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Polemic Position

To the Editor,

Regarding "Border Billing" (June 3): The first item I would like you to address is a public statement by your paper as to the unprofessional, inaccurate, deliberately misrepresented and biased account of my telephone interview by Chris Limberis. I would really like you to address his motive in so doing, if at all possible. Differences of opinion are one thing and many times constructive, but this?

His first shot at me (pun intended) was to write: "He has nearly shot Mexicans who have crossed the border and wandered onto his property."

That is all he wanted your readers to know about an incident that I went into great detail with him about, concerning an event that took place two years ago, when two men, who turned out to be Hispanic, came walking down my driveway toward my house one evening when I was home alone with my two daughters, ages 8 and almost 3.

Because of the remoteness of my home and the fact that the two visitors were strangers to me, I went into my front yard carrying a shotgun. Another factor that affected my caution in dealing with these two individuals was that, in the past, I have let numerous Hispanics fill their water jugs with water from my faucets when they so requested. These two guys were not carrying any jugs at all, had nothing in their hands. They just came striding purposefully down my driveway, shoulder to shoulder.

When they were close enough to hear me, I called out in Spanish, "Good afternoon. What do you want?"

They did not reply; not one word. Just kept advancing.

Up to that point I had been holding the shotgun very casually, keeping it pointed toward the ground, just cradled in my arms.

I called out to them again, "What do you want?" Still no reply of any kind. Still advancing toward me.

I then shifted the gun into a more threatening position -- but still not pointed at them -- and switched into somewhat stronger language, still in Spanish, telling them to stop, to go away, that I didn't want them on my property. Again, no reply, just hard stares. Still advancing.

My two little girls were watching all of this from the front window of my house.

I then used strong Spanish profanity, demanding that they stop and go away. Still no reply, still approaching.

When they got to within about 20 feet of me they separated, attempting to get on either side of me.

I couldn't let that happen.

I raised the gun, pointed it squarely at the chest of the one who seemed to be the nearest and meanest-looking and called out, "Adios, Mojado." At that point their knowledge of the Spanish language seemed to reassert itself. They both turned and retreated the way they had come. Never during the entire course of this event did either of them speak one word to me.

Strange? You should have been here.

Did I overreact? You should have been here.

So...it appears that I did indeed "...nearly shoot Mexicans who 'wandered' onto my property." Limberis just neglected to tell you why, even though I had told him all of the above.

Do you really want someone like him writing articles for your paper?

Point number two: He said that, "He (referring to me) has a four-point plan to make his world a better place." I said nothing of the sort, and I really object to his use of the word "his." Talk about an attempt to inflame!

Make no mistake: I am against illegal immigration. I would like to see it stopped, and yeah, with "whatever it takes to stop it," and I would like to see all illegal immigrants who are now in this country returned to their country of origin. I don't care what color you are, what language you speak, what country you are from: if you are here illegally, you shouldn't be here at all.

That stand has nothing to do with racism; it has to do with obeying the laws of this nation. I greatly resent being labeled a racist. I am not.

Limberis wrote that I said that I want to "impose really hard sanctions on Mexico and its leaders." He just made that one up. What I said was, "I would like to see really hard sanctions imposed on the corporations and individuals in this country who hire the illegal aliens, so that they would not have the allure, many times not factual, of a well-paying job once they 'make it across.' "

The rest of the article was devoted to my e-mail to the TUSD governing board concerning an article I had seen out of California where a guy named Harold Martin was asking the Anaheim Union High School District what they thought about perhaps billing Mexico $50 million for the cost of educating Mexico's children who are in that district illegally.

In my e-mail to TUSD, I simply asked that as long as they are going to allow the children who are here illegally to attend our schools, maybe they could also ask Mexico for some money to pay for the cost of educating them.

I knew this would never come about, which is why I didn't bother to pose the question to my own school district. I just wanted to somehow make a few people wonder if we really have a responsibility to educate children who are citizens of another country and are here illegally, when we are constantly told that our schools are short of textbooks, teachers, classrooms and other educational assets.

And, yeah, I told Limberis that Justice Brennan relied on faulty logic when he explained why it was important for us to educate these kids -- he just forgot to mention how his logic was flawed. Oh, well.

Even in those cases where Limberis' reporting was fairly factual, it was couched in terms to deliberately slant the meaning. What he did, and I think you can see it as well as I, was to make sure that anything that opposed his beliefs and opinions was presented in a way to discredit me and my views.

Is that OK with you?

-- Richard Humphries

Memory Lane

To the Editor,

I was quite taken with your recent articles on Sedona ("Paradoxical Paradise" and "Crystal Clearinghouse," June 24). I find all of this new crystal-gazing, head-bobbing, UFO-hunting, alien-hugging culture in Sedona to be vastly amusing.

I was born in Cottonwood and grew up in the Verde Valley. This was the early '60s. In all of that time I never saw a single alien or UFO and never experienced any harmonic convergences. To me Sedona was evil. My dentist, Dr. Mengele, worked in Sedona, and I felt nothing but fear every time my mom headed the car north. The town at that time had a handful of shops and a lot of nothing. Now it appears to have a bunch of shops but still a lot of nothing. Cornville was quaint with about four families. Too bad about the trailers.

I must admit there may be something to all of this New Age mysticism. It always seemed to me that, the dental nightmares aside, Sedona was some sort of "elephants' graveyard" where old folks went to die. I know this because several of mine managed to end up there in an exclusive old folks' mobile home park. We weren't allowed to call them trailers. It was also quite popular among retired military, including one who was reputed to have a tank in his garage. Hopefully all of those military retirees are dead. I don't think they would get along well with the New Agers.

-- Brian Peck

Raleigh, North Carolina

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