Claim: It's Offensive to Call Sensei a 'Stubborn White Guy'

In a recent story about Odaiko Sonora founder Karen Falkenstrom ("A Different Beat," Performing Arts, July 2), her partner referred to their former teacher Stanley Morgan as a "stubborn white guy."

I am very offended and upset that they would express such disrespect and disdain for their former teacher. Stanley Morgan was also my sensei, or teacher, for the martial art of kendo. Yes, Morgan Sensei can be stubborn, but this is because he takes a traditional view of the arts he teaches. He is Caucasian, but lived most of his life within the Japanese community and in the Asian way. Sensei never charged for the lessons he gave in kendo or taiko, because he loves these arts and felt they should be taught freely. Not only did he give freely of his knowledge to Karen and Rome Hamner, but he also taught them how to make drums and gave them some of his when he could no longer use them.

While I appreciate the fact that Morgan Sensei was given credit for his contribution to Odaiko Sonora, the way he was characterized in the article shows an unacceptable level of disdain for someone who helped Karen and Rome launch their taiko careers.

Paul Gattone

Terry Bressi Really, Really Needs a Hobby

Regarding Tim Vanderpool's article "Running the Gauntlet" (Currents, June 18): Should we empathize with Terry Bressi, alleged victim of police and Border Patrol harassment? Even from Vanderpool's apparently sympathetic point of view, this guy begs for problems. He basically made a hobby of harassing beat cops, and then he's offended to catch relatively mild retaliation.

In 2002, he decides at a Tohono O'odham Police Department sobriety checkpoint to balk at the presence of Border Patrol officers and question the legality of their presence. Stop right there. If a mixed mission like that is illegal, then writing your congressman or authorities in BP or TOPD is prudent. Giving the officers on the spot a hard time is neither prudent nor productive. They can't pack up and leave. They have a job assignment.

He continues his childish feud by taking photos of BP officers whenever he passes checkpoints. Did it occur to him that they may be sensitive about names and photos, because they may have made dangerous enemies while in our service? You know, drug cartels, human smugglers and people who don't file civil lawsuits, but might look your address up in the phonebook if they have your name and a photo?

Mr. Bressi's lawsuit should be dismissed as frivolous. Lock him up when he pulls out a camera at a checkpoint or refuses to identify himself to an officer of the law.

Get a new hobby, Mr. Bressi. Help the homeless. Do charity work in Nogales. Make a positive difference with all that energy and emotion.

Mike Walborn

A Public Defender Spending $800k Shows Incompetence, as Do Our Legislatures

The sorry story of the public defender spending $800,000 on an incompetent criminal defense is an appalling, if not surprising, reminder of the utter incompetence and neglect of our public officials ("Orgy of Excess," July 2). Obviously, nobody was paying attention as attorney Andrew Diodati wasted almost a million dollars of our taxpayer money.

But the absolute pinnacle of imbecility comes with: "The disciplinary action summary lists physical and mental disabilities as mitigating factors." So, if you're too confused and stupid to be a lawyer, that's a mitigating factor in a case of malfeasance and incompetence? Is this what our legislators had in mind when they passed laws protecting the employment rights of the mentally challenged? I fear the answer is yes, since the performance of both the national and state legislatures suggests that they are cut from the same cloth as Mr. Diodati.

Robert A. Benzinger

Putting Water in the Desert Isn't Criminal; Disrupting Life-Saving Work Is

Thank you for Tim Vanderpool's cover story "The Activist Question" (July 9). Knowing almost all of the people he interviewed, I want to commend him for the broad scope of his article, which gets to the heart of the issue of putting out water along the migrant trails that crisscross our desert.

Litter is not welcomed by anyone, but it is a consequence of misguided federal policies that force desperate migrants into the most dangerous parts of the desert. Humanitarian aid puts us more in touch with our common humanity that no border and no nationality can deny.

Federal, state or local law enforcement that discounts the life-and-death reality that is being faced daily in our deserts diminishes our social fabric that is undergirded by human dignity and respect. For authorities to claim that water placed in the desert is litter is dishonest. To discount the life-saving work of the humanitarian groups, such as No More Deaths, is troubling. To disrupt this humanitarian work, in the midst of the forecasted upcoming heat wave, is the crime.

Brother David Buer

San Xavier Mission

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