Name withheld by request

Who hates Mexicans more?: The Bird's suggestion that we shouldn't enforce immigration laws for the sake of the Arizona businesses that rely on cheap labor is akin to saying we shouldn't have emancipated the slaves out of concern for the plantation industry.

Can someone explain how it is that the same liberals who have traditionally prided themselves on being champions for the working poor (from advocating increases in the minimum wage, workplace safety regulations, overtime pay, health benefits, family leave) now find themselves shamelessly siding with American businesses who exploit the illegal status of migrant workers to deny them these same benefits?

The Bird goes on to suggest that the Minutemen "despise Mexican people," then advocates punishing the Minutemen by forcing them to perform the same death march through the desert that illegal immigrants must make to get to Phoenix.

But isn't the ultimate goal of the Minutemen to prevent anyone from attempting this dangerous journey in the first place? The Bird, meanwhile, would see this suicide ritual continue unabated, body count be damned.

So, Bird, who really despises the Mexican people?
Name withheld by request

Rights as big as Texas: I was traveling through from El Paso, Texas, to Las Vegas. During a stopover in Chandler, I picked up a copy of New Times and read the column by The Bird. It's a shame that a Texan knows Arizona law better than this columnist or than Democratic state Representative Kyrsten Sinema.

Before I mention the law, I might note that The Bird, in the guise of Mr. Pela, is a bitter little man. He calls people who are doing what the federal government should "opportunistic bums" and a "bunch of cowardly scumbags" and "Minutemen mo-fos" and "vigilantes."

Obviously, he knows nothing about these people except that they are conservatives.

These people are committed to taking back our border from criminals and forcing the government to do its job. They carry weapons as allowed by Arizona law. The Minutemen have stated constantly that they are armed only to protect themselves in case of violence. If the criminals infesting the border from San Diego, California, to Brownsville, Texas, aren't afraid to shoot at the U.S. Border Patrol, what makes The Bird think they won't attack anyone else?

The law being presented by Representative Sinema denies the citizens of Arizona a right to carry arms guaranteed them by the state constitution. Maybe The Bird should read the state and national constitutions so it knows what it's talking about.
Rod Linkous, El Paso, Texas

Monsignor Winces

Side two: I thought this was supposed to be a newspaper, but here you are, rehashing the same old accusations against Monsignor Dale Fushek ("Jesus is Pissed," The Bird, March 9).

You seem to believe that, in this one instance, if Maricopa County Attorney Andy Thomas says Fushek is guilty, it must be so. In most other situations, you think Thomas is way off base. Only when he attacks the Catholic diocese and its priest have you suddenly given him credibility.

Anyway, real journalism requires that you get off your butt and dig for the truth instead of just throwing around the same old dirt. You're ignoring a host of facts, any one of which would make a good news story. Here are some samples about the Fushek case:

• None of the so-called victims has ever initiated a police report. The first alleged victim, whose accusations are based upon what reputable psychologists consider nothing more than a bad dream, filed a lawsuit against an institution known for paying off rather than fighting. Seeing that he had a shot, several others joined the crusade.

• The misdemeanor charges are totally the result of the County Attorney's own initiative. No alleged victim asked for a criminal investigation.

• In this case, the Diocese of Phoenix is not talking settlement. They settled an early claim (of sexual harassment) against Fushek without a serious fight, and it came back to haunt them.

• Fushek is supported by hundreds of people who have known him for years and totally disbelieve the accusations. There's a Web site for his supporters and they raise funds for his defense.

• Fushek's request for release from house arrest was based in part on his inability to visit with his mother and brother who were too ill to come to him. And, yes, as a Catholic and a priest, he missed going to Mass.

• The misdemeanor charges were filed just before the statute of limitations ran out on them. Up to that point, the County Attorney couldn't find anything amounting to a felony. But filing something, however bogus, bought him more time.

Remember that the County Attorney's Office never forgave Bishop O'Brien for writing a letter in support of a priest who re-offended on probation. With O'Brien now gone, Fushek represented a target of opportunity because prosecutors haven't gotten quite enough revenge against the Phoenix diocese.

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