Self-absorption: We have governors become presidential candidates who rush to execute a person with the mind of a 6-year-old (Clinton in 92) or who cruelly mock an executed woman who had uplifted her life (George W. in 98). If the media slide over such things, can we expect more with regard to CD1 congressional candidates who believe that public schools and public roads are creeping socialism -- or even with regard to The Scary Guy ("High Marks," Dewey Webb, June 8)?
The Scary Guy can't pass school dress codes, but he becomes a motivational school speaker; Randy Johnson makes more money than 400 teachers; Joe Arpaio exults in 85 percent approval ratings and his status as a symbol of the U.S. experiment in mass incarceration. These all contribute to a society of greed, materialism and violence.
The Scary Guy seeks "the total elimination of hate, violence and prejudice worldwide," but he has little history of really working for peace and social justice. A real peace and justice advocate -- like Ron Ridenour, the former New Times staffer and the soldier who exposed the My Lai massacre -- would probably not get in the schools. Like the immensely popular Arpaio, who recently announced he would provide air conditioning and spend almost twice the money for food for abused dogs as for human inmates, The Scary Guy is a showboat, and his analysis seems as shallow as Arpaio's.
The Scary Guy looks more dangerous than Hitler; the most dangerous place in Maricopa County is between Joe Arpaio and a TV camera. Will the TV cameras show up when Arpaio arrests me for keeping my little dog outside in the heat and on a food budget of only pennies a day?
A prototype to many peace and justice advocates is Dietrich Bonhoeffer. Bonhoeffer, Agent of Grace was presented on PBS on June 14. Bonhoeffer, considered by some as the best theologian of this century, was active in the resistance against Hitler and was legally executed by the Nazi government in April 1945. However, while studying at Union Theological in New York in the 1930s, Bonhoeffer spoke of the "libertinism, egotism and indifference" so evident in the United States and as so practiced by presidents, candidates, The Scary Guy, Johnson and Arpaio.
Soul man: I saw The Scary Guy's presentation for the first time during Memorial Day weekend in Kansas, as I now live in Kansas City, Missouri. I'm 35 years old, and one of the least prejudiced people that I know of. I'm a graduate of Sahuaro High School in Tucson. And The Scary Guy rivets his audience: Young and old, male and female, gay and straight, black and white, it doesn't matter. His message is universal.
That is part of its appeal: Everyone has been him and he has been every one of us. Sure, he has tattoos and piercings. He has gold teeth. He knows how to market himself to get his message through. And get through it does. His presentation causes you to hold a mirror up to your soul and occasionally not like what you find there. You find yourself leaving, thoughtful, rueful, remembering all the times you may have chuckled at a stupid joke, or kept silent in fear. He inspires, no, he demands, your attention, your thoughts. Once you've heard him speak, you never forget the message, and if he changes one heart, one person, then he has accomplished his mission.
The Scary Guy is only scary to those who want to hold on to their prejudice, their fear, their hatred; who want to feed it and breed it and nurture it. That's why he's scary. Not because of his appearance. Because he touches your soul.
Kansas City, Missouri
An inspiration: I am in awe that somebody has enough belief in our youth to do something about it. Hats off to The Scary Guy and his wife for walking the walk instead of talking the talk!
Monti's endures: Mill Avenue has changed significantly since my college days (Maricopa Community College, 78; Arizona State University, 82). But the one constant then and now is Monti's La Casa Vieja ("Mill Rut," Carey Sweet, June 15).
There are bars and restaurants along Mill today that won't have the half-life of a container of Monti's sour cream. Let's face facts -- you don't go to Monti's because of the food or ambiance. You go to Monti's for the same reasons people climb a mountain: because it's there. Yes, it's an institution, and guess what? From my first time there nearly 33 years ago to my last time there a year ago, the complaints remain the same: bad food, bad service, bad ambiance, etc.
Taking the time even to write a review on Monti's is an exercise in intellectual laziness. I could have written the same review while sitting here in Oklahoma City.
But for all the bad-mouthing of Monti's, I'll make you a bet. Five years from now Monti's will still be standing and the hottest restaurant in the Valley today will be a long-forgotten memory. Trendiness comes and goes, but institutions remain. So let's book our reservations at Monti's now. Loser buys.
John M. McBrien
Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
Punishment lacking: Each week I open New Times and reel at the horrors revealed within. At the beginning of the June 15 issue is the public response to your article concerning the Devil Dogs ("Bad Dog," Michael Lacey, June 1).
How any sane and intelligent person can agree that a relative slap on the hand is equitable justice for the maiming of another boy is beyond me. The victim of this horrible attack will bear the scars of his beating for the rest of his life. When this boy grows up and marries, and has children, his children will ask, "Daddy, what happened to your face?" Without equitable punishment, this poor man will forever have to deal with the fact that his injuries have been minimized by the punishment given to his attackers.
It's really quite sick, and yet some people have the gall to play the white race card again, that because it was a "white" gang their crimes are in a different category from those committed by gangs of a different skin color.
Turning to the back of the paper, I read about the "phenomenal" success of someone named Eminem (enema anyone?), who writes lyrics espousing hatred for all who do not share his sexual preferences. I wonder truly if our society has reached the brink of collective insanity. One could draw the conclusion that this boy is merely well-versed in the media game, namely that one can reflect at leisure the feelings and opinions of his peers while denying personal responsibility for those thoughts and actions himself, all under the guise of "free speech." As for the record company, hey, a swastika worked well as a logo for those other masters of propaganda we got rid of a few years back, or did we?
Passive victim: Deadly force? Consider this scenario. During his beating, Jordan Jarvis manages to reach behind him and grab a jack handle or lug wrench, which is used to defend himself and causes serious bodily harm or death to one of the Devil Dogs. (Ask yourself if you wouldn't have used it under the same circumstances.) I just wonder how lenient the courts would have been with Mr. Jarvis.
Prosecutorial conduct: Since Hugo Zettler so doggedly prosecuted the Devil Dogs, it makes me wonder if Zettler is a Devil in Dog's clothing.
First, get a sheet of paper . . . : I often see stories such as the one about the Devil Dogs in newspapers. Stories that are meant to outrage the reader at some injustice, be it criminal, environmental, etc. However, what I find lacking is that these articles leave the reader hanging. No information is given as to what a reader can do to express his/her anger or astonishment at the particular incident or situation. Why is it that the media rarely provide such contact information? Several environmental organizations will present such articles and will then suggest persons to contact who may take a hand in righting the injustice. I would like to see New Times take a lead in this area and begin suggesting contact targets.
License to Squeal
Driven to Distraction: So let me get this straight: five pages to this story ("Illegal Turn," Gilbert Garcia, June 8), and the crux of the argument is that illegal immigrants want driver's licenses so they can get auto insurance? Please!
Unfortunately, most of these people make inadequate wages and live in neighborhoods where auto insurance rates are the highest; furthermore, if they have not had auto insurance before, their rates are going to be even more extreme. The poorest people have the highest uninsured rates because they can't afford it. They probably don't even have health insurance, and they are going to buy auto insurance? These same illegal immigrants, the people who fear giving out census information to the government, are going to line up and get driver's licenses because they want insurance? Not buying it -- me or them.
My only two auto accidents were caused by poor "citizens" without insurance. Guess what? They both also tried to run and I got stuck with the expense. My insurance agent tells me that Arizona ranks among the highest in populations without insurance. I now carry and urge everyone also to carry full coverage -- not just uninsured/underinsured riders -- because of this fact.
What the article neglected to mention are the other benefits that a driver's license offers: a reduced embarrassment when offering identification, a sense of belonging in this country, a front that the person with the license is a citizen, and increased credibility. What identification do we show at the bank, the airport, or at the border? Our driver's license.
What we really need are better policies that prevent all people from obtaining and renewing auto registration who don't have auto insurance. This is the fix. I think, though, that we should give the illegals special driver's licenses. They could pick up the "special driver's license applications for illegal immigrants" at either the MVD or the INS.
Though I am sympathetic toward the injustices experienced by Hispanic immigrants, I think Gilbert Garcia's arguments in this article are not sustainable.
Inside story: The Flash wonders how the KTVK-TV cameraman could stand by filming while the poor panic-stricken detective fought desperately to escape the car lacking inside door handles ( Flashes, June 1).
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How about a statuette for the clever detective investigating the death of a child (who was trapped inside this car without inside door handles) and becoming trapped herself? Hello?
The only thing Mr. Cameraman was negligent of was in believing that one of Phoenix's finest couldn't possibly be such a moron!