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Japanese Imperial Flag Represents Worse Atrocities Than U.S. Flag

I agree with Lester Slezak's complaint about that car-repair shop having the Japanese imperial flag as part of their business sign. ("Suspect Symbol," Currents, Aug, 29, and "Complainer: Japanese Imperial Flag Is Definitely Offensive," Mailbag, Sept. 14).

That flag held unforgettable, terrible memories for my late father. He was captured by the Japanese at the age of 18 in 1942 when they invaded Java and most of the Indonesian islands (then known as the Dutch East Indies). He spent 3 1/2 years being tortured, brutally interrogated and nearly worked to death! I think that a person who was forced to be on the Bataan Death March, the Rape of Nanking or, in my dad's case, forced at bayonet point to watch dozens of innocent victims be decapitated (just to scare you), has every right to speak out about their dislike of that flag.

But what really got me was the letter by Matt Peters ("Claim: The U.S. Flag Is Just as Tainted as Japanese Flag," Sept. 14) saying the U.S. flag is just as tainted. Where does he get his info about our countless atrocities in all those countries he named? Surely, we messed up a bit in some of those places, but Indonesia, Uruguay, Greece, Angola, Ukraine and the Philippines? What the hell is he talking about?

Every nation of any size and power has its dark memories; good luck finding a nation on Earth that has no dirty things to hide. Take your pick of the lesser of evil nations to live in.

As long as I live, I will never forget what my dad went through, and why it inspired him to immigrate here. I usually see hope and fragile peace in our flag!

Charles Den-Baars


Carroll Showed Leadership By Defending Santa Rita Mountains

Regarding "Matter Over Mine" (The Range, Sept. 14): In these dark days of environmentally hostile politics, especially from the GOP, we need more leaders like Republican Pima County Supervisor Ray Carroll.

Ray is sticking up for our local interests by working to stop a foreign mining corporation from tearing up the Coronado National Forest in the scenic Santa Rita Mountains. Most politicians, including George W. Bush, Jon Kyl and Randy Graf, are happy to pimp our natural resources to big money eco-destroyers. Protecting the environment is a broad public-interest issue, not partisan, and Ray is wise to recognize that.

Daniel R. Patterson


Jobs Should Be Lost Over GLOW Debacle

Regarding the Sept. 21, "Event Cut Short"(Performing Arts), here is a copy of the e-mailed letter I just sent to Pinal County Sheriff Christopher Vasquez:

I attended GLOW on Friday night with my wife and 9-year-old daughter who has (or so I like to tell myself) some aptitude in art which I try to encourage. It was, without a doubt, one of the coolest things we have done since moving to Arizona. We want to create a sculpture together for next year's event.

We were fortunate that we did not attend on Saturday! I did not know about your department's invasion of the Saturday night event until reading about it in the Tucson Weekly.

Cpl. Randall Snyder absolutely should be fired. He violated the constitutional rights of several hundred people. (Aren't your officers at least briefed on the First Amendment?) But more importantly, anyone who cannot tell the difference between a "drug and alcohol"-fueled rave or an "outlaw biker party" and a peaceful gathering of old people, neo-beatniks and families with young children has NO business carrying a firearm! You might want to keep him away from sharp objects, too. For crying out loud, the event was described in at least two newspaper articles beforehand!

It sounds like a couple of trouble-making neighbors called in false reports about what was really going on. If your investigation should show that this was in fact the case, I would sincerely hope that you will prosecute those individuals. Just because someone is annoyed at traffic on a normally quiet road does NOT give them the right to defame a peaceful gathering or waste the resources of the Pinal County Sheriff's Department.

Bob Martino


In This Age of Terror, GLOW-Goers Got Off Easy!

Your article on the GLOW Party Massacre portrays the Pinal County Sheriff's Office in an equivocal light at best. Just what we have come to expect from the liberal press. But in our present climate of terrorist threats coming from everywhere, we can't be too careful! The sheriff's officers are our first responders, on the forefront of the fight for our fragile freedom. It is they who will bare their patriotic breasts to the sleet of battle to protect our homes, our people, yea, our American way of life.

I was at the GLOW Party on Friday night. Although the crowd was much smaller, the feeling of fear was palpable. People congregated in groups for safety and looked about furtively. The very air breathed menace and dread. You couldn't tell if the person coming along the trail was a regular partygoer or terrorist, intent on destroying America. I was ready to open up a couple of cans of whup-ass on the first al-Qaida I got near, I'll tell you what.

So the sheriffs overreacted a little when faced with a bunch of weird people doing strange things in the weeds? I say, more power to them! How else are they going to get any practice for that terrible day when the real terrorists come? Was anybody arrested? Did anybody get a bloody scalp? Those people got off easy! Was there a single bone broken by a patriotic blow from a truncheon? GLOW party, my ass! How could the officers tell that from a terrorist training camp?

As they say, to be safe is to be afraid. Someday, in the dim mists of the future, the war on terror will be over; freedom will bestride the homeland like a colossus, and we will be able to venture out of our houses without fear at last.

Looks like that day will be a long time coming.

Carl Noggle


Guest Commentary Writer Makes Inappropriate Assumptions

Laura Dulin's failed attempt to teach English to high school students may have been well-intentioned; however, her comments are deeply troubling (Guest Commentary, Sept. 21). The teaching problems she describes (impertinent questions to a new teacher, a preference for primping and socializing) are fairly common in high schools regardless of students' ethnicity or presumed religious background, and trained secondary teachers know how to handle those in an authoritative and engaging manner. Dulin should be commended for quickly realizing that she was unprepared to do so.

However, I'm troubled that Dulin attributes not only the properties of impertinence and disorder, but also blood-thirstiness, criminality and incognizant breeding to the ethnicity and socioeconomic status of those high school students. Surely a writer who claims cultural sensitivity should recognize that these same properties have been attributed to historically marginalized populations across cultures and time.

As she now may be teaching these same students' parents, aunts, uncles or older siblings as an adult-education instructor for Pima College, I hope Ms. Dulin will reexamine her assumptions about her students, who are not so many indistinguishable water molecules "pouring" into her classroom, but rather individuals living in complex circumstances. As a writer, I hope that she will reflect more deeply before publishing a piece that could lead one to conclude that the distracted student she quoted as calling her "a racist" was actually paying close attention.

Abra McAndrew

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