Wild Horses? Get Rid of 'Em!

Reading "Wild Hooves" (City Week, June 5) left me feeling both sad and angry toward the poor, dumb creatures featured in the article. I don't mean the horses. I'm talking about the sentimental airheads who insist on keeping feral horses and burros on public lands.

The modern horse did not descend from pre-historic American ancestors; it was brought here by Europeans. Horses and native flora and fauna did not evolve together and are not compatible. The result is an animal that fares poorly in the West's arid lands while being hard on native plants and wildlife.

To indigenous wildlife, the horse is an unwelcome guest that eats all the groceries, wrecks the joint and can't be made to leave. Unlike native ungulates, the teeth and hooves of a horse are constructed in ways that make them harmful to the soil and plants of the desert. They turn meadows into barren dirt and riparian areas into mud holes. Not being well-adapted to the desert, horses and their burro cousins spend too much time around desert seeps and springs, often deliberately keeping away native wildlife.

They have no effective natural predators to limit their population. Many live where coyote and mountain lion populations are naturally low, and these predators are only marginally capable of preying successfully on horses. Some biologists believe that for every feral horse that becomes a meal for a mountain lion, another hungry lion ends up kicked and stomped to death. But if horses are brutal to the desert, the desert is equally unkind to horses.

The Bureau of Land Management is too underfunded to effectively perform even the minimum population-control activities allowed by the Wild Horse and Burro Act. Environmentalists understand the problem but are too enmeshed with animal-rights activists to risk upsetting them. Ranchers with cattle-grazing permits and hunters seeking habitat protection for deer, bighorn sheep and antelope are demonized and dismissed as self-serving. And as this story demonstrates, the press prefers heartwarming depictions of gallant horse saviors instead of fact-based analysis.

Larry Audsley

Come and See for Yourself Before Judging Raza Studies

I was deeply offended by Tom Danehy's column due to the continued mischaracterization of our Raza Studies classes (June 12). The media is simply relaying false information without a rigorous examination of our classes.

Danehy speaks of his friend Carlos as a dedicated family man, volunteer coach and upstanding citizen. He is not alone. I coached basketball for 10 years, and many of my colleagues at Raza Studies are vital and active members of our community. We flat-out do not teach victimization. Instead, our students discover their academic identity, graduate high school and attend college at rates that are much higher than district, state and national averages. Students have received scholarships from my classroom every year since the inception of our class. Our students, parents and schools support us because of our record and because of the positive changes they have seen in the lives of the students. Our teachers are honors students in graduate programs at the UA College of Education. We study and work as hard after class, and in the summer, as we do in the classroom each day.

I invite Carlos, Tom or any citizen to come to my classes and see our curriculum, pedagogy and students for themselves. Please stop the character assassination of the teachers without seeing things for yourselves.

Curtis Acosta, Tucson High Magnet School

Tom Danehy's a Meat-Eating, Oppressive Racist

If you haven't realized that Tom Danehy is a racist, then his latest piece of trash he calls writing should convince all of you. It's interesting he hides his racist ideas behind some guy named "Carlos" who happens to be an engineer and "Hispanic."

First, if "Carlos" does exist, he is the typical assimilated minority who has no idea who he is and where he comes from. Second, Danehy says Carlos' father was an activist. So? What's your point? Third, if "Carlos" does exist, it is no surprise that an assimilate minority is friends with a racist. Fourth, Danehy writes that "Carlos" says, "I can't believe that even one penny of my tax money is going to fund a program that teaches kids that it's not only OK to dislike other people because of the way they look; it's also perfectly acceptable to aim low." I can't believe even one penny of my tax money is going to fund wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. Also, has Danehy or "Carlos" sat through one of the Raza Studies classes, or do they even know anyone closely associated with the classes?

Raza Studies is not perfect, but when Mexican students are told that Isaac Newton invented calculus instead of the Mayas, we need Raza Studies. Danehy and "Carlos" make grand assumptions about Raza Studies which reveal their own ignorance. In sum, the hastiness to attack Raza Studies is nothing but a weak response to otherwise highly complex political, economic, historic and social issues that you clearly fail to acknowledge.

Currently, Mexican students per se, not to be confused with Latinos or Hispanics, are able to sustain their "national identity" (a conquested one) only through an oppressive, complicated, dependent relationship with the United States, Europe and the dialectical intersection of the Western-Hemispheric subsistence and history with the Judeo-Christian legacy.

By the way, Tom Danehy, I'm a VEGAN because killing animals for whatever reason is WRONG, and I'm a full blooded NATIVE AMERICAN (with a silly Jewish first name; it's not a Mexican name or a Spanish name) who happened to realize that native tribes in the Western Hemisphere were vegetarian at the very least.

Jesus Jimenez

Tarot Cards and Religion Are the Same Thing

"Fortune Hunters" (Currents, June 12) clearly shows that the city of Tucson is still 50 years or more behind the times.

Tarot readers fall under religion. Spirituality falls under one's religious beliefs, and there is not a church in this town that does not take money and does not do predicting. Whether the predictions come from prophets or Tarot cards, it is still the same. Although there are going to be charlatans in this field, there are charlatans in every field. The city should back off.

Vinnie E. Allbritton

And We're Sorry That Mr. Metras Doesn't Seem to Have a Sense of Humor

I was amused by the title you placed on my letter ("This Letter Writer Has Apparently Never Heard of Safety Harnesses," Mailbag, June 5) regarding Linda Hatfield's commentary (April 24) criticizing the Bush administration's policies on workplace safety.

In an attempt to make me look silly, you actually made my point for me while at the same time missing the point entirely. We do not need a billion-dollar government bureaucracy when a little common sense and $20 will do.

I am sorry my sarcasm was over your head. In the future, I will attempt to write to a lower reading level.

Jim Metras


In the "Now Showing at Home" review of Dirty Harry (June 19), Bob Grimm referred to a sniper at Kent State; he actually meant to refer to Charles Whitman, the University of Texas sniper. We apologize for the error.
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