Reading Tony Ortega's article about Charles Knight and the Viper Militia prompted me to refresh myself on something I first read in school ("Sticking By His Guns," January 2). Perhaps other New Times readers could use a refresher as well. The Second Amendment to the Constitution of the United States: A well-regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed.
I wanted to make this correction about the story about me. I said that regarding Donna Williams and my love for her that I had "never been in love before," and it was wonderful. I did not say or mean to imply that I had not truly loved my former spouses. In fact I did, and I have tried my best to sustain those relationships. I have married for love and companionship, nothing more and nothing less. Our children have always known this and have been raised by parents who were never violent, loud or abusive, and it shows. Thanks for letting me straighten this out. It is important to us all.
Gail Battistella is obviously a law-school dropout with a very poor locus of self-control ("Teacher Dearest," Michael Kiefer, December 19). Unfortunately, it is "educators" like her who seem to be doing a great deal more harm than good to our most precious resource: our children. Battistella appears to be simply another Peterian (from the Peter Principle) self-appointed administrator who is more concerned with stroking her own ego and with micromanagement than with actual student education.
Paul Rock Krech
Chain Gang Letter
I would like to congratulate New Times on the article about Joe Arpaio ("Barbarism As a Public Relations Strategy," John Mecklin, December 5). I work for Maricopa County Superior Court and I support editor John Mecklin's findings 100 percent. In my opinion, Joe Arpaio is promoting an extremely repressive, backward, violent era of criminal justice. Arizona's correction system intensifies the antisocial traits of the prisoners, then expects the prisoners to develop "prosocial" behaviors during their confinement. Our community will be much safer when we start aiding our prisoners instead of torturing them.
After reading the article about Joe Arpaio, I am gratified that the entire media are not as chicken as they appear. John Mecklin has the right idea regarding the inappropriateness of the behavior of the guards and that Arpaio's attitude is the cause. I am a firm believer that Arpaio, while not totally in the wrong, is the cause of the problems in the jails. His attitude that "criminals" are the only people who go to jail is, at the very least, negligent.
Many of these so-called "criminals" are people who can't make bail, not because they are "criminals," but because they are poor. With a large population that is living hand-to-mouth, we should be aware that it is impossible for some of them to get out of jail before trial, guilty or not.
People, let's be honest, most of us think Sheriff Joke is a "character" and, true to the Southwest style, we appreciate our "characters." That doesn't make Arpaio's Hitlerlike behavior any more acceptable than it was for the original.
Remember this, for every personal freedom we give away, there is a new law to make those freedoms irretrievable. One day we will be living in a world in which having a baby or saving a life or breathing fresh air will be a crime. Do you want to live there?
Lori Kay Trevino
Anything Else, You Guys?
Howard Seftel's eatery epistles are delicious. His Second Helpings message to restaurateurs on how to improve their fare and services issues 14 helpings worth digesting (December 19).
Add No. 15: Banish to scullery duty any food server, bus-ter or cashier who repeatedly utters "there ya go" to patrons.
Don't Drink the Water
I am outraged at the callousness of city and industry officials alike who see the power of the almighty dollar as more important than the health and well-being of the citizens of Scottsdale ("Scottsdale's Drinking Problem," Terry Greene Sterling, December 5).
The Community Right to Know Act in this country is our best source of information about toxins in our drinking water. It requires industry to report to the public its toxic chemical releases into the environment. However, as became evident in Scottsdale, this reporting is woefully inadequate. There are 72,000 synthetic chemicals on the market today. Of these, only 600, or fewer than 1 percent, are required to be reported on by industry.
Currently, the EPA is considering what is possibly the best improvement in the Community Right to Know Act--the addition of data on the use of toxic chemicals. This information would make public the chemicals used in the production of products, before they are released into our air and water. As the public is made more aware of the chemicals being used and produced, hopefully we can put more pressure on large manufacturers to curb their use of toxins in order to improve our public health.
Thanks, New Times, for the excellent and painfully revealing "Boom, Boom on the Range" (Jeremy Voas, November 21) and also the poignant "My Dog Is Lost! Details at 10" (Amy Silverman, November 21). Miraculously, the story about the errant pet had a richly deserved happy ending. Many animals aren't so lucky. Mixing animals and airports often results in intense suffering and senseless death for animal "baggage." Tragically, as with all threatened and endangered species, the ultimate fate of the besieged Sonoran pronghorn antelope remains in serious doubt.
Just found New Times' Web site (www.phoenixnewtimes.com). It's a very interesting place and I will be a returning surfer.
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Up in Smoke
The day after Christmas I picked up the latest issue of New Times. I came across the advertisement for Kamel cigarettes and I stared at it for a few minutes. How can New Times have such an advertisement when many teens and, yes, preteens smoke? Some, in fact, many get a smoker's cough while others develop problems with their lungs--many of whom die of cancer.
New Times must be hard up for money to start advertising cigarettes. How much is Kamel cigarettes paying for that ad? I thought that New Times was out for good health. I guess it's greed that is raising its head.