Kids These Days

To the Editor,

Regarding both The Skinny's "Pussyfooting Around Panhandlers" (Tucson Weekly, February 8) and lawyer Paul Gattone's fierce rebuttal (Letters, Tucson Weekly, February 29), I would like to clarify the issue of homeless youth on Fourth Avenue.

Mailbag I was a homeless youth for years. There is a big difference, however, between kids who run away or are kicked out but who would dearly like to have a stable, loving family life, and wanderers who choose to live on the road. The panhandlers on Fourth belong to the latter group. They want to live as they do--free, unfettered by work schedules and the rat race. They have decided to live outside of what they consider the deadening bourgeois or working class structures of the society around them. They don't want pity, or pat solutions to their problems, which they don't see as problems at all.

On the other hand, being young, they also fail to understand that if they have made the choice to drop out and reject society, they must come up with their own solutions as to how to put food in their mouths. Nobody owes them a living. Bad-mouthing government and society and then expecting handouts is a contradiction at best. Do they really believe that in an ideal society, as adults they could just lay about all day and expect to be fed?

Who grows the organic crops they crave, the unsprayed cotton garments they can't be bothered to weave or sew? Or the pot they smoke assiduously, to lift their minds and feet off the polluted ground into a stratosphere of, yes, wonderful dreams and aspirations, but no way of dealing with the all-too-real necessities of the body?

I, too, have been offended by the aggressive panhandling, particularly since I was a free-choice wanderer in my careless youth. I still espouse many of the same dreams and aspirations, but never did I beg. If I wanted to eat, I made crafts for sale, or did jobs for a plate of food.

Get off your duffs, kiddos, and do something. Make revolution, make art, make a change. How do you think a traditional Native American tribe, say, would've dealt with you? They would've kicked you out faster than you can say immature lazy bum. You want food, grow it; you want money, find a way to make it; you despise money, barter; you don't like exploitation, don't exploit.

There are many who have opted out and are living in radically different ways from the industrial consumerist nine-to-five grind. But it takes hard work and daily effort to live on this plane, and you'd best get it together, since this is where you are. Besides, from the point of view of spirit, a much-bandied concept among freedom seekers, being lazy and obnoxious won't earn you brownie points on the other side.

--Maria Cadaxa

Repugnant Selfishness

To the Editor,

Jeff Smith's apparent perception that homophobic tendencies exist among Utah Mormons may not be erroneous, but he misses the point by insisting this was the primary factor a homosexual club was not allowed in a Utah high school ("Club Dread," Tucson Weekly, February 29). What is "no big deal" to Smith was obviously of some concern to some people in another state, who just as likely would have prevented the formation of a club based on any other sexual orientation.

At the risk of drawing gasps from Smith and others, it should be pointed out that the sexual liberation enjoyed in the last 30 years or so can not be called an unqualified success: the last generation has broadened the menu of available sexually transmitted infections, and has paid therapists to tell them that it is all really all right ("get a divorce--screw the kids--wear a condom--besides, nothing else matters if you're not sexually happy..."). And its dabbling in pop psychology and Native American mysticism has not balanced the spiritual and emotional wounds, as well as the physical disease and death, caused by this repugnant selfishness.

Now Smith expects other people, states and religions to assuage his self-complacency by embracing his Constitutionally liberated notions of sexuality. I'm sure Smith has asked this of others, so I'll take this opportunity to be bold: "Keep your morality to yourself."

--Dewaine McBride

Taking Offense

To the Editor,

I am constantly stunned by the actions of psychotic or sadistic individuals who are roaming our streets and accosting our children. The appalling article "Cross-Country Killer" (Tucson Weekly, February 29) presented the disgusting issue of sadism to thousands of readers.

I was particularly offended by the fact that the Tucson Weekly would place on their cover a revealing photograph of a child victim being forced to pose naked while bound in chains by her kidnapper. The Weekly's choice of a cover photo was thoughtless and gave no consideration to the dead victim or to her family.

The pictures that accompanied the story were equally as disturbing. The contents of Robert Ben Rhoades "rape kit" was put on display so that every borderline rapist in the city of Tucson would know what to include in his own self-assembled, do-it-at-home rape kit.

The article went into great depth to describe the tactics Robert Rhoades used to seek out his victims, the implements he used, the torture he forced them to succumb to, and the mutilated state in which he left the bodies. Not once did the article mention what precautions should be taken to prevent this from happening to other children. The article never described what type of physical, psychological or mental rehabilitation is administered to these diagnosed sadists.

The Weekly failed to discuss the most urgent dilemma society faces as it enters an era where rape, misogyny and sadism are everyday occurrences that are so commonplace that their images appear on the cover of tactless curbside newspapers. Please do not let this happen again.

--Lora Kulakowski

Blowing Smoke

To the Editor,

Regarding Michael Burns' article on global warming ("140 Degrees," Tucson Weekly, February 15) and his blathering response to Mrill Ingram's subsequent letter: Burns overstates his case to the detriment of the article. Make him hire an editor before you publish him again.

--David M. Brown

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