STRESSED TO KILL
It is interesting to read the background of John Muhammad ["Meltdown," Oct. 30]. Although Rick Anderson does say: "Not everyone caught up in a messy divorce goes on a 23-day shooting rampage . . . ," he seems sympathetic to Muhammad because his ex-wife "disappeared with his children." Prior to disappearing, she had received a restraining order against Muhammad and he had abducted the children. Wouldn't her actions simply be a logical attempt to protect her children and herself from a dangerous man?
While the stresses in Muhammad's life are interesting to ponder, why is the press not focusing on the fact that he was trained to commit mass murder on command (i.e., as a soldier) and was a Gulf War veteran? It is only responsible to consider the implications for our society of training thousands of youths to use violence and murder to resolve conflicts. Should we be surprised that soldiers and veterans carry violence through into their private lives, when they are glorified as heroes for inflicting violence in foreign countries? It seems to me that when people are taught to commit murder on command, it is a very small mental switch to issue the command to oneself.
[Re "The Lost Heart," Oct. 30]: Does it surprise anyone that the only coverage given by our "leftist" media to the Paul Wellstone memorial was a 30-second segment of Jesse Ventura leaving the event in a huff? It seems Jesse had his "knickers in a twit" over the partisan tone of the service. "I felt violated!" were Ventura's actual words. Unusual comments from a guy who has spent the better part of his adult life tramping around in public in a leotard and feather boa. Nevertheless, Jesse may have a point: Celebrating the ideals and convictions of a man who believed in justice for all is probably inherently partisan.
NOSE-THUMBING THE COPS
I have a few suggestions for both sides of the issue of helping citizens understand the urban police experience ["Cops Up Against the Wall," Oct. 30]:
1. Let's recognize budgets are tight and that SPD may have held meetings in their facilities because they are accessible and pose no rental cost. If activists, coalitions, and community groups want SPD to bring their show on the road, provide a venue.
2. "Busy activists" may not be able to attend sessions on Friday afternoons, but police budgets may strain under the costs of paying overtime to staff for sessions held at other times. Activists might consider a condensed one-day session; SPD could send fewer representatives, thereby also addressing the concern that they far out-number participants.
3. While "voting with your feet" makes sense in some arenas, refusing to participate in an organized, scheduled informational presentation serves little purpose beyond nose-thumbing. Did anyone who refused to attend learn anything? Did any SPD representatives learn anything from those who did not appear?
DEAD MAN TALKING
Knute Berger has been the only other COINTELPRO- conscious, MLK- serious, intellectually hardball American—liberal or otherwise—that I've seen or heard besides myself for several years now. Although I've been methodically planning my expatriation, Berger has been the only voice that has not failed me as bare comfort in my mega-isolation.
"God is a Republican" [Mossback, "Bereft Left," Oct. 30]? Is it really so much easier to recast the God of Martin Luther King Jr. than it is to face the cold reality of Republican death squads triumphing over liberal milquetoast neglect?
Come back from the dead, Knute Berger.
Knute Berger repeats the familiar attacks on people who supported Ralph Nader in the last election [Mossback, "Bereft Left," Oct. 30]. In Florida the number of Democrats that voted for Bush outnumbered those that voted for Nader 10-to-1. But nobody ever calls them liars, idiots, or fascists.
I will never repent for voting for Nader, because why should one apologize for doing the right thing? I would like to hear somebody acknowledge that it wasn't the Nader voters that got us into this mess; it was crossover Democrats. I want to hear from some of those Democrats who voted for Bush. I want to see them tearing their garments and apologizing for putting little Alfred E. Hitler in charge.
I love Knute Berger and most of what he writes, but his Oct. 30 Mossback ["Bereft Left"] needs questioning. I would like him to reconcile two statements he makes: (1) Referring to Paul Wellstone, he says, " . . . there's one—count him, one—real liberal in the U. S. Senate . . . " and (2) "No difference between Bush and Gore? Anyone who still believes that lie from Nader's nadir is an unreconstructed imbecile. . . . "
As one of these "imbeciles," I suggest Berger consider that the Nader movement offered Democrats a reform platform the party refused to consider, and that the Democrats collaborated with the Republicans to keep Nader out of the debates so only those who made an effort got to hear his ideas. The Greens did nothing to Gore other than challenge him to be a Democrat. I chose to make a pro vote instead of the easy anti-Bush vote, because Nader offered the only vision worth supporting.
We "Naderites" were merely hoping the Democrats would get some spine to make Nader unnecessary. It should be no surprise when we lead in supporting Wellstone, McDermott, Kucinich, and, yes, Gore when they oppose the Bush madness. I'm still waiting to see if the party will support its own.
BUSH'S FREE RIDE
Great article [Mossback, "Bereft Left," Oct. 30]. But I have to tell you, the Bushies are getting so outrageous that we will have a swing back to the left sooner than people think. If only the media would stop giving Bush a free ride. I am glad there are people like Knute Berger out there.
Las Vegas, NV
THE "OTHER" QUEERS
Thanks for the great write-up [Nightlife Guide, "The Other Side of Gay," Oct. 30]. Steve Wiecking hit it just right as to the type of bar the Crescent is. Our motto is No B.S., and that's what you get in most gay bars lately.
We welcome all—gay, straight, or just a little off the ball. We all have problems in our lives, and EVERYONE needs a place to go and feel welcome. Our gay family may not be GQ types, but they are real people with real feelings and experiences.
Thank you for making people aware of what Seattle has to offer in "queer" bars.
Crescent Lounge DJ
KLIPSUN'S CROWN JEWEL
I read with delight Roger Downey's article "Queen of the Mountain" [Oct. 30]. Mr. Downey has captured the spirit of Klipsun Vineyard's Patricia Gelles and fellow passionate winegrowers. As the past executive director of the Oregon Wine Advisory Board, I had the pleasure to travel with and conduct several international trade shows with Ms. Gelles that showcased the wines of the Pacific Northwest. Indeed, she is a wonderful ambassador for the wines of the Northwest, displaying a keen wit and boundless enthusiasm. Part Auntie Mame, part punk rocker, she is one sassy and talented dame. God save the queen!
Christine Pascal Roth
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