Inquiring Mind

Cali plates on the Tucson Mall security truck? No prosecution in the Pueblo High case? It's time for some answers.

Questions, big and small:

· Why isn't Rush Limbaugh on the air? He's the role model for America's political conservatives, and he's usually so responsible.

· Do the people from the (ahem) Confederate States of America who keep sending me e-mails and letters really believe that the Civil War had little or nothing to do with slavery? What must these people think of the Holocaust, that it was a fraternity prank? Or was it that by attempting to wipe out an entire people, the altruistic Hitler was merely trying to save the Jews from having to live in a world where there existed anti-Semitism?

· Will the NCAA ever admit to its hypocrisy of taking TV money to have televised Friday night football games in direct competition with high school football games across the country? Cash-strapped high schools need every dollar they can generate through gate receipts and concession sales at prep football games, yet the NCAA spits in the faces of the high schools they claim to care about. For decades, even Major League Baseball declined to have games televised on Friday nights out of deference to the high schools. But then Rupert Murdoch and Fox TV got involved and it became profits über alles. Hey NCAA, do you really want to be as low-class as baseball?

· Why in the world does the truck that patrols the Tucson Mall and has "Tucson Mall Security" on it have California plates? Isn't that illegal? And, if it isn't, shouldn't it be?

· After the huge public uproar when the aforementioned sanctimonious Pill Popper injected race into a discussion of NFL quarterback Donovan McNabb, why is loudmouth Warren Sapp getting a pass after referring to NFL owners as "slave masters?" Sapp, who wants to take his helmet off after every play so that his fans can see him, claims that he plays "the most popular sport in the world" (not true) and that taking his helmet off so that the fans can see his face would help "maximize (his) earning potential." (Extra super-duper not true.) He says that fans in other sports get to see the players' faces. If that's your goal, Warren, then lose 100 pounds of lard, learn how to play basketball and knock yourself out. Finally, if someone were willing to pay me $6 million a year to play football, they could make the check out to Tom "Kunta" Danehy any time they want.

· And now, a special slate of questions just for Chief Criminal Deputy County Attorney Rick Unklesbay, who refused to bring charges against the kid who was involved in the fatal confrontation at Pueblo High School last month. Unklesbay concluded (probably correctly) that he wouldn't have been able to get a homicide-related conviction, so HE DECIDED TO DO NOTHING AT ALL!!!

Here are your questions, esteemed sir:

I hear you're a nice guy, but what the hell's wrong with you?

Why not bring other charges against him? If you can't prove that the bully "was aware of but disregarded the fact that his actions could cause death," then aim lower. We're not dummies out here. We know that the U.S. government may have already blown the case against Zacharias Moussaoui by calling him "the 20th hijacker" and by incorrectly trying to link him to Sept. 11. We understand that you can mess things up by aiming too high. But that doesn't mean you give up.

Why not assault?

Why not battery?

Why not assault and battery?

Why not disturbing the peace?

Did somebody else make the decision and you're just being the good soldier?

How do you sleep at night?

Are we to believe that you came to the conclusion that the sickly, 120-pound victim either started the fight or was equally culpable in the matter? Even if the latter were true (and it's laughable to believe that anyone with a brain could believe that), why not charge the survivor of the deadly altercation with being 50 percent at fault?

Why not put something on the little creep's record so that maybe somebody, somewhere will realize that actions have consequences?

Along those lines, has Pueblo High School now changed the wording of its "zero tolerance" policy to read "Any student involved in a fight will be arrested and taken off campus in handcuffs ... unless one of the kids dies, in which case you get a free pass co-signed by the Pima County Attorney's office. This free pass includes no charges being filed, no criminal prosecution, protection of your identity and a transfer to another school"?

How, as a parent and a coach, am I supposed to look kids in their eyes and tell them they should resolve their differences without resorting to violence? And how am I supposed to tell them that if they lose control of themselves and stoop to violence, they will suffer consequences? What is my snappy comeback when they say, "What about that kid at Pueblo who killed that other kid and didn't even get arrested?"

What does this decision tell parents who are rightfully concerned about violence in the schools?

And for the people who accused me of being a bloodthirsty, Emil Franzi clone when this first happened, I ask myself: Do I want this kid to go to prison? No, not really. I don't think he expected the other kid to die. But he sure knew full well that it's wrong to fight. I'd sure like to see him picking up trash every weekend until he's 18. Or maybe cleaning bedpans in a hospital cardiac ward. I think even I could have convinced a jury of the rightness of that.

Aren't you glad that your job doesn't require you to stand for re-election?