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Sarkissian Needs to Get Over His Same-Gender Nakedness Fears

Another story about jail, and it's just got to include the fear of being butt-raped. That article ("119 Days," Aug, 12) should be called, "119 Days of Homosexual Panic and Feeling Icky."

Arek Sarkissian's article announces to the world the most effective deterrent for drunk driving: Put down your beer and strip in front of someone of the same gender and wait until that person tells you it's OK to put our clothes back on. Of course, for many people, this would lead to a fun-filled evening in bed. But for Arek, it's the horror of horrors.

The sad part of this article is that we don't hear a word about why Arek is getting drunk and driving his car. Arek tells us he has been sober for a year. However, Arek never tells us about dealing with personal problems without self-medicating and harming others.

Perhaps we could look at this article in a Freudian sense: Arek drinks to avoid something important and deeply troubling about his life. Then, he goes to jail and must confront the thing he fears the most. Then, he writes an article not about the positive affects of his sobriety, but only about the thing he fears the most. Freud would say he is what he fears the most. So would a lot of research regarding the causes of alcoholism in the gay community.

Arek, you drove while drunk. This probably happened more than three times, but you got caught three times. Besides the fear of stripping in front of another male and the filth of the prisons, have you learned anything of value from this jail experience? It's important that you answer that question, Arek. Because you don't have to get drunk, risk lives and go to jail in order to face your fears. Even though many people do choose that path, it's not necessary.

Arek, you're risking a lot just to avoid honest exposure of your true feelings. Whatever that truth is will be fine, Arek. Just remember, there's more to you than your shame and degradation. And please stop spreading tired myths about the horror of homosexuality and the fear of same-gender exposure. That only serves to enable your self-pity and fear.

Jim Ru


Sarkissian's Punishment Was Light for the Crime

After three drunk driving arrests, 119 days is an extremely light sentence. I suspect the author's father had to pay a considerable amount to an good attorney to keep his son out of prison.

This flippant article indicates to me the author still does not understand the human cost associated with drunk driving. I have lived with the human cost of drunk driving every day since Dec. 26, 1966, when my entire family--father, mother and younger brother--were murdered by a drunk driver swerving over the center line of an undivided highway. Serving 119 days in jail is nothing compared to the agony of those deaths and having to live with that every day since. Multiply this over the entire nation with 17,000 families grieving the loss of their loved ones, and you get some sense of the problem caused by drunk drivers.

Even with stricter laws and all of the education campaigns, free cab rides, etc., the death toll for alcohol-related fatalities in 2003 was 17,013, amounting to 40 percent of all traffic-related fatalities. Six times as many people are killed every year by drunks terrorizing our highways as were killed on Sept. 11.

Every time someone drives drunk they are committing attempted murder and should be punished much more severely than 119 days in jail for three arrests.

Roger Carrillo


Sarkissian Has No Right to Criticize Jail

I read Arek Sarkissian's "119 Days" story with incredulity. He is very adept at describing the poor conditions of the jail cells and the often-encountered incompetence and inefficiency of the justice system. However, he tends to describe the whole experience as if it were the fault of the jail and the arresting officers.

One DUI? Sure, that can happen. We're all human. Two? Well, not as easy to understand, given the resources available as far as designated drivers, free cab rides and--perish the thought--responsible self-regulation of one's alcohol intake. Maybe someone feeling really lucky (or really stupid) might get a second DUI. It is a stretch, but just maybe.

A THIRD DUI? If one is irresponsible, foolish, unthinking and just plain stupid enough to get a third DUI, they have absolutely no right to say ANYTHING about the system that punishes them for that offense. Inhumane jail system? Perhaps. But is there anything MORE inhumane than a person with multiple DUIs injuring or killing someone on the road when the option to not drink was always there?

Eric Hemphill


Suburban Housing: The More Things Change ...

Regarding the "suburban commando" (Guest Commentary, Aug, 5), Catherine O'Sullivan wrote: "Hell, just across the road, there's a development with the houses so close together ... And they all look alike. Coming home drunk, you'd face long odds on finding the right one. You'd just sort of have to close your eyes, pick one and hope for the best."

I suggest watching the History Channel's chronicles of the building of the Hoover Dam. A portion describes the improvements of the laborers' living conditions: shanty towns in the desert established years prior to even the contracts being signed, and the new developments of tract houses that were the primordial Las Vegas.

Your observations of the neighbors' choices of vapid home aesthetics is but a sample of the consistency of the human condition. People lived like that 70 years ago. Moreover, there is a testimony of a then-child of a worker who got to move from the shantytown into the houses, and she said the exact same thing you just wrote: emphasis on the drunk stumbling into the neighbor's house unawares.

And as for HOA fascists ... whoops, that's redundant.

Jeff Calabrese


Only Moms Can Fully Understand Abortion

I am a Democrat, a woman and a mother. It is simply not possible for a woman who has not experienced motherhood to understand the gravity and consequences of abortion.

I support women's rights, but most women don't appreciate or earn them. Some ignore birth control, wait months and months and months into a pregnancy, and then still believe they are entitled to reproductive control of their bodies. It's a shame they don't take responsibility for (or desire that control) BEFORE a child is conceived. Instead of thinking about what they will be losing in life WITH their child, I would encourage women to consider what they will be losing in life WITHOUT their child. They also should consider what the world will be losing without the joy, innocence and future contributions of their child.

And just to piss off a few more people: It is hypocritical to try to deny women both choice AND welfare. Though many will say that there are many people who would wish to adopt that unborn child, I would remind them that there are already more children in the world waiting to be adopted than there are families willing to adopt them.

Lisa Theis


In Defense of ... the 'Village' People?

I just wanted to say, I saw The Village three times last week ("Unwatchable," Cinema, Aug. 5). At least 80 percent of each crowd physically recoiled, or jumped in their seat on more than one occasion during the film. I thought it was refreshing not to have 33 images a second of digital masturbation to fill half a movie.

Let's face it: What movie isn't predictable these days? And how hard is it to write a screenplay with no cursin' that doesn't involve a superhero in these troubled times? Give M. one more chance, if not for you, for the village people.

Steve Nelson

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