Pathway Article Was Sensitive, Compassionate

I'm a little late in sending this, but I wanted to thank you for covering this story and allowing me to offer the perspective of the rape prevention and treatment fields ("Pathway's Problematic Preachings," May 5). We appreciate the appropriately critical tone of your piece and offer our support to Meehan's and Stonebraker's victims. As you know, sexual trauma has intense, long-term psychological and social ramifications, including depression, drug and alcohol abuse, hyper-arousal, sexually reactive behaviors, nightmares and flashbacks. It doesn't help matters when victims are routinely blamed--by themselves, the media, their families, their friends and even their addiction counselors--for the violence inflicted upon them. While I appreciate your attempt to balance your story by allowing former client Dan Kozlowski to clarify Meehan's position on the issue, I have to respond. Kozlowski gives a hypothetical question and then asks the rhetorical questions: "Did she ask for it? Did she put herself in a situation where she knew it could happen?" I wish I had the opportunity to follow-up and respond to that for your article because I would have replied with an emphatic "no!"

Sexual violence happens everywhere, to men and women, the elderly and children. Nobody asks to be raped. That's like saying a burn victim asked to be set on fire. The only person who has a choice about whether or not a rape will happen is the person who chooses to commit the rape. The rest of the circumstances are irrelevant. The blame always rests on the perpetrator.

Risk reduction may provide neat and tidy examples of ways to mitigate your chances of being raped, but they will never totally eliminate the possibility. Remember, a rapist's goal is to exert power over his victim by taking away the victim's control of the circumstances and her decision of whether or not to have sex.

All told, you wrote an excellent story, and we really appreciate the sensitivity you showed toward your interview subjects. Again, many thanks for covering a difficult topic with such compassion.

Michael Mandel
Southern Arizona Center Against Sexual Assault

Pathway Article Was Junk, Ambush Journalism

My son is a counselor with one of the teenage substance-abuse programs affiliated with the Pathway program in Arizona. I can't decide if "junk journalism" or "ambush journalism" more aptly describes my opinion of the article written by Arek Sarkissian II about Pathway.

Why "junk journalism"? You talked to a half-dozen pissed-off people and called it coverage. Why "ambush journalism"? An article of this magnitude required extensive work by the reporter. He tried to reach Clint Stonebraker, who runs Pathway, on a Friday, claiming a Monday deadline. When told Clint had left for vacation, Sarkissian tried to get the young counselor to speak for the program, which was beyond the scope of his job. Any boss would have had his head, had he complied. If your reporter had any intention of getting to know Pathway--trying to understand for himself where the truth was, learning what "enthusiastic sobriety" means, meeting Cliff and his staff to hear their side--he would have let the piece go until Clint returned from vacation where, I understand, he was unreachable. Your reporter was either woefully disorganized or has an editor so uncritical that he could get away with sloppiness like that. My husband publishes a weekly paper and would have never tolerated that from a reporter or editor.

What's great about alternative weeklies is that they're not afraid to take a stand against pomposity. They give us edgy looks at our society; they're willing to risk being other than "if it bleeds, it leads" journalism. Why did you take such a National Enquirer approach this time? You have an impressive background, and I think the world of "alternative journalism" is lucky to have someone with your intelligence and capability, and I include your editor, Jimmy Boegle. But this article was beneath you and just plain shameful. Why the ire? Our son was with Crossroads in St. Louis for four years and then decided he wanted to help other teens get sober. He didn't follow the college-bound path we'd dreamed for him, but he says, when we ask him if he likes his job, "I'm saving lives here, Mom." Bob Meehan, the program's founder, is the most outrageous 60-year-old you will ever meet. But his core and his teachings are rock-solid; and his appeal is powerful. It has to be, to make kids to decide sobriety is cooler than drug or alcohol addiction. Meehan's great; the counselors are awesome, and I'm one grateful parent.

M. Rose Jonas

This Nation Should Fear Christians

My perceptions of Christians are so different from Renée Downing's (May 19). I see Christians as belonging to one of three groups.

Members of the first group put their faith, trust and decision-making in God's hands. This group is politically powerless by choice and likely to remain so.

Members of the second group squeal about social injustice, loss of jobs, lack of health care and the growing gap between rich and poor. This group does not move beyond squeals and laments to effect change. This group, though noisy, is also powerless.

Members of the third group, led by President Bush, Sen. Bill Frist, and Rep. Tom DeLay, daily hammer the public with the evils of stem cell research, activist judges, the sanctity of heterosexual marriage and the need for a constitutional ban against same-sex marriage. This group is powerful and well-organized. This group's agenda is being enacted in spite of the horrendous economic and social damage to the nation. May America be saved from God.

Patrick Bishop

Bad Spanish Leads to Bad Business

Congratulations on your article "Habla Español?" (Currents, May 19). It covered the issues related to catering to Mexican consumers' needs really well, and Juan Ciscomani's commendable efforts to improve the Spanish of retailers in the Tucson area. As a professional in languages and translations, I would have added a paragraph or two about the need for quality in bilingual business communications. When used improperly, Spanish can be, if not offensive, funny or ridiculous to the potential customer, turning a potential asset into a liability, a sale into a "turn-off." In these situations, good, simple English will result in more sales than mediocre Spanish.

Our city has many examples of translations that, in a roundabout way, tell the Mexican consumer that we do not care enough about his/her culture to come up with a good translation. Examples can be even seen in your otherwise great article, where "Habla Español?" should be "¿Habla Español?" "Salon de Belleza Abierta" should be "Salón de Belleza Abierto" (note accute accent on the letter "o").

Hector Legrand

Who Cares About Football? I Want to Know About I-10

After reading your article on Richard Fimbres, director of the Office of Highway Safety, I must comment (TQ&A, May 12). This man avoided sharing anything innovative or substantial about our transportation problems. Fimbres said he sees the problems out there first-hand. But then he doesn't mention anything else about what he's doing to try and improve the situation. Are there plans to widen Interstate 10 between Tucson and Phoenix in our lifetimes? That highway is extremely dangerous, a nd all Fimbres can say is that he's aware of the problem. What is he being paid to do? The rest of your article was a bunch of fluff that had nothing informative to share about our transportation problems. I felt this article could have given me some insights into some hopeful plans for the future. But there were none.

Curtis Simpson

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