I was thoroughly embarrassed for Catherine O'Sullivan while reading her opinion about legalizing pot (April 2).
She states that when you ask a pothead, "What time is it?" the response is that time has no meaning because of some physics on Star Trek. First off, nobody watches Star Trek anymore. The people who do watch it are too busy going to the next Dork-Con to get high. Second, no pothead actually says that. Catherine's opinion of marijuana and those who use it seems to come from watching Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure and not from actually knowing anybody who uses any drug except for Claritin.
She reminds me of a relative who "knows" exactly how drugs affect people, yet has never been around drugs or the people who use them. This relative of mine has been too busy with academia and judging people.
I do not use marijuana simply because I do not like the effect. I do enjoy talking about the existence or nonexistence of time. I agree with legalization simply because the facts are overwhelming that show the positive effects of legalization.
I suggest that in the future, O'Sullivan researches a subject before espousing an opinion.
As Leo W. Banks' "Trashing Arizona" (April 2) correctly asserts, the tons of waste migrants leave behind while trying to circumvent the ever-more-formidable U.S. enforcement apparatus in the borderlands is very worrisome.
While the trash pickups that Banks champions would undoubtedly be of some help in limiting damage to a delicate and vital ecosystem, there is a much easier and more effective solution: If the federal government were simply to allow the migrants to come into the United States through ports of entry, there would be no need for them to trek through the desert. Allowing such freedom of movement would not only eliminate migrant trash in the borderlands; it would also permit us to get rid of the enforcement infrastructure—walls, fences, roads—which bring about far greater levels of environmental destruction. Moreover, we would save many billions of dollars now spent on enforcement annually and prevent countless migrant deaths in the process.
Author, Dying to Live: A Story of U.S. Immigration in an Age of Global Apartheid
In "Trashing Arizona," Mr. Banks is quick to condemn migrants for destroying the desert environment without acknowledging that our own government and business executives are trashing Mexico in ways so severe that a pile of water bottles and backpacks pales in comparison. Additionally, U.S. destruction of Mexico's environment has been a leading cause of migration, and U.S. border policy pushes crossers out into the desert wilderness. It's time we examined why that trash is there instead of further scapegoating and dehumanizing the migrants.
Under the North American Free Trade Agreement, hundreds of U.S. corporations have set up factories just across the border, where they can avoid pesky environmental regulations and pollute to their hearts' content. Because of this, many border cities have contaminated air, water and soil, endangering the health of those on both sides of the wall. These companies have also displaced more than 2 million Mexican farmers, spurring the migration coming through the desert.
There's also the environmental devastation caused by the border wall itself, which violates environmental laws such as the National Environmental Policy Act, the Endangered Species Act and the Clean Water Act.
Before any American can claim the environmental high road, we must question our own culpability in the destruction of our planet.
Leo W. Banks' latest screed would seem to be an attempt to paint illegal-immigrant bashing green. This might be cute if it weren't so, um, hateful. The many false notes he hits in attempting to preach to those not already in his choir are pretty hilarious. The ominous chord we're supposed to hear at a line like "the call was to Libya" only resonates in the right-wing echo chamber where folklore like this thrives.
Perhaps Banks' biggest bid for enviro-credibility is citing conservationist Gary Nabhan. So what does Nabhan think is the biggest environmental threat to Arizona? Poor illegal immigrants? No. It's Metropolitan Phoenix—its consumption of land and water, its waste and its pollution. A product, Nabhan stresses, of legal immigration.
Of course, the problem with using border trash to whip up anti-immigrant feeling is that it's a tactic that gives ammunition to the other side. The problem could be most easily, and cheaply, obviated not by "get-tough" measures, but by letting in many more Mexican immigrants legally, eliminating their need to shed clothes and backpacks in the middle of the desert, not to mention coyotes and "rape trees."
It's too bad the Tucson Weekly can't get a heavyweight like Nabhan or Charles Bowden to weigh in on the immigration issue in a feature. The Weekly effectively speaks in one xenophobic voice on the issue, a voice echoed daily, ad nauseam, by Lou Dobbs and dozens of pundits in the mainstream media. And where does that leave the "alt" in "alt-weekly"?
The Sierra Club is proposing that the border wall will damage habitat. Perhaps, but the illegal migrants damage habitat for thousands of miles inland.
My proposal is to speed up the construction and make the wall a foot higher. For the wildlife, there can be manned openings every 20 miles or so.
If Sierra Club wants to protect the Earth, they should start educating people to stop breeding. Support birth control and abortion. Expose the pope for what he is: a money- and power-hungry monger.
In Leo W. Banks' tireless attempt to blame society's ills upon the poor and downtrodden, it would be prudent of the author to refrain from such a sensational characterization of the Arizona border region and the immigration phenomenon taking place within it.
I congratulate Mr. Banks for his effort to bring attention to the all-too-easily ignored issue of informal border crossings. Also, good job, Mr. Banks, at rewriting your previous articles from the last couple of years. You did a much better job this time at sticking it to the migrants.
As a Southern Arizona native, I've watched the "illegal" immigration situation evolve over the past few decades. In fact, I grew up not far from Diablo Mountain on the eastern slopes of the Tumacacori Mountains, and I considered those hills my personal backyard as a youth. While it's frustrating to see so much refuse left out in the open, blaming the migrants for the situation is a feeble attempt to ignore the more fundamental issues at hand.
The author's concern for a pristine, buffelgrass-free desert is admirable, but the soft spot in his heart for ranching exudes a degree of hypocrisy. Ranching is not necessarily the best friend of pristine desert.
I would agree that there may be communicable diseases present in the Arizona borderlands. These diseases go by the names of sensationalism and xenophobia.