The Giant Hat Has a Big Fan

Regarding ad man Earl Wettstein's idea of a 10-story cowboy hat ("Hat's Off," The Range, March 15)--brilliant! Tucson would be on the map.

I believe those who have given this great suggestion the cold shoulder have all the imagination of an unflushed toilet. Tucson deserves better representatives. How do we rid ourselves of the brain dead?

Herb Schapiro

Can't All Our Activist Letter Writers Just Get Along?

Regarding Claudia Ellquist's recent response ("Retort: Nielsen Is at Raytheon's Gates Regularly," Mailbag, March 1) to my letter to the editor ("Nielsen's Commentary Seemed Naïve," Mailbag, Feb. 8), I've jumped up off my couch and made my way to the computer. Wow. She says I cannot write, yet her own letter is not that well written! Claudia, you asked for a second letter, and here it is.

I can only conclude by the emotion that motivates her words that Ellquist is a comrade of Gretchen Nielsen's in the good fight to make our world better (Guest Commentary, Jan. 25). Good for you to defend your friend, but why resort to a lawyer's tactic of discrediting a critic by making personal what is political?

As Ellquist unkindly observed, I'm not a widely published, well-respected writer. I am an imperfect citizen who stuck his neck out and cried out into the gaping void that passes for public discourse here in our town. My motivation was to become more involved in my community. I expressed myself in a letter to the editor, disagreeing with the substance of Nielsen's argument: that the citizens of Tucson should somehow persuade Raytheon to put its resources to better use. My opinion: I'd rather more of us put our activist tendencies to good use in something easier to attain, like improving the safety of our streets, because so many pedestrians are unnecessarily killed.

Rather than limiting her response to raising the public's consciousness about this truly vexing issue of Raytheon's presence in our community, Ellquist chose to make a pointed personal attack to silence/discredit a fellow citizen. Do we all have to be able to write well, be widely published and well respected to express ourselves in a letter to the editor? Is there an intellectual pecking order to determine which citizens express themselves? There is a whiff of elitism in Ellquist's words. I do lack a distinguished career in civil disobedience, but I sincerely admire both Nielsen and Ellquist for doing so.

The role of the individual in history is not to stand by as "great" men and women of distinction determine events, but to put my own shoulder to the wheel and effect positive change. I am not silent, and that must be my imperfect distinction in the tangled mess that is the military-industrial states of America. Perhaps we could meet for tea and agree to disagree.

I am sorry for any offense that was taken; there certainly needs to be more loving kindness in this town. I'll keep trying, starting with you, Claudia and Gretchen. We're better off having had your contributions to our evolution as a democracy; please continue putting up the good fight. Thanks.

Lewis Humphreys

Education Responsibilities Should Not Just Be in the Hands of States

Sen. Thayer Verschoor's Senate Bill 1542, which would punish teachers for not presenting more than one side of controversial public issues, places responsibility for students' learning wholly in the hands of the state, and out of the hands of students, parents and other citizens ("Dirty Dozen," March 8). Many conservatives have for decades lamented the growth of state power, especially in the hands of people with supposedly opposing viewpoints. Really, those liberals and progressives advocating great state power and interference in homes and classrooms learned at the knee of many conservatives, and once grown up, still worshipped the same icon of state power.

Aaron Johnson

Horses Will Be Affected by Peak Oil, Too

Whoa! Think ankle express, not Pony Express.

We won't be riding horses to Wal-Mart--or anywhere else around Tucson, if Guy McPherson's dire predictions regarding the end of oil come to pass (Guest Commentary, March 1).

Horse-keeping in Southeast Arizona is as dependent on cheap abundant oil sources as the car culture. No pasture forage for horse-grazing exists here; hay for horses is trucked in from places like El Centro, Calif., and Casa Grande--after being sown, grown, harvested and transported using oil-burning machinery.

No water for humans? None for horses, either. An adult horse consumes up to 16 gallons of water per day in hot weather. Alfalfa hay crops require irrigation to produce.

We've been yanked around by oil-depletion scares since the gas lines of the early '70s. Understandably, we're skeptical about the depletion eventuality when the BBC News Service reported Venezuela is sitting on enough oil reserves to supply the entire planet for the next 100 years.

If this is so, wouldn't it be wiser to come to a diplomatic accord with Hugo Chávez, rather than huddle in the dark with no goods or services or means to procure them? Water supply problems, we'll have to work out for ourselves.

Maybe it's not all bad if running out of oil in Tucson means a Wal-Mart won't be built anywhere else in the future.

Susan White

God's With Us, Not Organized Religion

Tim Vanderpool has hit the nail directly on target ("Agitating for Change," Currents, March 15)!

Lynn Bagley's dream church will only exist when organized religion ceases to exist and, as illustrated in the story, the authority of the church is doing a fine job of imploding on themselves.

The solution is easy: As we become aware that the leaders in organized religion pretend to be the final arbiter of right and wrong, and as they continue to deny or ignore the message brought by Jesus while excommunicating folks who dare to think for themselves, we grow to understand ourselves and each other.

In reality, we are all victim/survivors in one way or another. The shepherds fleece the flock and lead them to slaughter. Their only "god" is power; power equates with money.

Let us minister to one another in a manner much like Call to Action. Let us be open-minded; let us listen and hear others while each of us shares the pain of having been deceived, and each one of us shares the joy of waking up to find that God (by whatever name) is alive, well and laughing with us.

Kay Goodnow

Danehy's Column Was So Clueless!

Does Tom Danehy even think before he writes those darn columns (March 15)? Does he ever reread them before he sends them in? Does he ever think of asking for some sort of pre-reading by someone with a clue?

We are not allowed to say, "That is so Mexican," or, "That is so black!" Why on Earth would we say, "That is so gay?" He says that it is OK because a lot of people are using it. Well, then, I guess we should all be greeting each other by saying, "What up, my nigga?"

I request that my students do not use it at school, because I prefer to teach them about tolerance. But here comes Danehy, blurting out his brand of idiocy. Sheesh.

Lynn Kramer


Last week's article "Advice in Jeopardy" should have stated that the city council meeting date was April 4. The Weekly apologizes for the error.
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