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Shelton Needs to Take a Stand on SB 1070

It was extremely frustrating to read President Robert Shelton's explanation of why—in sharp contrast to Arizona State University President Michael M. Crow—he did not take a stronger stand, or any stand at all, against SB 1070 ("The President Says," Aug. 19). His reference to the 1960s is both misleading and inapposite, the former because UA students have not engaged in violent or otherwise inappropriate protests, and the latter because the massive demonstrations of the '60s have absolutely nothing to do with his current failure to issue a forceful statement against the bill. Yet somehow, we're supposed to be reassured that he's "working with the legislators and the governor behind the scenes." Does anyone have the foggiest idea of what he could mean by that?

President Shelton is entitled to his opinion. If he favors or is genuinely neutral about SB 1070, he should say so, stop beating around the bush and accept the consequences for his beliefs. If he opposes it, he should "stand up (for his) convictions." Either would be preferable to an interview that insults our intelligence as it approaches the ultimate in political vapidity. He makes me embarrassed to be a student at the UA.

Charles Vernon


The Book Barn Is Open More Often Than Downing Says

The Friends of the Pima County Public Library Book Barn on Country Club Road is open for donations four hours a day, Monday through Thursday, from 8 a.m. to noon, and Thursday night from 6 to 9 p.m., rather than the four hours a week asserted by Renée Downing (Aug. 19).

This information is available at www.fpcpl.org. It's curious that Downing, with her interest in new technology, didn't bother to use it to check her facts.

Desha Hill


Humanists Are as Judgmental as Any Religious Person

I just read Irene Messina's column regarding the separation of politics and religion (Aug. 26), and wanted to weigh in.

In the piece, there are many claims made by members of the Center for Inquiry of Southern Arizona that I take exception to, but the most ridiculous among these is Jerry Karches' statement that hints that the abortion issue exists simply because of religious influence. He seems to suggest that without all the God-fearing fools out there and their superstitious beliefs, abortion as a so-called woman's right would be a given.

Therein lies the problem with "humanist values" as a concept; it assumes a correct position exists, and that position happens to be theirs. Hmm, I think I've heard religion itself characterized in this way. In our secular society, a claim of absolutes, particularly as it relates to morality, is seen as intolerant and "bad." I'm sick and tired of humanist ideology and its plethora of contradictions! Humanism, a title full of presumption, seems to serve only humans who agree with their irrational worldview.

The humanists cannot claim moral superiority unless they can demonstrate the existence of their moral base. The humanist has no moral base unless "might makes right." They can appeal to "rationality" and "free thinking" all they want, but ultimately, "right" in the humanist's mind is best defined as "what I think and feel" and "what I can get away with." This, and not religious intrusion on policy-making, is actually the very heart of the abortion issue.

Jason Martinez


Want Safety? Make Fourth Avenue a Pedestrian-Only Zone

The martinets at the Tucson Police Department have prioritized imposing draconian penalties for such treacherous activities as jaywalking and the failure to make dorky hand signals while on a bicycle over, I don't know, preventing break-ins downtown ("Watch Your Step!" The Skinny, Aug. 26). We should be trying to lure more people downtown instead of harassing those who come with the good sense not to pollute the air with their cars.

Here's a solution for the safety-conscious: Make Fourth Avenue a pedestrian-only zone, just like during the Street Fair, but with shade trees, benches and outdoor bars and cafés. I've heard that only a couple of selfish businesses are preventing this from becoming reality.

Matt Scholz


If You Want to Carry a Gun, Take a Safety Course

Jonathan Hoffman's guest commentary on guns and liberty (Aug. 26) raises questions about when one person's liberty encroaches on another's.

Maybe it will eventually be well-accepted (if it already isn't) that a segment of the population needs a gun to feel comfortable in public—but it would be reassuring and help protect the liberty of those who choose not to carry guns if those who do would have some meaningful training on how to use them.

This year, the gun-safety class required by Arizona, which included a shooting test and a written test, was eliminated. Gun-toting criminals weren't going to bother with this anyway, but at least there was some level of training likely for non-criminal gun owners.

Will these gun owners now get the training on their own and ensure that the liberty of the public is protected—or have we traded one group's sense of liberty for another's?

Doug Koppinger

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