Nature Is Murder; Waterboarding Is Torture

Catherine O'Sullivan recounts her recoiling at the educational murder of a live frog in high school biology (Nov. 15). If done right, the frogs were already anesthetized with an ether-like chemical ahead of time, as happened in my high school biology class (Dark Ages, ca. 1969). But O'Sullivan decided to take a superior moral stand against killing until presented with clams that suffered fatal acidification, which surely must be a painless death, especially if it isn't yours. Yet she fails to explain her moral relativism.

Any good vegetarian must be shocked that she was content to dissect that innocent (yet tasty) bivalve mollusk. But then again, the vegetarian doesn't mind ripping the broccoli out of the ground and boiling it, only because he doesn't hear the screams. Where does it stop? It doesn't; as Alan Watts said, nature is mutual murder.

Even so, waterboarding IS torture, and anyone who says otherwise should be on the receiving end and find out for himself.

Ted DiSante

I Am Chairman, So, Therefore, I Am Expert!

Jim Nintzel made the following comment in regard to (California) Proposition 13: "This is lousy policy, because over time, it totally skews the property-tax system, creating gigantic inequities based on when you bought your home rather than your home's actual value" ("The Wrong Cut," The Skinny, Nov. 22).

As the chairman and chief architect of the "responsible citizens initiatives" being promoted by Arizona Tax Revolt, I am an expert in all aspects of Arizona property taxation and California's Prop 13 measure as well. And it may surprise you, but I agree with your statement referring to an acquisition system (purchase price) as creating giant inequities. Since I was the lead in the design of the two property-tax rollback measures, we must have done something better than Prop 13. If you are intrigued, please visit our Web site, and then give me a call so that I can personally answer your questions and bring you up to speed on our measures which are inspired by but definitely not Prop 13.

In spite of your employer's disdain for any property-tax limitation measure, I would bet that you would wholeheartedly support it due to the benefit to you, your children and grandchildren. Can Prop 13 claim to be fair to future generations?

Marc Goldstone

The 'Weekly' Needs to Be Nice to Patterson and Stop Badgering Kromko!

Jim Nintzel might think Daniel Patterson, is, as he says, "fiscally weird and impractical," but I, for one, support him ("Scramblewatch'08: The Doctor Is in Edition," The Skinny, Nov. 22).

As a resident of downtown, I can attest to the fact that Daniel is a strong and resounding voice for all of us who live here. He refuses to placate the developers taking advantage of the supposed future of Rio Nuevo, and asks vital questions. Daniel is at every neighborhood meeting, even when it's an adjoining neighborhood meeting, and he was active long before he announced his candidacy for state representative.

Daniel is also one of the few individuals in the community who has consistently volunteered in my fifth-grade classroom. He has facilitated many wonderful discussions on the environment and the issues of growth in Tucson and the Sonoran Desert. Daniel cares about children and the future issues they may face.

As for the constant badgering of John Kromko, the Weekly should pick another target. It's boring and mean spirited.

Lastly, as for Jonathon Paton, the "most quotable member" of the Arizona Legislature, it's no wonder. You guys have done nothing but douse him in glory and give him gushy press. What's up with that?

Mary Caroline Rogers

Red-Light Cameras Are Merely Moneymakers, Because They Don't Deter

No one can argue that Tucson's new red-light cameras are a substantial revenue stream for the city ("Robocop Activated," The Range, Oct. 18). News reports indicate that the trend is spreading to other jurisdictions. And why not? No big-spending government agency could possibly resist the free money. Conversely, those who choose to run red lights are placing motorists at risk and shouldn't be too upset about getting a ticket in the mail.

But what do the cameras miss?

This high-tech tool lacks human intervention. Traffic stops featuring a human being often reveal secondary and more serious violations--such as drunk drivers, fugitives who are wanted on warrants, drugs and stolen items, just to name a few. And officers have a chance of stopping an uninsured driver.

You just can't replace a good police officer with a gadget.

Also missing is the lack of a deterrent effect. Why, after hundreds and hundreds of violations, do drivers continue to run the red light on a regular basis? It's because they don't see others getting a ticket and because they aren't aware of the camera's presence. When the light turns yellow, they choose to hit the gas instead of the brake. With the tremendous number of rear-end accidents, some might argue they are practicing "defensive driving" in Tucson.

Now, for a moment, picture a squad car near that intersection every day with its lights flashing and a driver waiting for his or her ticket. A few mornings of seeing traffic stops there, and drivers would suddenly become compliant. It's known in the police business as "the halo effect."

It's not too late to turn the camera into a deterrent tool. If the city is truly interested in driver safety and not simply a revenue stream, they could place large signs on the approach from all directions which call attention to the existence of the high-tech enforcement. "Intersection ahead is photo enforced" should do it. Then, and only then, will the camera become a tool that helps prevent property damage and injury.

The techno-enforcement tool is nothing but a fundraiser. That's all.

William Raley, former police officer

The Argument Between War Demonstrators Keeps on Going, Ad Nauseum

Don Smith accuses me of "snark and facile thinking" ("A Rebuttal From a Pro-War Guy, Including a Little Name-Calling," Mailbag, Nov. 15) for disagreeing with his pro-war nonsense, as if, by contrast, it is some high intellectual achievement to think that the hundreds of thousands of Iraqi civilians who have been killed in the occupation had anything to do with Sept. 11--or that by killing them, we are bringing them (or their survivors) democracy.

Then he continues to argue, from his warped worldview, that peace demonstrators are somehow more barbaric than the supporters of this war of aggression. But, if you're in doubt, he assures us that the real "moonbats" are in the anti-war movement.

Matt Peters

The United States Dragged Other Countries Into Anti-Drug Treaties

In the recent discussion regarding the United States being bound by international law in the "war on drugs" (Guest Commentary, Oct. 18, and Mailbag, Nov. 1 and Nov. 15) an important point has been omitted--that it was the United States that dragged other countries into international agreements. History tells us that one paranoid, rabid, blue-nosed (ahem) O-ring started the whole anti-pot frenzy in the 1930s. Google "Harry J. Anslinger."

Lois Smith

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