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Society Needs to Stop Creating Victims for Life

To the Editor,

It's about time! Thank you for your cover story "Men Who Get Hurt" (April 10). And yes, this letter comes to you from a woman who realizes that domestic violence is not only a men's problem but also (and very seriously) a women's problem.

Your story shed light on the reality of how domestic violence occurs, and how it is treated by society and the courts. It did not mention, however, that after a divorce, and after one parent (almost always the mother--sometimes without cause) receives sole custody of the children, the vicious cycle continues, often stirred by the mother. Social organizations that help battered women, the legal system and the judges who make life-changing decisions regarding these cases need to WAKE UP and realize they themselves are helping continue the cycle of violence by making some of these women "victims for life." Now it is not only the ex-spouse who suffers, but the children as well--at the hands of their angry custodial parent.

The fact of the matter is that unless society, the courts and the social organizations that stand up against domestic violence realize women are also capable of committing domestic violence--whether it be during a relationship or after a relationship--things are never going to change, and good men and their children will continue to suffer.

--Carolina Aguirre


It's Clear: Men Abuse Far More Than Women

To the Editor,

Deidre Pike's cover story, "Men Who Get Hurt," is remarkably misinformed. It may be hard to know who is telling the truth in "domestic frays," but domestic violence body counts, shelter stays and hospital visits go a long way toward clearing up the uncertainty. So do the hundreds of studies that bother to ask whether the aggression was offensive or defensive, or caused injury, or involved sexual assault. So do all of the studies by the federal government.

No one ever said that women are not capable of violence, but it is undeniable that men perpetrate the vast majority of violent crimes in the United States. How does denying this reality do anything to further our understanding of human violence?

Domestic violence is a pattern of behavior that includes abuse and attempts to control one's partner. It is very rarely mutual combat. It is very much a gendered phenomenon, with heterosexual men being the abusers in the vast majority of cases. As anyone who has ever looked at the research on abusers knows that heterosexual male batterers talk a lot about how their need to shore up their sense of masculinity motivates their violence, and how sexist stereotypes about women help to provide a handy vocabulary of excuses and justifications. A handful of anecdotes cannot refute the plentiful research on this subject, and one might ask why anyone would try to create the impression that they can or should.

None of Pike's sources are reputable domestic violence scholars, although all are noted for their anti-feminist activism. Reports that domestic violence is somehow sex-symmetrical are not supported by the research.

Those who seek to draw attention to abused men by providing misinformation do these men a great disservice by creating the appearance of an ideologically driven assault on feminism rather than simply creating and providing research and services tailored to these men.

Those who deny that men are served by sexual assault and domestic violence organizations also do men a grave disservice by discouraging them from contacting organizations that, in reality, do provide the services men and women request. Feminists are responsible for the existence of domestic violence and rape crisis services in the United States. Attempts to dismiss these contributions to knowledge and services around abuse are at best disingenuous.

--Molly Dragiewicz


The System Protects Female Abusers

To the Editor,

I am grateful to finally read any acknowledgement about female-on-male violence. Unfortunately, the violence I endured was much more severe than any of the profiles you presented. But even more damaging than the physical abuse were the local judicial and social service programs that are set up to protect battered women and children from abusive men.

Abusive women can easily manipulate the system to inflict infinitely more damage on their partners than just the humiliation of broken noses and scissors attacks. Thank you for presenting a holistic view of this issue.

--Joseph Damron


Society Shuns Women More Than Men

To the Editor,

"Why does society often turn its back on abused men?"

Because men are not disenfranchised by society in the way that women are. Because male victims make up such a small percentage of domestic violence. (Please do accurate research when talking about statistical evidence.) Because during divorce and separation, the average man's income increases, and women with their children are more often than not left living below the poverty line. (There are statistics on that if you care to do some real research.) Because a high percentage of female domestic violence victims are also raped and sexually abused by their husbands, while this does not occur with male victims. I could go on and on.

To write an article as if men and women, as victims of violence, are equal--that they have the same access to societal power (be it via the court system, the media, etc.)--is short-sighted and ignorant.

Where do you get your writers these days? Maxim Magazine?

--Jessica Monthony


Welcome to Conspiracy Theory Corner

To the Editor,

Renée Downing's column ("A Fine Line," April 3) hit the nail squarely. She missed one frighteningly bumpy road, however. Or perhaps she left it to our imaginations.

Why did the non-thinking portion of the American population follow Bush into war? Going to war in Iraq was the reason for the World Trade Center extravaganza. What better way to get the attention of the bored American people, make them even more fearful and make them want to eliminate Saddam Hussein? Saddam had no connection to the Sept. 11 terrorists, but who cares?

"The shadowy junta made up of rich men" knew well that the majority of us wouldn't bother to notice a little thing like that. I believe that a genuine, politically-unbiased investigation (where's that special prosecutor when you need him?) into the funding of the Sept. 11 terrorists would find a lot of the funding coming from the "shadowy junta," perhaps only laundered through Saudi Arabia.

It worked as well as they planned, didn't it?

--Karen R. MacLeish


Renée Downing's Biggest Fan

To the Editor,

Every once in a while, I like to pick up a copy of The Weekly to read crap journalism. Renée Downing's column, "A Fine Line" (April 3) exemplifies this type of journalism!

Is Renée out of touch with reality or is she a complete idiot? Is she such a left-wing liberal fool who does not know what is really going on, or is she on drugs?

Her claim that American children are dying to enrich Texas oilmen indicates that she is not aware of the fact the people in our military are MEN and WOMEN who joined an all-volunteer military and were not drafted. They were not forced, coerced or coaxed to join and fight for this country. And just exactly who are these Texas oilmen making millions off this war? We have more oil coming from Oklahoma, California, Alaska and off-shore than Texas. We don't stand to profit from any Iraqi oil. But we do stand to profit by making our country safer from Saddam-sponsored terrorism.

If Renée considers protecting our country a stupid reason for getting into a war, then she is a dumbass. We are protecting it from future terrorism acts sponsored by Saddam. She doesn't think Saddam Hussein isn't scary because she has not been tortured by him.

The most asinine statement she makes is how the World Trade Center hijackers were armed with ONLY box cutters. Yes, you f-cking airhead, they were. But they used those passenger jets filled with thousands of gallons of highly volatile jet fuel to murder thousands of people.

When Renée refers to a man as too dumb to lie, I assume she means President Bush. Well, he graduated from Yale. Where did Renée graduate from, and what kind of degree(s) does she have? If she had a fraction of the intelligence and brains of any of the people who run this country, she wouldn't be working for the Tucson Weekly.

Renée, you're a phony, a pure and blatant liar and you use WORDS to spread your bullshit and misleading crap.

--Martin E. Shapiro


Thumbs Up to Nintzel; Thumbs Down to Franzi

To the Editor,

I want to commend the Tucson Weekly for its excellent coverage of Tucson and the war (March 27). We got to hear all the different voices and perceptions of our Old Pueblo citizens.

I was especially impressed with Jim Nintzel's article on Lt. Colonel Chris Demchak's analysis of this police action ("Baghdad Blowback"). The rush to pre-emptive military action has become the mother of all public relations disasters, alienating most of the world, gutting the sympathy and cooperation the United States received after Sept. 11. It is also a needless human tragedy. Thousands have died over what is perceived internationally as regurgitated imperialism.

This is in marked contrast to Emil Franzi's "Give War a Chance!" Franzi is fast becoming the batboy for the Apocalypse. Rather than analysis, I hear flippant demagoguery. Note to Emil: You don't go to war against religions. The last time I heard the "save Western civilization" drivel was when Hitler went to pummel Poland. One would think that brown shirts and white hoods went out with the 20th century.

Unless we bring back the United Nations and save Iraq from continuing civilian slaughter, we are consigning our children to a hostile, terror-filled world that will last a generation.

--Matt Smith


The Skinny Needs to Use 'The Force'

To the Editor,

While I always admire your accuracy and attention to detail, I feel now I must protest. In The Skinny (April 3), you stated, "as Obi-wan cryptically told Yoda, 'there is another'."

WRONG! I now quote directly from The Empire Strikes Back (from which your misquote was taken):

Obi-Wan: That boy is our last hope.

Yoda: No ... there is another.

Just wanted to set the record straight.

--John Friel


Sticks and Stones May Break Our Bones ...

To the Editor,

I suspect that among The Skinny writers' goals are to be outrageous and to piss off readers. As a result, The Weekly probably gets letters like this one all the time.

Since The Skinny's inception, disaffected, bitter ex-Star reporters have seemed obsessed with, among other things of minimal interest to most readers, obscure decisions at the Star or Citizen and attempts at creating a scandal within the TUSD board. Give it up; it's gotten old.

Now, you're lambasting Tucson High teacher Brian Koppy ("Richard Perle's Replacement," April 3) because he accurately explains to his students one reason why the United States is attacking Iraq instead of North Korea. As reported in The Skinny, it's not even necessarily his opinion. Even if it is--and I would disagree with him--such a perspective is not exactly rare or outrageous. Most importantly, what is so newsworthy or even interesting about a report, out of context, about what a teacher says in a classroom?

Why does The Skinny persist in being so puerile and just plain stupid?

--Peter Bourque


Only a Restaurant Regular Can Have a Valid Opinion

To the Editor,

For the sake of journalistic integrity, perhaps Jimmy Boegle should begin his food reviews with a disclaimer clarifying that he developed his highly refined appreciation for Sonoran-style Mexican cuisine in Palo Alto, Calif., and Nevada, at least when he reviews Tucson Mexican food restaurants. Comedic value aside, your readers will not be misled by his neophyte assessments.

Lerua's is a Tucson classic. I've been a regular for 28 years. Your review has not been well-received. Lerua's does a monster catering business. They ship hundreds of thousands of green corn tamales across the globe every December to, I've been told, the likes of Steven Spielberg. They grow the corn in Mexico on family farms. Did you sufficiently investigate their history, menu or specialties?

Incidentally, who judges Mexican cuisine based on a chicken chimichanga, rolled chicken taco and quesadilla? Did you ask for fries, too?

Luckily, the review did more to damage your credibility than Lerua's. Food reviews aside, keep up the good work.

--Ryan Moore


Let's Look Into That Lunch Money Budget

To the Editor,

When your employer picks up your tab at Nonie, spending $17 plus tax and tip, about $22 in all, may seem reasonable for lunch. But for the rest of us, paying our own way, that hardly seems "inexpensive." Dweeb's $5 plus tax and tip lunch seems much more in my budget.

I suspect Jimmy Boegle only spends that kind of "lunch money" when eating on someone else's nickel. Maybe the reason McD's has lines is that, despite Nonie's food being much better, people can afford it.

--D. Martin

Jimmy Boegle responds: I spent that much money on lunch to try multiple things because it was my job, seeing as I was REVIEWING A RESTAURANT. Normally, I would not have all that food; I would have gotten one thing like Dweeb did. And thus, my point remains: If you can get a good lunch somewhere like Nonie for $5, why in the hell do people go to McDonald's instead?


Who Says Plants Don't Also Feel?

To the Editor,

Connie Tuttle's "Meaty Matters" (April 10) proved fascinating to read, as usual, though I must be mellowing in my old age or something, because I generally find what she writes completely at variance with my views.

As far as People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals is concerned, from my observation, their approach to publicity has always been about as subtle and as well thought out as a cattle prod (often to their detriment, as the often logical argument is lost in the furor over the tactics, which Tuttle aptly points out). I'm inclined to believe that PETA has begun to consider notice for themselves more important than their cause (apologies to the PETAistas I know for those remarks).

As for the Holocaust, I'm more concerned that an entire generation or two probably said, "What's that?" owing to the state of "education" these days. PETA's hyperbole is less damaging than the great, gaping, sucking sound that is the black hole of ignorance surrounding the topic in a great many quarters.

As for matters of dietary choice (to eat meat or not to eat meat, that is the question), two points: One, humans are omnivores, not herbivores or carnivores. I am an omnivore by preference and inclination, but meat comprises, at most, a fifth of my diet, usually less. You eat as you choose; I'll eat what I choose. Fair enough?

Two, as Tuttle again aptly pointed out, plants are living things as well. If one chooses to argue that animals should not become viands because they may be sentient, then the argument can be made with equal validity that the carrot you just munched on is potentially sentient as well.

To the vegetarians and vegans reading this: Consider that the next time you argue "meat is murder," that the celery stalk melding itself with your body may well be celery's equivalent to Shakespeare (or Al Capone, for all you know).

--Robert Reynolds


Philosophy 101 With Jeremy A. Tor and Connie Tuttle

To the Editor,

Regarding Connie Tuttle's "Meaty Matters," in which she attacks the philosophy behind the devaluation of creatures other than our own: Tuttle states that, "value is a notion hatched by the human mind." Therefore, she concludes, assigning a superior value to one's own life over the lives of fellow humans, animals or plants is an egregious human error. But there is an inherent problem with Tuttle's argument.

Claiming that humans are not superior to other creatures is as much assigning a value as claiming that humans are superior. Thus, Tuttle cannot credibly attack the philosophy of meat-eaters, because she would be guilty of the same egregious error.

Tuttle may, however, have merit in her moralistic argument.

--Jeremy A. Tor


Personal Choice Is Key in the Dying Process

To the Editor,

I feel obliged to respond and challenge some of the statements made by Connie Tuttle in "Dignified Life & Death" (March 13). Her conclusion was that dying people should not shorten their lives and forego the joy of each precious moment of life. This view reflects a glaring lack of any personal experience with the dying process!

Is it possible for anyone who hasn't witnessed first-hand the suffering and sadness of the dying process to appreciate the reality of this heartrending experience? A few of us will be lucky enough to skip the dying process by passing on in our sleep or collapsing from a massive stroke or heart attack. However, most of us will be doomed to a long and lingering dying process, which I define as that time when one completely loses his or her independence and quality of life.

The most important thing, that we can do now for ourselves while our minds are clear, is to make the necessary plans to ensure that we make the very best out of a potentially difficult scenario. This can be easily done by putting a personal health care directive (living will) in place. It's simple and inexpensive to do.

I have been appalled by the many poor souls I've seen in nursing homes strapped in their wheel chairs wailing pitifully, "I want to go home; take me home," all of their waking hours. Sometimes, the dying process can take years because there was never any direction in place. Nursing homes are mandated to preserve life. Medical science can now keep people alive indefinitely--yet they have yet to find a way to return a patient's quality and joy of life.

I believe that a terminally and hopelessly ill person with an incurable condition should have the option of legally hastening their own death, or at the very least, not accepting care that will prolong the dying process. As Americans, we value--above all else--the right of personal choice for ourselves and others.

--Dr. Jack R. Baldwin


Tucson's Tribute to France

To the Editor,

It now appears that the Tucson City Council approves of painting the formerly white A on "A" Mountain with the solid field colors of red, white and blue.

It is my understanding that the council feels this action should not be construed by anyone as a political statement, and I agree. The decision to show our community-wide gratitude to our French allies and to support their apolitical opposition to a heinous war is long overdue.

Viva la France!

--Wayne Sumstine


Finally, After 15 Letters, a Danehy Mention

To the Editor,

It seems like every week, it is the same ol' Mailbag: People bashing on Danehy for this, for that or for the other thing. I'm sick of it.

Danehy just plain out rocks. His sarcasm is beautiful. He is versatile and every story he writes is interesting, whether the topic is global or local. Above everything else, he has the courage to write how he sees it. Could that be common sense he writes? How refreshing! He is the reason I pick up The Weekly. And I want more. More ranting, more insight, more stories the dailies run from, more in-depth features and more laughs from him.

For the rest of you homophobe, gun-toting, SUV-driving, cell-phone-yakking, ESPN jock-itch freaks: Leave Danehy alone. We are tired of listening to you. The rest of us here have a sense of humor. And we are secure enough with ourselves to use them.

--Cirra Woods
Voting Danehy for president


It's Time to Fight Lands Fees

To the Editor,

Many cheers for Tim Vanderpool's "This Land Is Our Land" (March 27) on fee demos in Aravaipa Canyon. As a former BLM wilderness ranger in the east end of the canyon (before fee demo was adopted), I would like to add some thoughts.

My husband and I still look back on our tenure in the canyon in 1998 as one of the best jobs we ever had because of the beauty of the area as well as its spiritual quality mentioned in your article. Since we were volunteers, we received no compensation besides a house to live in and the use of a truck. Our duties included servicing the two-seater vault toilet at the trailhead (once a week), mending fences (once) and replacing a sign (also once), as well as regularly patrolling the canyon and answering visitor questions. As a bonus at the end of our job, we were treated to lunch and each received a visor hat and a day pack.

In 2001, we visited the west end of the canyon for the first time. That was after fee demo had started there, and we saw that the trailhead was similar to the east end, with a parking area and a bulletin board. However, the only toilet facility was an out-of-order portable toilet.

Any of your readers who wish to declare their opposition to fee demo can contact the chairman of the House Interior Appropriations subcommittee, Rep Charles H. Taylor (R-N.C.) at approp.interior@mail.house.gov or 231 Cannon House Office Building, Washington, D.C., 20515-3311. They are now working on the 2004 budget in which one item is the extension of the fee demo program. There is still time to let them know that six years of "testing" recreation fees on public lands has been long enough to "demonstrate" that it has failed miserably and should be repealed immediately.

--Lanie Johnson
Sandpoint, Idaho


Correction: Check Your Lands Fees Math, Please

To the Editor,

I am writing to correct some information in Tim Vanderpool's "This Land Is Our Land," in which he discussed opposition to the federal fee demonstration program.

Part of the basis for Vanderpool's argument against the $5 per-day fee at Aravaipa Canyon Wilderness was his statement: "A quick calculation shows that, at full capacity, Aravaipa generates over $900,000 per year," and then he goes on to quote an opponent of the fee program who calls these fees "excessive."

Vanderpool interviewed BLM natural resource specialist Tom Schnell on March 13. Tom stated that our fees were $5 per person per day but that we are not at full capacity for the full year. (At full capacity, $5 per person with 50 people for 365 days would be $91,250, not $900,000.)

The fees collected each year are closer to $40,000, and that is used for a large number of visitor services that include wilderness rangers, brochures, restrooms, informational kiosks, road maintenance, website updates, trailhead signs, nearby campground maintenance and access fees the BLM must pay to the private landowner at each trailhead to allow public access to the wilderness.

If Vanderpool had used the figures that Tom had provided, it would not have been the "excessive" $900,000 figure that was used to support his story. It is unfortunate that this ten-fold calculation error was not caught before this went to print.

I don't expect Tucson Weekly to print a correction, but I felt the need to at least set the record straight. Thank you for your time.

--Diane Drobka
Public Affairs Specialist
BLM Safford Field Office

The Tucson Weekly apologizes for the math error.

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