Salute to Saucier
Thank you for the excellent article on Ken Saucier in the July 28 issue ["Officer Down"]. Philip Dawdy did an excellent job capturing the essence of Officer Saucier.
Officer Saucier was an outstanding speaker. The several times he was a guest speaker at the Boeing Employees Rifle and Pistol Club meetings were enlightening. His topics ranged from Seattle politics to Seattle Police Department operations, the Seattle Police Officers Guild, Second Amendment issues, and always a mention of his enjoyment (love?) of competitive shooting. The attentive audience always got straight answers and left the meeting better informed. Officer Saucier will be deeply missed by his friends in BER&PC.
Secretary, Boeing Employees Rifle and Pistol Club, Seattle
The profile of the recently deceased Ken Saucier was understandably light-handed under the circumstances, but there is no getting around the fact that he was the personification of the public relations problems the police possess in many parts of the city, and how undisputed power corrupts one's personal philosophy ["Officer Down," July 28].
Police in general are a paranoid bunch, on reflex targeting minorities for immediate suspicion. A black or Hispanic out on the street after the sun goes down can only mean crime is afoot, especially if they are alone. The mostly innocent as well as the few guilty are caught in this web of suspicion, and displays of intimidation and harassment are just minor inconveniences that cops expect innocent people to tolerate; after all, unarmed civilians could have been shot dead so that their side of the story would never be told.
Saucier's "I told you so" approach to justifying police paranoia is the engine that runs the farcical inquest procedure and opposition to meaningful civilian oversight. "Kick us in the shins" if police do anything wrong —except that you'll get arrested if you do.
Upon reading Douglas Wolk's review of the new Ken Stringfellow record, I was shot back to my high-school creative writing class [Smallmouth, "Losing the Plot," July 28]. The teacher explained to me what has to happen in a short story: He said, "What you have here is slice of life. To keep the readers' interest, we need conflict and resolution."
That fucker. "We hope your rules and wisdom choke you" (Thom Yorke).
Wolk's assassination of one of the top three songwriters in the history of this city is suspicious and odd. Soft Commands is a pop record. Stringfellow has never claimed (as far as I know) to be more than a pop performer. Michael Stipe said he figured out early on that he could make people cry by singing lines out of the phone book. (Sound like any former Posies we know . . . ?) He also said that no one would ever know for sure what his lyrics meant but himself.
As for Soft Commands itself, Wolk is way off base. It is a record that sets a tone for a new era of pop. Its peers are Wilco's A Ghost Is Born and the Flaming Lips' Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots. Perhaps Wolk hasn't noticed the welcome return of sentimentality and understatement to pop music.
The Weekly should be ashamed of itself for printing such a negative review of a guy who is such a nurturing influence among the music community.
Douglas Wolk responds: In what alternate universe was that a negative review? I was talking about an interesting thing that Soft Commands does, not dissing it. And I don't care what kind of influence Stringfellow is in the community; what I care about is his album. Which is swell, incidentally.
Creation Fest: No Drunks
Apparently Mike McGonigal has been terribly misinformed; none of his comments comes close to describing the Creation Festival ["Creation Festival West 2004," July 21]. My husband and I and my sister-in-law attended, and we are well beyond the teen-to-20-something crowd. We weren't alone, either; there were many of us from the "over-40 crowd." The music was far from "bland on blond"; perhaps McGonigal has a prejudice that prevented him from giving an authentic report, or perhaps he's never attended. Either way, I would give high recommendations for the festivals to come.
As far as being highly profitable, where else can you camp, attend numerous concerts, listen to various speakers, plus so much more for under $90 for four days? If the type of music offends McGonigal, think of this: The people listening to this music are not out doing drugs, burglarizing homes and businesses, or wreaking havoc in their neighborhoods. They are growing closer to God and becoming caring, civilized human beings. Not one time during the weekend did I have to listen to foul, unnecessary language, nor did I have to breathe secondhand smoke (cigarette or pot). I didn't have drunks falling all over me. It was an enjoyable weekend. Next year we plan on attending and taking a large group; perhaps McGonigal would like to join us?
Creation Fest: No Belly Buttons
I had just returned home from the Creation Festival when I stumbled upon Mike McGonigal's article "Creation Festival West 2004" [July 21]. After reading it, I wondered if he had ever attended the festival, and if so, how he could see the opposite of what I did. He gave readers the idea that only a bunch of rebel teens "with pierced belly buttons, big tribal arm tattoos, and deep pockets" attended. First of all, I didn't see many belly buttons showing due to the "modesty rule," so how would he know that all of us teens have belly-button piercings? Second, most people didn't have tattoos, unless he meant henna tattoos, but I don't think that could be used to portray everyone as rebels. Third, I didn't see just teenagers. I saw families. I saw young children all the way up to senior citizens. I saw 50,000 people from different backgrounds come together in one safe environment to listen to and enjoy music that doesn't advertise sex, drugs, and suicide.
Another thing I couldn't understand was how McGonigal could give the impression that the event was merely to make money. All the CDs were discounted and beat store prices by far. There was even a band whose CDs were sold for donations. Good grief, you could pay one buck if you wanted! Can McGonigal please explain how he could see something so different than I did? How he could see only rebel kids and gold-digging businessmen when I saw people who actually cared about each other?
Post Falls, ID
Thanks for Helping Geov
Thank you for supporting Geov Parrish in describing his insurance/financial dilemma to Seattle Weekly readers ["My Life Between the Cracks," July 21]. As a medical social worker and a person with a chronic illness, I know well the problems that Geov faced. Not everyone is able to afford the premiums that the state's high-risk pool charges for those not on Medicare, so we have a crazy system of patchwork coverage that leads to poverty, despair, and medical crises for those afflicted by chronic or acute illness and lack of insurance or money.
It's hard to manage any serious illness without routine health care and the tools to understand and treat it. I hope more Americans will understand the true cost of the lack of system we have. Everyone should be entitled to join the same health care plan that federal employees have, and if they need a subsidy or tax credit to afford it, then that should be granted. We are paying far too much both personally and collectively—in terms of financial costs and suffering—for health care that has the potential to do a lot of good if everyone could access it.
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