Sour Puss
Have New Times funsters run out of politicos (past and present) to poke fun at? Can't find anything funny about Joe or Fife this week? No schoolteachers or cops to pick on? Must be a real slow time of year; that's got to be the reason Red Meat cartoonist Max Cannon has taken aim at cats in the January 9 issue. For the life of me, I can't find anything funny about killing, skinning and beheading a cat. Is it me, or are there other decent, moral people out there who think this lack of humor is yet another sign of warped minds?

Far be it from me to suggest New Times practice responsible journalism. It's repeatedly shown an inability to do that. But is it asking too much to refrain from giving the resident wackos and sickos more nasty ideas? It's time New Times folks cracked open the Webster's and looked up the word "humor." They obviously just don't get it.

L.A. Hurst

Melting Pot
Having worked in the restaurant industry for more than 10 years, I've had the opportunity to meet and befriend many special people. Recently, I was blessed with the good fortune of becoming acquainted with Oscar Fuchslocher and Jennifer Mehall ("Closed Door Policy," Amy Silverman, January 9). Oscar and Jennifer frequent the restaurant where I work and always request to dine in my station. I've served thousands of couples before, but I can honestly say I've never seen two people more in love and more deserving of each other than Oscar and Jennifer. We should all be so lucky.

Now, Oscar sits in a jail cell unable to spend his first married holidays with his wife and his family because of some obviously unscrutinized law passed by Congress and signed by President Clinton giving the U.S. attorney general the sole rights to strip immigrants of any constitutional rights, more specifically, Fifth Amendment rights. I understand there is an immigration problem in this country, but is blatantly disregarding our country's Constitution, for which our country was founded, the answer? No!

Oscar Fuchslocher symbolizes what this country should be about. He came to America because he thought this was a place where he could make his dreams come true. He worked hard, paid his taxes, educated himself, and was ready to start a family when the power-hungry immigration service decided to make an example of him, regardless if he was married to a U.S. citizen. And if that's what this country is coming to, I'm embarrassed to be a citizen. The U.S. attorney general needs to release Fuchslocher immediately, emphatically apologize to him and reimburse him financially for the time he has been incarcerated. Of course, this will never replace the time these newlyweds lost, thanks to governmental stupidity, during their first year of marriage. Good luck, Oscar and Jen! Remember, in the end, love (not justice) will prevail.

Name withheld

Pokey Dokey
The person who works for Maricopa County Superior Court who agrees with John Mecklin's findings about Sheriff Joe Arpaio needs to find another job (Letters, January 9). If he's not happy doing what he's doing, move on! Let Arpaio be proud of his Tent City and chain gangs. There needs to be more sheriffs like Arpaio. Prisoners need to realize they're not on vacation. Cleaning the highways is great for Arizona, as is whatever else Arpaio has the prisoners do. I think torture is very far-fetched. And about aiding them: They get three hots and a cot. Correction means "discipline." Look it up.

Kenny Acuff

Viper Club
Tony Ortega must be commended for his article about Viper member Chuck Knight ("Sticking By His Guns," January 2). The article went a long way toward putting a human face on a person long maligned by a largely biased and ignorant mainstream media.

Having been very close to this case from the onset, and having attended the entire detention hearings from day one, I can say that Ortega has done his homework. As a former federal explosives and arson investigator, I can say without reservation that the case against Knight is not about justice. Rather, it is a vendetta by U.S. Attorney Janet Napolitano and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms.

Because President Bill Clinton and Attorney General Janet Reno wound up with egg on their faces for publicly stating that these people were plotting to blow up federal buildings, which soon proved to be utterly false, the government has waged an all-out campaign to make an example of the Vipers. To this end, the handling of this case has been orchestrated from Washington, D.C.

The Department of Justice has decreed that all the Vipers enter into a plea-bargain agreement in which each member, guilty or not, pleads guilty to multiple counts of conspiracy to manufacture and possess destructive devices. This plea agreement requires that all members serve federal prison time and be subject to enormous fines. In other words, they are to be made examples.

With the enormous government pressure, the public defenders in this case have caved in and advised their clients to plead guilty en masse. Most of those charged have pleaded guilty and are at the mercy of the federal judicial system. However, Charles Knight III has refused and is demanding a jury trial. Not only does Knight know that he is innocent of the charges, so does the government!

During the detention hearings in early July, ATF agent Steve Ott, under cross-examination, was forced to admit as much. Not only that, but when ATF agents served search warrants on the homes of the alleged Vipers, they did not search Knight's home. They didn't search it because they knew full well that he possessed nothing illegal.

Chuck Knight is 47 years old. He has served three years active duty in the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and eight years as a military policeman in the Active Reserves. For the past 16 years, he has owned and operated Knight Air Conditioning Service. As a former deacon in the Northwest Christian Church and at one time on the board of directors of the Arizona Breakfast Club, Knight is considered a pillar of the community. Chuck has no criminal record whatever, not even a traffic ticket. Although the government and many in the news media attempted to paint him as a white supremacist, this blew up in their faces when his church pastor, a black man, stood up for him in court.

Most people are familiar with the phrase, "Justice is blind." What they don't realize is that justice in America is also very expensive. To that end, a legal defense fund has been set up for Chuck Knight. Knight desperately needs financial help for his legal defense. All funds will be used strictly for this purpose. There will be no allocation of collected moneys for any purpose other than actual legal expenses. Contributions may be sent to: Charles Knight Legal Defense Fund, account number 14928432, Bank One, 4922 East Bell, Scottsdale, AZ 85254.

Richard L. Sherrow

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