The subject of this story, former Arizona Daily Wildcat reporter Jim Myers, is a friend of mine, and I take offense to the way he was characterized in your paper.
It is a little pretentious of your writer, John Schuster, to characterize Jim as an irresponsible journalist when in doing that, Schuster is not including all of the facts himself. In two of the stories mentioned, the sources were not fabricated, as your article implies. In reality, the sources were UA students who were asked their opinions and replied with real quotes that were used in the articles. I know this, because I was one of them, quoted in the article "Drugs in the Water?" that Jim wrote while the Wildcat was leaning on him to do extra work, because they were understaffed. The other included a quote from another friend who I can assure you was a real university student. I know it is not the best of journalistic practices to interview your friends, but nonetheless, we are both real students and are far from fabricated.
As for the other articles in question, knowing Jim, I have no doubt that he interviewed people and used real quotes in his articles. Why their names did not show up in a search of the UA phonebook, I do not know, but there could be a variety of reasons other than "fabrication." Also keep in mind that Jim is a student of journalism, not a practiced reporter with years of experience.
Why you felt it necessary to ostracize him from the entire Tucson journalistic community before fully investigating the issue, I do not know. The last time I checked, he wrote for the Arizona Daily Wildcat and not the Tucson Weekly, and the Wildcat dealt with the situation as they saw fit.
Perhaps next time rather than rushing to fill your paper with an unnecessary and unresearched smear, you'll take the time to look at the scope and context of the situation and take into account all of the perspectives and details. Now that is Journalism 101.
If only the Pima County Board of Supervisors had the same good sense! The argument about supporting water stations in the desert on the basis of humanity is a specious one, not a moral one, since such action is more likely to provide an incentive for illegal behavior that causes death than preventing it. It should be stopped immediately.
I'm not asking for "special" rights, like some on the right are saying. I'm only asking for the same rights as they have. God created me the way I am, and in my mind, God does not make mistakes--people do. Even the church I was brought up in teaches this.
An interesting comparison can be made to left-handed people ... 500 to 600 years ago, if people could not be forced to write with their right hand to someone else's approval, they were considered to be possessed by Satan and burned at the stake, along with the homosexuals and real criminals, like thieves, rapists and murderers. Look how far the left-handers have come in the last 500 to 600 years.
June, thank you for your heartwarming letter, and for being the truly God-loving human being that you are.
Peter Van Keuren
I just attended a similar event in Kansas City. It has been occurring for years without any problem. It was wonderful to see the children's faces as they listened in rapt attention to the stories.
Perhaps there was some misinformation and misunderstanding. The wagons were going to be kept on the paths, and no one at any time would be allowed to walk in the cemetery. The "urban legends" part of the tour was going to be held at a completely separate property.
I do hope that eventually, this event will be allowed to occur.