Boxed In

Game plan: Thank you very much for "From Russia With Glove" ( Gilbert Garcia, December 21). I live in Kazakhstan and know all the people you mentioned in your story from the "Russian" side. They are unique.

Sports today is one of the most powerful tools to reach the modern world. We're not only speaking in different languages and thinking in different ways, but our lives and thoughts are very often based on different national habits and life values. Sports gives us a game in which everyone must recognize the same rules. So it's a kind of mixed zone where people can connect their values and try to understand each other.

Speaking about Apachinsky, he gave backstreet boys from God-forgotten Balkhash the chance to compete in the world. Of course "his bizarre training methods" look terrible, no doubt. But isn't it war that produced the outstanding personalities and best human specimens? Didn't brutal tests produce the best Marines? I know Apachinsky quite well and, please believe me, his methods are not coming from sadistic bents but from a clear understanding of how to get boys on top of the world.

Michael Lee
via Internet

Gun Show

Aim higher: Before you write another word attacking Alan Korwin, or any other person supporting the right of honest citizens to protect themselves, you owe it to your readers to become educated on the subject of gun control ("Second Thoughts," Jeremy Voas, December 21).

If you do, you will find some remarkable information, such as:

Combining gun homicides and suicides as an overall "gun death" statistic (or "slaughter," as you so mildly put it) was actually an invention of a "gun control" advocate, intended to conceal the inconvenient decline in the U.S. homicide rate, despite a huge increase in the U.S. handgun arsenal.

Firearms possessed by private citizens are, by the best available evidence, used as much as two million times per year to prevent crimes in this country, or several times as often as they are used to commit crimes.

Ninety-nine percent of all firearms in this country are never used in a crime.

Accidental gun deaths in this country are at their lowest number in history (not the lowest rate, the lowest number), so there are actually fewer accidental gun deaths annually now than there were in 1903, when the statistic was first kept and when the population of the country was several times smaller.

Accidental gun deaths of children in this country are also at an all-time low, having dropped 75 percent since 1975, when the statistic was first kept.

As far as I can tell, the media in this country do little actual research on the subjects they write about; New Times is one of the few that does any investigative journalism whatsoever. The gun control debate in this country is a very emotional and poisonous one. The debate cannot advance until the media actually take the responsibility to examine, and report on, the arguments of both sides of the issue. Educating yourself is a start.

Jay Skardon

Paternal Instincts

Indian school daze: I don't know who you are, Joshua Rose, but I invite you to keep your mouth off of the Phoenix Indian School ("Without Reservation," December 7). I read your hysterical, mean-spirited diatribe about the current exhibit on Indian boarding schools -- and the Phoenix Indian School -- at the Heard Museum. I am writing this not from the perspective of a former student of the Phoenix Indian School, but I have been a member of, and enthusiastically participated in, the Phoenix Indian School community.

My father was Jasper Porter, who taught at the school and was the school librarian for about 20 years. My mother worked as a licensed practical nurse at the school hospital, which, years later, would become the Phoenix Indian Medical Center.

I was a school brat, in the same sense as military brats. Though never a student, I nevertheless supported the school proudly, cheering for the athletic teams, attending graduation ceremonies (always a little sadly because it usually meant friends were leaving the school) and attending the plays and concerts. I returned to work at the school while I attended Grand Canyon University.

But the story of the Phoenix Indian School is not about the campus brats. It is about the students who came to study and learn at the school. Students who came to love their school and one another, and if not love one another, at least accept the differences between them.

And, make no mistake, many of them loved their school. Despite your hate-filled vision of the Phoenix school (in your eyes, apparently a cultural Auschwitz), for many of the students, the school was an experience in universalism. They already knew well their tribalism.

True enough, students were pressured to learn English and white ways. Many learned English and white culture well enough to eventually return to their tribes and become tribal chairpersons and tribal councilmembers, using their school-learned experience to contend with the paternalism of the Bureau of Indian Affairs and the Indian Health Service. Many of the students returned to work at the school or became bureau or IHS employees. Does that sound like they hated their school experiences?

New Times' evaluation of the exhibit was expressed this way, in the story's subhead: "'Indian School Days' revisits a past to which no native should return."

This attitude is simply another form of white paternalism. It is akin to African-American people being intimidated by other African-American people to preserve the "Black Party Line" -- that African-Americans cannot hold any other but mean-spirited Jesse Jackson liberalism.

James E. Porter Sr.


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