JUNKIE LACKS CREDIBILITY
Geov Parrish is sometimes right on the mark, but his column on OxyContin ["A Junkie's Confession," Dec. 20] is so far off the mark that it completely undermines his credibility and, by extension, the Weekly's.
He completely fails to mention that OxyContin users crush the pills as a way to defeat the time-release mechanism and produce the sought-after high. Abusers then snort or even inject the drug. These facts have been featured in virtually every article I've ever seen on OxyContin.
Either Mr. Parrish has simply not read the media stories he is so quick to criticize, or he has deliberately chosen to suppress these facts because they would undermine the point he wished to make. Either way, this doesn't do much for his credibility.
Equally bizarre is his contention that there must not be any crime wave associated with OxyContin because it has not been reported in the stories he has read. Let's put aside the unproven assumption that drug abuse equals crime wave, and let's assume that he has actually read the stories in question; his contention would be that if something has not been reported in the media, it must not be happening.
Mr. Parrish also fails to consider that part of the pattern of OxyContin abuse is the willingness of doctors to prescribe it and look the other way when patients abuse it. If Mr. Parrish really believes that this doesn't happen, he is hopelessly naive. And he would be ignoring the real "crime wave"—medical corruption.
Rather than deal with the complexities of the problem, Mr. Parrish suggests a false choice—ban the drug altogether, or change nothing and accept whatever level of abuse currently exists. I guess if you have that kind of black-and-white view, the facts he ignores would just get in the way.
ANGRY & AFFRONTED
Hungry & Thirsty's ambush and mauling of Aladdin on the Square Restaurant in [their] Dec. 13 column was an unwarranted jolt of irresponsible journalism.
Aladdin on the Square Restaurant is a new locally run business trying to thrive in difficult times. It has carved out a reputation as an excellent neighborhood lunch spot during the week and as a jam-packed weekend hot spot offering some of the finest Mediterranean dancing, food, and music around.
We have never heard of a restaurant/ bar receiving so harsh an indictment, particularly from guests who attended a celebration party before the restaurant was even open to the public. Upon hearing the news of "Drinkgate," we immediately demoted the employee in question and tried to invite Hungry & Thirsty back for a second look-see after the restaurant opened and had a few weeks to work out kitchen and staffing kinks. Normal procedure, we thought, for writers who cover restaurants and bars.
But we never heard from them until last week's mean-spirited column, which also offered a not-so-veiled sexual slander of co-owner Dr. Michael Arsheed's wife.
We hope in the future local business is not treated as rudely as we have been by Seattle Weekly.
Ekram Almussa and Dr. Michael Arsheed
Aladdin on the Square Restaurant Owners
NOT A COMIC ISSUE
I was intrigued to see in the Dec. 13 [comic strip] This Modern World, Tom Tomorrow wringing his hands over the collapse of "the seemingly entrenched U.S. Constitution and its terrorist-friendly system of checks and balances." So few Americans know what the purpose of the Constitution and Bill of Rights is (to protect individuals from government), or how it came about that we have a Constitution (after a long bloody revolt to end tyranny, a new form of government was carefully crafted to prevent tyranny and give the people the means to alter or abolish government should it take a tyrannical turn). I am heartened that a few more liberals now realize why we have a Second Amendment. A government afraid to trample on people's rights is far less likely to do so.
LOUNGING AT THE LIBRARY
I frequent the main branch [of the library] in downtown Everett. I usually go after work in the evenings and have never observed any behavior that is out of the ordinary [see "Unsafe Harbor," Dec. 13].
Yesterday I [went] to the library around 10 a.m. I was astounded at the amount of homeless adults gathered around tables. Some were reading the paper, discussing magazine articles; others were perusing the aisles looking for books. I witnessed no misconduct. I can understand why the library must be a haven for these people who may have no home or job to go to. Public rest rooms, public telephones, comfortable chairs. Books. A place to go to that meets (some) basic needs and provides an escape into the "other" world of words. . . .
Many times I've taken refuge in books. Sixteen months ago, I fled a chaotic situation and relied upon friends who provided a home where I found peace and refuge. Within that quiet time, changes took place within me . . . that allowed me to understand how to see, and then change, self- destructive behaviors and patterns.
I am not writing with solutions to the homeless dilemma; I agree that drug and alcohol abuse and sexual misconduct have no place in the Seattle Library or any other library. But I am grateful that the [library] employees are compassionate to the plight of these people that live on the fringe of society yet are a large part of our society!
Seattle's downtown library, in its warm and fuzzy aspiration to double as a drop-in day center for the homeless, is sliding down the behavioral sink ["Unsafe Harbor," Dec. 13]? And Laurie Brown, that library's head of operations, finds herself "walking a fine line" in holding the homeless to some minimal bourgeois standards of decorum without becoming "too coldhearted."
Your piece reminded me of a charmingly Seattle incident I witnessed in the mid-70s, after moving here from Chicago. I was having dinner in Belltown when two wasted, filthy street creatures stumbled in and bellied up to the bar. They ordered wine. The mae d' tried to talk them into a change of venue, pointing out that the wine would be $4 per glass. They must have been flush with GAU checks. They decided to educate their palates with an unfortified Beaujolais Nouveau while the other patrons tried not to look on in horror, and I sat picturing what short work the staff of such a place in Chicago would have made of them.
ATOMIC BOMB NO ATROCITY
A phrase in the Dec. 13 review of the book The Ash Garden ["Nuclear Family"] jumped out at me: " . . . an atrocity—the bombing of Hiroshima. . . ."
A tragedy yes, an atrocity no. More Japanese were maimed and killed in the firebombings of Tokyo than [in] the atomic bombings. The atomic drops not only stopped the "conventional" bombings but negated the need for the planned invasion of Japan by which a million deaths were predicted.
There were THREE nations working on the atomic bomb; the U.S., Germany, and Japan. In fact one of Germany's last gasps was to attempt to ship by submarine atomic materials and technical data to Japan.
Thank God we won the race. Imagine the horror of living under either Nazi Germany or militaristic Japan. Neither would have shrunk from using it as the Germans did not shrink from the Holocaust nor the Japanese from so many atrocities.
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