A little more than a year ago, someone shot through Dan's windshield as he was driving home in Laveen. For years after Dan moved to Laveen, people would drive up from Rodeo and throw rocks at the house and just generally harass him. He has spent more than a quarter of a million dollars defending himself against accusations based on rumor and innuendo propagated by people looking for entertainment at his expense. These people are a lynch mob, and remorse would be interpreted as guilt. Any show of weakness would simply be blood in the water.

Dan possesses the necessary traits of a leader. I find it reprehensible for capable people to complain about their government, all the while having no intention of doing something to change it. Dan agrees with me on this. That is why he sought to do more by running for office.
Sarah Haynes, via the Internet

9/11 Redux

Clouding the issue: About "Loose Screws" in The Bird (Stephen Lemons, September 7), MIT political scientist Noam Chomsky encourages people to question the government and to interpret the messages they receive critically, but to abstain from buying into conspiracy theories.

Conspiracy theories are almost comforting because they explain the unfathomable. But they are dangerous because they detract from what we should really be paying attention to. Did the Bush administration benefit from 9/11? Yes. Does that mean they orchestrated an attack on American soil? No.

I believe that conspiracy theorists are playing right into the hands of the propagandists by ignoring the real issues at hand — Middle Eastern foreign policy, government contracts awarded by way of cronyism, and a thieving administration wholly without ethics.

Conspiracy theorists' energies would be better utilized elsewhere; instead of working so hard to promote faulty hypotheses, they might devote their time to encouraging people to contextualize the facts and effect real change by educating others about the lead-up to the event, not the event itself.
J. Simons, Phoenix

Drop it: The Bird should really give the 9/11 conspiracy theory a rest and stick to his strong suit: cutting-edge, tabloid-page gossip.

The Bird's continuous stream of epithetical and ad hominem attacks on conspiracy advocates indicates that he actually grasps little of the subject, despite proffering countering "evidence" lifted from selected sources. For the several official-sounding sources he cites, there are scores of respected investigators rebutting their conclusions.

If The Bird would take a deep breath and relax his ruffled feathers, maybe he wouldn't be such a bird-brain on this issue.
A. Wayne Senzee, Phoenix

Faulty administration: First, continuously repeating a term like "wacktivists" in The Bird gives the impression that the column is written by a college dropout with a chip on his shoulder who's working at a coffee shop.

To be honest, I don't argue if the Twin Towers collapsed from the planes. I personally don't have the expertise to make an educated assessment of the data. On the other hand, I do have enough of a chemistry and physics background to understand that planes don't disintegrate or get absorbed into a building "in a state closer to a liquid than a solid mass."

The concept that our current administration could have had a hand in 9/11, to even a small degree, is not something any American wants to wrestle with. The sad part is, there's definitely reasonable evidence to suggest there might be a connection between the Bush administration and the events of five years ago.

If 10 percent of what Loose Change claims to be fact is true, we need to have an impeachment trial. If 70 percent of what it claims to be true is true, the Bush administration needs to be strung up.
David Israel, Tempe

Sayonara, John

Road trip: On the subject of his "Vaya Con Dios" column, congratulations to John Dougherty on taking the leap! He has joined an elite group.

I'm 44 years old and sold my lucrative printing business because my heart just wasn't in it anymore. My wife and I bought a 30-foot trailer and hit the road with our four children. We were gone for about 16 weeks. Two of our many stops were the Grand Tetons, and the North Rim of the Grand Canyon.

I don't have any regrets about the choice I made, but it was the toughest thing I've ever done.
Dave Schuster, via the Internet

Thanks for the memories: Just a note to say thanks to John Dougherty for all the great reporting at New Times. I really enjoyed reading about all the scum he covered over the years.
Ruby Maki Edwards, Glendale

A bold journey: Excellent story on John Dougherty's leaving New Times. I've read his articles for many years, even after I had to leave Phoenix for business reasons and return to Toledo, where I grew up.

I was in Phoenix for 22 years and always wanted to hike the Canyon, but never did. It was neat to read John's description of his journey. May his future be bright.
Don Kettle Jr., Toledo, Ohio

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