Letters From the Issue of Thursday, September 27, 2007


C’mon, Fred: What a ridiculous argument Fred Goldman makes for publishing O.J. Simpson's garbage book ("Snuff Book," The Bird, September 20)! As if, in so doing, he's going to help women in abusive relationships. Please!

The real reason for Goldman's pushing the book is obvious. He wants to make loads of money! O.J.'s protected from having to pay out the millions Goldman and his family won because he lives in a state, Florida, that doesn't recognize the lawsuit judgment they won in California, and Goldman has to profit off his son Ron's death somehow. That's what fathers do, right?

I'm just happy that O.J. has managed to get himself thrown in jail in Las Vegas. It should have happened after he murdered Ron Goldman and Nicole Simpson, but better late than never.
John Riley, Phoenix


They’re called children for a reason: Has anyone considered placing the blame for what happened on this trip on the students ("Eurotrashed," Megan Irwin, September 13)? It was the students who decided to go out and get drunk every night to the point where they were falling down.

If it's anyone else's fault, it's the parents' for not teaching their kids control. In today's high schools, kids go out every weekend and get just as drunk as do kids in Europe. I know, because not only do I know some of these kids, I was a part of this a couple of years ago.

The parents are only trying to find excuses to not to blame their children, when their kids acted like a bunch of 2-year-olds in another part of the world. I was a student on one of Angie DiMaggio's trips, and we never had any of the problems that they had on this trip.

It's not the teacher's fault.

Parents are told ahead of time that there is drinking over there and that this is not a school-sponsored trip. If the parents didn't like that, they shouldn't have let their kids go. The parents need to take responsibility and not try to blame someone else who is trying to give the kids an experience of a lifetime.
Nolan Plese, Mesa

Mamma D: candidate for sainthood?: I want to start with saying that I have sympathy for those who had to witness some of these events. I see both sides of this story and can understand why some parents would be very frustrated and angry. If my kid got knocked out with a golf club, you'd better believe that I would be enraged.

However, parents need to take a good look at themselves and their kids before letting them go on a trip like this. They need to realize that accidents can/will happen and that Mamma D can't watch all 80 students at one time.

If the parents feel that there needs to be more parents/chaperones on the trip, then they need to either speak up or choose to not let their child go on the trip. Parents, if your kids are 18, then they are considered adults, and they should behave like adults, no matter what country they're in. They need to be responsible for their actions and not blame them on others.

I personally know about 1,000 students who have gone on Mamma D's trips, and none has ever had an experience like this. D would never, ever put one of her students in harm's way on purpose and would sacrifice her own life to protect others. On the trip I was on, she treated us as her own.

Angie DiMaggio is someone who made going to school a privilege, not a chore. Mamma D is loved by thousands and thousands of students, teachers, and parents, and most will never stop loving her.
Robert Wietzema, Mesa

Party on, Zac: As an '06 Dobson High School grad, I was invited on Mamma D's trip. Money was an issue, but I could have made it happen if I really wanted to. I declined because I knew many of the kids going and felt that I would have a different idea of a good time from what they would. I enjoy art, culture and history — not partying.

The parents who are insisting that Mrs. DiMaggio is responsible need to keep in touch with their kids better. High school graduates, and even those in their senior year, are responsible for their actions; and the next level of incumbency lies with their parents, not their tour-guides.
Zac Wood, Chandler

Words of wisdom from Deutschland: This article is horrible and probably not neutral coverage about the events that happened. It's very persuasive and leads to the overall opinion that study trips should not be offered to young adults — or, as Europe regards them, adults.  

I am from Germany, where drinking is legal at age 16. And most people whom I know are aware of their drinking limits by age 17. They puked out their soul at one point in their lives, and now they know how much alcohol they can handle.

Now, if young adults never were able to get even close to alcohol, and all of a sudden, they can buy as much as they want, they're tempted to have as much fun as possible. Because they know that after they return to the United States, they won't be able to legally drink for three more years.

I don't think it's the job of the tour leader to stop the teenagers from drinking. I think that, at age 18, the teenagers should think rationally enough to drink with responsibility. It's the job of the parents to explain that one glass of wine won't kill you, but if you overdo it, you will become more aggressive, less aware of what you're doing, and you'll lose inhibitions.

On this trip, the students had new freedoms, and they weren't able to handle them. That's really sad. Now, I don't believe that 18-year-old Europeans are more mature than Americans, but I just don't see them puking as much in European capitals. I guess alcohol is not that exciting here because it's nothing special.

I hope the article doesn't scare the students away from participating in student-travel programs. In my opinion, it's good to have itchy feet and want to explore the world. Horrifying newspaper articles shouldn't stop globetrotters from fulfilling their dreams.

Drinking, drugs, and sex: Thank you so much for bringing this information into the public eye. I went on Ms. DiMaggio's Europe trip in 2002 (when I was 16), and it was a horrible experience. Yes, I got to see some great sights, but we spent nowhere near 15 hours a day in museums and learning facts. It was more like two hours and then off to do whatever you want, which usually included drinking, doing drugs, and engaging in sexual activity.

My parents definitely wouldn't have let me go if they'd had any idea what would go on. When I told them about the trip (mind you, only what I wasn't too embarrassed to share), they were astounded.
Name withheld by request

We’d hide our name, too, if we thought like you: Hindsight is 20/20. I'm sure that, looking back, Ms. D would have added more chaperones had she had any reason to believe she needed more. She has been taking our kids over to Europe for many years without any incidents.

I always felt she had our kids' best interest at heart and went over many safety concerns before their departure. I went to several of the meetings before the trip and wasn't under any impression that our kids wouldn't be going out at night, or that they wouldn't be going to some nightclubs. I believe Ms. D specifically mentioned the club in Italy.

Evan Bailey didn't deserve the senseless, brutal attack that night in Italy. He was merely standing in the wrong place at the wrong time. Thank God he is alive and will hopefully make a full recovery soon. My son could have met that same fate. We live in a scary world these days. There are bad people in every country. Did the young Italian boy think nothing bad would happen if he went after someone with a golf club? By all accounts, it was premeditated, and hopefully he will pay for the heartache he has caused Evan and all who love him.

Passports tours didn't give the group all they thought they paid for. Passports should have bent over backward to help the Bailey family get critical information and transportation to Italy. The trip had its conflicts. Evan's attack was gut-wrenching. But despite these things, I feel that many of the kids on the trip felt they'd had the trip of a lifetime.
Name withheld by request

And, finally, a voice of reason: I just finished reading your "Eurotrashed" story and felt compelled to respond. I've read New Times for years, and I've often been awed, amazed, appalled, moved to tears, and even disgusted by some of your articles. This is why I continue to read it, the gut-level reporting and the diverse topics that never appear in the mainstream media, which I personally feel is nothing more than the feeding tube by which the public receives its daily dose of bullshit.

That said, this is the first time in 10-plus years I've ever been moved to the point of responding in any way.  

The parents who are blaming Passport for the disastrous tour are doing so in an attempt to avoid accepting the fact that they misjudged the competency of the woman with whom they trusted their kids. Shame on them for not doing their homework on the reputation of the prior trips run by Angie DiMaggio.

The bulk of the blame remains on the shoulders of DiMaggio. She is in a place of trust and respect because of her title as a teacher. She had a good run for the 14 years when nothing really bad happened. It was only a matter of time.
Name withheld by request

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