Keep your eyes on the road: My daughter, who's an ASU student, read your cartoon story on Jesus as an illegal immigrant to me while we drove from Tempe to Paradise Valley ("The Passion of El Cristo," Jim Mahfood and Stephen Lemons, September 14). I can tell you we laughed out loud and giggled our butts off.
Steve Lemons' caricatures are so true. Steve is dead right on all the racism. The politicians deserve everything he handed out to them and more.
We especially loved the Corona and lime, water-to-wine analogy, and of course the endless humor and skill he and Jim Mahfood possess in verbally and pictorially exposing all the hurtful and harmful generalizations about Mexican people and culture. Arizonans and the world need to open their hearts and minds and remember the real reason we have been born into this world to love each other.
Well done. Freedom of the press is actually alive and well in Phoenix at New Times.
Patricia Kerr, Paradise Valley
Dan the Man
Happiness is a warm gun: I read your "Killer Candidate" article (Sarah Fenske, September 7) and found it interesting from several standpoints. Before I get into anything here, I want to state that I do not take anyone's side.
My wife and I are gun owners (self-defense purposes only), and we also have concealed-carry permits. In Arizona, an individual without any felony convictions or a domestic-violence history can legally own and openly carry a firearm. If you register and take a concealed-weapons-permit class, then pass the background investigation, Arizona will issue you a concealed-weapon permit. There are obviously stipulations to where you are allowed to carry a concealed weapon.
The legal issues are greatly stressed in the class; one of the first topics covered is "What if I shoot someone?" The main item here is, it absolutely must be in self-defense, which means you feel your life, or anyone's life, is in imminent danger. You may not defend your property only yours or someone else's physical well-being.
You must shoot to kill; if not, you can and will be charged with the anti-maiming law, and you will go to jail. If the attacker survives, they have the option to file charges against you under the anti-maiming law; this is why law enforcement members are trained in shoot to kill and load with extremely lethal hollow-point rounds.
If, in the line of self-defense, you shoot and kill someone, you can expect to be questioned by law enforcement, and possibly arrested. At the time law enforcement arrives on the scene, you will be required to surrender your firearm, you will inform them you shot the attacker in self-defense, and then you are strongly advised to invoke your Miranda rights. Law enforcement may become upset, but its job is not to help you; it is required to get as much information from you as possible in order to aid in any potential prosecution.
You are always advised to speak with an attorney as soon as possible. Once you invoke Miranda, law enforcement may not question you further. Does this make you look guilty? Maybe yes, maybe no. Crime-scene technicians will be able to tell if you acted in self-defense. Acting in self-defense will not get you arrested and prosecuted, but you can expect to be sued.
Hopefully, this may help fill in some of the blanks on why Dan Coleman immediately invoked his Miranda rights, as well as help shed some light on why he did not go to jail.
Name withheld by request
Rumor-mongers: Regarding your piece on Daniel Coleman, my fiancé, I realize that informing the public is no longer the purpose of newspapers; you are in the entertainment business. I do understand your need to sensationalize Dan's story.
With that said, I had hoped you might have written a balanced piece, or fully explained the "rumors" you included in your piece.
The local man who threatened to go after Dan's truck with a baseball bat did go after his truck with a baseball bat. It was only after he had smashed out Dan's windows that Dan pulled out his gun. As soon as he stopped beating on the truck, Dan put the gun away and called the police.
In another run-in with the same "local man," the man brought a gun to a bar saying he intended to kill Dan. Dan let this "local" know that he was armed as well. Dan actually ended up driving the man home that evening because he was too drunk to drive himself.
These are not the actions of a bully.
Annette Chalker chose to drive drunk (with her two young children in the car), to steal an air compressor off a secluded ranch, very close to the Mexican border. Upon finding that the air compressor had been moved inside, she chose to break into a locked house, which belonged to a gun-store owner and avid collector of firearms. Dan simply met an intruder in his living room with the intention of protecting his family, his property and his life. But for Annette's choices, she would still be alive today. Her family has suffered; that is a tragedy. However, they have suffered from Annette's actions, not Dan's.
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
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
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
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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