Fear Factor

Death to the death penalty: Ray Krone's story ("Death Road," Robert Nelson, May 22), as disquieting as it is, certainly is not surprising. It is yet another glaring example of why we need a moratorium on the death penalty.

Sadly, we live in a society where being "tough on crime" means prosecutors feel compelled to seek the death penalty as an absolute. It doesn't matter whether the accused is innocent or guilty; in fact, it's almost irrelevant.

What seems to matter to prosecutors is portraying themselves to the voting public as being serious about fighting crime. And we, as a society, have declared the implementation of the death penalty as the ultimate display of that conviction.

Many of the worst atrocities in history have occurred because people became afraid: afraid of crime, afraid of other people, afraid of change. Society pays a high price for embracing fear. And capital punishment is a concept borne out of allowing fear to trump logic.

Kathleen H. O'Donnell
Fountain Hills

Street Walking

End of the road?: I read New Times online and have become addicted to La Calle. However, I am deeply heartbroken to see that the original author of this delightful column is no longer holding a quill. Qué lástima! Her unique take on the Mejicano culture was a breath of fresh air. La Calle will never be the same.

Pedro Hernandez
Los Angeles

Editor's note: La Calle columnist Silvana Salcido Esparza may still contribute to the paper occasionally, but has decided to focus on her booming restaurant, Barrio Cafe, and other projects.

Selling Short

Radio activity: The article on short-wave radio ("Covert Fuzz," Darren Keast, May 22) did not emphasize one of the most important advantages of listening to short-wave broadcasts. That is obtaining news from around the world and, thereby, learning how much is suppressed (censored) by our conservative press, conservative-controlled news media, conservative talk programs, and conservative politicians. Indeed, the only way to keep up with world events is through short-wave radio.

John Monkton


Belly flop: I thought Robrt L. Pela's column was insulting, prejudiced and unethical ("Belly Jelly," Speakeasy, May 8). He obviously went to Sinbad's with an attitude (predetermined) and asked questions (or made up answers) that suited his goal and portrayed the dance in an unflattering light. He did not pretend to represent the dance fairly, but this type of "journalism" is unfortunately very typical currently (sensational-type). If it's not crude, rude or immoral, no one will read it.

I, too, am a belly dancer (Tribal-style) and a professional (physician) and am proud of it.

Cathy V. Knisley, M.D.

Ab normal: I have not danced in years, but I love to see these individuals enjoying the art of belly dancing. This article started out as a joke (in my opinion) by the journalist, and the owner of Sinbad's did not help the situation by her remarks.

Women in Egypt did not bare their bodies. Very little skin was revealed. They danced for their dowries, and once they had them they never danced again. That is where the coins came from. They sewed them onto their garment as they earned the money.

The women who danced in brothels were a different situation. I taught belly dancing and performed for four or five years and I got away from it because so many people expected that lap dance or more.

Belly dancing has nothing to do with any of those things. It is an expression and interaction between dancer and musician. Some of the most incredible dancers I have seen and been taught by were men. Also, those bellies are nothing more than a very solid mass of muscle. All of that muscle control builds them up and the result is a tummy. Not many people appreciate or understand that, they simply say the person is fat. I would like to see the critics get up and do what that dancer is doing. They would not have the stamina to do so. These dancers are very strong physically, just not buff.

I felt the need to comment on this article because it is articles and attitudes like this that turned me away from dancing in public. I love the dance, the music and the camaraderie but I decided that so few appreciated the art that I would keep it to myself. Selfish? Maybe, but I refuse to listen to the demeaning remarks by those who are ignorant to the art form.

Terri Martin
Via e-mail

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