To the Editor,

Renée Downing's sophomoric ramblings about the gun lobby being "substantially responsible" for the spate of killings carried out by the sniper in the D.C. area ("Long Shot," October 17) were humorous. But the sentence, "Murder with a sword or club or knife takes conviction and physical effort, and that's a good thing," is preposterous. A left-wing attack on the gun lobby is one thing; an argument for the aesthetics of one type of murder is balderdash.

--Eric M. Smallwood.


To the Editor,

I sometimes think Tom Danehy's clever, but his cutely headlined "Potheads for Debby Boone" (October 31) struck a bone, and it's not my funny bone.

There's nothing funny about going against our government and the considerable criminal resources we allocate to prosecute and punish people who smoke marijuana. Maybe Mr. Danehy's column was supposed to be funny, or maybe his last three paragraphs tell us something about the way he believes.

Now I'm not old and stupid, but I do smoke pot. You're the first person I've ever read that says that smoking pot makes you stupid. I bet you're a genius. As for marijuana not being a drug that medical professionals would like to be able to prescribe, well, I'm going to bet they don't pay you enough to take the time to do any journalistic research. Eight out of 10 oncologists say you're wrong.

--T.J. Williams

Get Real

To the Editor,

I divide Danehy's columns into two categories: "sports" and "something that matters." In any case he usually seems to have firsthand knowledge of his subject.

Unfortunately, his October 31 column ("Potheads for Debby Boone") showed that he sometimes doesn't seek out the facts in all cases. While writing against Prop 203, which would have allowed cancer patients (and others) to use marijuana to alleviate their suffering, he wrote that "THC, the active ingredient in marijuana, can be effectively delivered into the system in pill form." This is simply not the case 100 percent of the time. Chemotherapy causes extreme nausea in most cancer patients. Sometimes keeping just a sip of water down is an impossibility. To say that they should just take a pill is clearly illogical and out of touch with reality.

--Steven Baird


To the Editor,

What we need from the media is the truth, not the ranting of a bigot. For your information, Mr. Danehy ("Potheads for Debby Boone," October 24), Marinol, the pill the pharmaceutical companies developed, has many side effects, is difficult to "dose" and gets patients so "high" that they are unable to function. Moreover, those patients who use marijuana so they can keep down their food cannot "keep down" a Marinol pill. Marijuana has many active ingredients--cannabinoids--which are not psychoactive and which have beneficial effects. I note the intellectual dishonesty which accompanies any statement that marijuana has no medical benefits, but its main psychoactive ingredient--THC--has such benefit. If THC has medical benefit when contained in Marinol, it has benefit in its smoked form.

Oh, and thank you for that lovely remark about the release of those people we are sending to prison for simple pot possession or use. They are your neighbors. I prefer cannabis to alcohol; so does my liver. I am a 55-year-old grandmother and I do not need the government's permission to use a plant to heal my body.

--Mary Mackenzie,
Acting President, AZ4NORML
Co-operator, Tucson Hemp Clinic

Hate is Eternal

To the Editor,

I appreciate the sentiment in Michael Parnell's October 31 column, "Violence Hits Home," but I don't believe that more "love" is always the answer. We have become a society that loves love and hates hate. This is a bad thing. Love is not the cure for evil. Good is.

Good and evil, and love and hate are distinct. Sometimes love can be bad and hate can be good. For example, we should not love ourselves when we do evil. Any battered spouse knows that more love is not always the answer.

Like love, hate is eternal. We can never get rid of hate unless we purge ourselves of all emotions, including love. Since we must hate something, that something should be evil. We can improve the human condition by battling evil, but we cannot improve human nature by hating hate. By hating evil, we use our hate to do good.

Letting emotions like love govern our behavior sets the dangerous precedent of letting the heart rule the head. If emotions like love govern our actions, we cannot legitimately criticize those who act out by emotions like hate.

We have little control over what we love, but full control over doing good or evil. We can do good to someone who is evil, but we cannot love someone we hate.

What we do (good or evil) should always be more important than what we feel (love or hate).

--Steve Brandon

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