An exception for Virginia?: What happened to Virginia Gutierrez is an outrage that's just beginning ("No, Virginia," Stephen Lemons, The Bird, August 30). My prediction is that we're going to see more and more of this as the illegal immigration debate continues in this country.
That is, more honors students who've lived here most of their lives and who would contribute much to our society (Virginia wants to become a pediatrician) kicked out of the United States because they're the sons and daughters of illegal aliens and weren't born here.
Jana Van Voorhis
But my point is that debate had nothing to do with the rabble of peckerwoods who descended on the recent rally supporting Virginia Gutierrez (see "Anti-Heroes" and the Feathered Bastard blog). The counter-demonstrators did nothing for the issue of border enforcement. They made people like me who favor strong border policy wonder if we're in the wrong.
That I don't want to be associated with the redneck swill who shouted down those speaking in favor of this North High School honors student is an understatement! And I think if many good people who share my opinions on illegal immigration saw the disgusting display from these pitiful fools, they'd be having second thoughts about the whole issue, too.
They'd be wondering especially why some sort of exception couldn't be made for a girl like Virginia, who is the personification of what's good about America: somebody of humble origins succeeding through hard work and smarts. We can't let stand decisions to rid our country of the best and brightest because they lack the proper paperwork. We must find a way to accommodate such individuals.
What we need regarding illegal immigration is rational debate, not stinking-drunk rednecks threatening peaceful demonstrators. Thank God the police were at this demonstration because it would've turned really ugly. These white bigots had hatred in their eyes and had to be warned on several occasions to back off.
If these Rusty Childress/Russell Pearce-inspired cretins ("Rusty's World," The Bird, July 12) really want to help the cause they apparently feel so strongly about, they would stay home.
Mary Timmons, Phoenix
SEE THE WIZARD
Indeed, the picture says it all: I read the "Grand Wizard Arpaio" article ("The Bird," August 23), saw the picture distributed by Elias Bermudez, and couldn't agree more that the picture says it all.
Sheriff Joe Arpaio may say he has heartfelt feelings for Latinos, but it's obvious that words don't speak as loudly as actions, and his actions are speaking real clearly.
I acknowledge that not all Mexicans are here on good terms. But what about those who are? What about those who come here looking for nothing else but to provide for their families? Or those who are here to get their kids that better education or better lifestyle?
Not many people are willing to admit it, but Latinos are the very base of this functioning society. Mr. Bermudez should've never apologized. Hell, my opinion is that Sheriff Joe is as shady as they get and as power-abusing as they get. And you can't get any more childish than making a threat on TV. I mean, come on, I thought he was supposed to be the bigger and better man. With him being in the public eye so much, you'd think he would set a better example.
But yet again, his actions and words speak pretty clearly.
Robert Miller, Phoenix
Racist no matter how you slice it, Tom: With reference to your article "Grand Wizard Arpaio," I must object to the characterization of the Maricopa County Sheriff's Office hot line for reporting illegal aliens as racist. That's a gross over-simplification. It can only be construed as racially prejudiced in the sense that the majority of offenders happen to be from countries south of our border. Now, before you also accuse me of being a Klansman, I will simply state that Hispanic blood flows in my veins.
Also, don't accuse me of being unsympathetic to the plight of millions of people around the globe who wish to improve their lot by immigrating to the United States. America is truly the land of milk and honey for them. However, instead of wasting billions of dollars in Iraq, it might have been far wiser to spend the money on investing in infrastructure in Mexico and Central America. That, after all, might've reduced the economic necessity of these folks to consider tiptoeing across the border by providing them employment at home.
For too many years, law-enforcement agencies across the United States have refused to hold illegals in custody for handover to federal immigration authorities because it wasn't their problem. However, since the 9/11 attacks, the United States allegedly has been engaged in fighting a war on terror.
The refusal of the government to secure its borders is absurd. I've lived in the Middle East and can vouch that with some intensive Spanish lessons, many folks from that part of the world could pass for south-of-the-border Hispanics.
Now, isn't it comforting to think that another bunch of fanatics wishing to martyr themselves may today be crossing into the United States from somewhere between Matamoros and Tijuana?
No, I cannot fault Sheriff Joe Arpaio on this score. Yeah, he's done some outrageous and highly questionable things during his tenure, but I'm with him on this one. I can only hope that other law-enforcement agencies in the U.S. follow his lead, because illegal immigration is everyone's problem today.
Tom Hamlyn (Phoenix native), Kiev, Ukraine
One of the dangerous ones: I'm not a conspiracy theorist. I also believe that our government could've and should've done more to try to stop 9/11. That being said, your reader Eric Dearing is one of the dangerous ones out there ("He's not a sheep," Letters, August 30) not the others the original story was about ("The Yoda of 9/11," Stephen Lemons, August 9).
The reason for this is that he's so out there that it's ridiculous. While I believe most conspiracy theorists are idiots and off the deep end, they really are harmless. The opposite can be said for Dearing and others of his limited vision. The notion that the government had to kill almost 3,000 citizens of many countries and destroy two landmarks in the world financial market is absolutely brain-dead. Anyone who believes this as a possibility is equally brain-dead.
I do believe our government's behavior was inept, bordering on criminal, but to actually suggest any American president or other elected official was involved in the plot to take down the towers, or that any of the sights and scenes of that day were not real, is bordering on complete stupidity, if not insanity.
Also, just a note on the idiot who thinks it's OK to smoke marijuana ("Hazy hyperbole," Letters, August 30): It's apparent that he's smoked just a little too much. I have friends who've done so for years, and their lives have been irreversibly hindered, if not ruined, because of their addiction to this "benign" drug. Also try to remember that the law says people can't use marijuana without a prescription. If you feel marijuana should be legal, move to Amsterdam.
Lastly, if you are here illegally, you have no right to say anything or to be heard. As one of my favorite comedians says (coincidentally, he's Carlos Mencia, a Hispanic): "Get the fuck out!"
I would bet that idiot Elias Bermudez would be up in arms if the shoe were on the other foot. It's morons like him who make the problem of illegal immigration more difficult. Many of us believe that the border should be more secure for reasons other than Mexicans crossing it, though that's illegal. I'm not sure I agree with the present laws, but as long as they are the present laws, obey them.
Jeff Bennett, Phoenix
Two words for conspiracy theorists: I read "The Yoda of 9/11" article and got your e-mail address from a Loose Change forum. It was listed so that people could e-mail you to let you know they think you're foolish. But I say it was a great article and keep up the good work.
To anyone who thinks there was a government conspiracy to kill thousands, I have but two words: Tim McVeigh.
Kevin Brady, Phoenix
Who made this dillweed an expert?: Arpaio, Gordon, Childress, Goddard. Gee, I wonder why none of them returns New Times reporters' phone calls.
Elected officials and notorious private citizens merit the attention of the public and ridicule when ridiculous. No question. But wingnut, wackjob, dillweed? This is not journalism. This is the most childish playground trash talk and not even entertaining after the bazillionth time.
Find something to investigate and report on that. Ask a Mexican! and Savage Love have consistent themes, and they deal with a variety of issues in limited space. Please don't waste any more trees, ink, or time writing what regularly appears in The Bird.
Robert Weiss, Tempe
APPEALING TO PELA
Keep giving it to us, Robrt: First allow me to say that I've followed Robrt Pela's reviews since they first appeared in New Times and have always found them honest and accurate but, most of all, entertaining.
I've been designing professionally for 39 years around the country and for some years in Arizona. His opinions of my work (and my colleague's) have always been fair, if necessarily brief. I feel the rules of criticism are to review the work (rather than repeat the plot of a play) and make it entertaining on the way.
He follows the first rule and is an absolute master of the second!
In spite of (or perhaps because of) the fact theater is my livelihood, I find myself rolling in paroxysms of laughter with each of his wonderfully accurate and always side-splitting reviews. And, yes, Pela does write many good ones.
But as a colleague said long ago: "Well, if you can't believe the bad reviews how can you believe the good ones?" Robrt, keep giving it to us all!
Jeff Thomson, Tempe
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SHOW ME HOW
We always have time to sneer, Gerry: I'm a playwright who has tried for years to get my plays done by Phoenix theater companies. Critics like Robrt Pela, Chris Curcio, Paul Braun, Chris McPherson, and Kyle Lawson have given new plays such slashing reviews that no theater companies want to do them.
Newspaper critics are too negative! Theater company directors are too uninvolved. Plays that come out of today's headlines could be done here if there was heart and will.
If you really want to help theater come alive, Robrt Pela, sheath your fangs and show you care about all the people in trouble in this city. We can't afford to sneer in such a violent world.
Gerry Hitt, Phoenix