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The Suffering Caused by DUI Deaths Lasts Forever

Tomorrow would have been my granddaughter's 11th birthday. Instead, Haley--along with her mother (my daughter Wendy, 37)--was in the path of a young man who was nearly three times over the legal blood-alcohol level limit. My daughter died instantly on April 28, which just happens to be the birthday of my other daughter, Ronni. My granddaughter lived an additional 20 days. Lived is not the right word; she was not alive. She was in a coma and never regained consciousness.

Like Tom Danehy (Dec. 30), we are devastated by our loss AND frustrated with the criminal justice system. We know that our pain and grief will be forever. His pain after 20 years proves that.

The killer of my daughter and granddaughter, Christopher Linton, was sentenced to 18 years. He wanted seven. The sentences could have run anywhere from 7 years to 60. His high-profile defense attorney, Melvin McDonald, was quoted as saying this was "one horrific mistake" and that his client, Linton, should be the poster child for such situations. McDonald thought leniency was the right thing, as he said Linton did not "intend" to kill my girls. We are satisfied, but not elated, about the 18-year sentence. We think he should have spent time serving consecutive terms for each of the crimes. It is our understanding that Linton may appeal the 18-year sentence as "too harsh."

As you know, it does not matter to us whether Linton was a hardened criminal or first-time offender. The end result was the same. He made a choice and took risks. He was not hurt. My son-in-law (Thomas) and grandson (Patrick, 9) were also in the van and survived. Thomas was in intensive care for five weeks, only to wake up to hear that he had lost Wendy and Haley and that he would be raising his son alone. Patrick is doing OK, but who knows what is really going on in his mind and heart?

We donated several of Haley's organs to others; her little heart went to a 10-year-old in California. Patrick asked why someone could not have donated a brain to Haley (she died of a cerebral hemorrhage) since someone was able to get Haley's heart. I told him doctors don't know how to do that yet, but maybe the little girl who got Haley's heart will be smart enough to do that someday.

I have not been satisfied with MADD and have sought relief elsewhere (grief support groups). Although I have talked with the MADD representative here in Phoenix, there does not seem to be much outreach to victims. At least not our family.

Tom, I wish you and your family well, and I am sorry for your losses.

Doryce Norwood


Bush Keeps the Cycle of Violence in Action

An entire article about the pain and suffering caused by people caught in the violence of war ("Soldier's Heart," Jan. 6)--bravo. Only it's one sided, isn't it?

One soldier wanted to break a bar stool over another guy's head over a game of pool after returning from the violence of war. Yet, Americans are shocked when people from other countries act in horrible ways after being subjected to the same violence. We call it terrorism when they respond in madness to violence, and post traumatic stress syndrome when someone in the United States military does it. But aren't the causes the same? The cycle of violence creates damaged people who live in a nightmare, seeking phantoms to vent their rage. They vent, and then the cycle continues.

Thus we have the attacks on Sept. 11; the Palestinian and Israeli conflict; the Rwandan massacres; Northern Ireland and England; the repression in Aceh; Pakistan and India; Russia and Chechnya. The post-trauma nightmare is everywhere, and everywhere is war.

So let us remember: The people of Iraq and Afghanistan also suffer from the violence, have to live with their families while living with the nightmares and eventually lose their minds from the pain. They live with the same syndrome as the U.S. soldier.

Bush and his gang stand ready to send your children and loved ones--and the children and loved ones of people around the world--into madness and death. The stores will stay full; the oil will flow; and business will be as usual. But among us will be the walking dead, the mad and the war-torn. They will not only walk here in the United States, but around the world.

Please remember that a terrorist attack prior to Sept. 11 occurred because a United States soldier went mad. Timothy McVeigh should serve as a constant reminder of the immediate costs of war. Timothy McVeigh also served in Iraq.

Jim Ru


Atheists Are in Foxholes, Tom

I must take Tom Danehy (Jan. 6) to task for repeating the tired old saying that there are no atheists in foxholes. Not only is it not true (consider Pat Tillman, for a prominent example), but it's insulting.

It's spoken like a true believer who can't even imagine the nonexistence of a supreme being, who must assume non-believers can't be sincere.

Don Copler


Petland Rep's Letter Was Incredible, Slanderous

I find it incredible that Petland rep Steve Landau, in his letter attempting to show the "other side" of the Petland advertising issue ("Petland Rep: Weekly Was Wrong to Just Run Letters," Mailbag, Jan. 6), chooses to slander local humane organizations, Humane Society and FAIR.

This is the equivalent of the ugly stepsister calling Cinderella ugly in an attempt to make herself look prettier. While it is good that Petland has a policy to take back animals they have sold that families cannot handle, and that they have therapy animals, the assertion that Petland has saved more animals than the Humane Society and FAIR is ridiculous.

Does Petland take in pit bull after pit bull after pit bull? Does Petland take in the 17-year-old cat whose elderly owner just died? Does Petland have numbers on how many of their pets eventually end up at the Humane Society or Animal Control? While it is true that the Humane Society should have responded to your generous offer of the use of space in your store, you can surely see where the conflict lies there. When faced with the choice of a large, mixed-breed dog with a history of behavioral problems, or a cute little furry purebred puppy, which do you think the public will choose?

Hard to say, but it's too big a risk when an animal's life in on the line.

Julie E. Ragland


Another Opinion on the Charlie's Dining Experience

As someone very familiar with Charlie's Tavern and Grill, I conducted my own informal and unscientific survey of the article Rita Connelly wrote and the consensus was that she already had specific expectations of what her experience would, or should, be like ("Western Wannabe, Chow, Dec. 30). Once her expectations were not realized, she opted to write only negative comments. Charlie's menu options and atmosphere are a plus to any establishment aiming to please a wide variety of customers--something you seemed to have completely missed!

The restaurant offers a Western-style menu; I should not have to remind someone in your profession that this does not necessarily mean several types of steaks, ribs, beans, white bread and so on.

It is my sincere hope that this article does not reflect her journalism skills and method. The Tucson Weekly readers deserve a more professional, responsible and respectable opinion. Fortunately, the general public is much smarter than any "wannabe" restaurant critic realizes.

Carol Fisher

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