Sounds Fishy

To the Editor,

The Weekly just can't seem to make up its collective mind. Either it criticizes local television media for being vapid entertainment barons with whipped topping for gray matter (pick up any issue) or, most recently, it criticizes that same media for adopting a more community-based and ethically responsible approach to journalism (The Skinny, "Without An Audience, And Without A Clue," May 6).

Mailbag Who made your fishwrap the ultimate arbiter of what constitutes proper journalistic practices? (And, by the way, quoting UA law and journalism profs doesn't get you as far as you think.) Don't fool yourself. Your overreaction to KGUN 9's "Viewer Bill of Rights" belies the fact that your journalism is more about scapegoating and whining than "unbiased" or informative reporting.

--Trishia Campie

History Lessons

To the Editor,

Regarding Jeff Smith's "Pistol Grip" (May 6): Couple the general isolation experienced in modern industrial culture with the American mythology of "individualism," and the reasons behind our acceptance of otherwise illogical reasoning become clear. It also helps explain why a writer of Jeff Smith's talent would come to the conclusion that an unorganized, disparate group of marginalized rural poor, neo-facist paramilitarists and the NRA would somehow be able to protect the American people from a well-organized modern army which has the capability, and, perhaps if seriously threatened, the will to destroy the earth's biotic environment a dozen times over.

And before romanticizing the history of guns, a couple of counterpoints should be considered. First of all, the American Revolution was not a people's revolution; it was a revolt of the gentry class against the British-imposed Stamp Act of 1768. It was an opportunistic revolt that succeeded, not as Smith would have it, through good marksmanship, but rather through the colonial ruling classes' ability to organize and finance an army--as well as the fact that the British were preoccupied in the war with the French.

Secondly, the Americas were not "settled" by Europeans, they were invaded by them. This invasion was successful in part due to brute force, and yes, guns did play a role. However, disease was probably a more important factor in the less-than-noble goal of decimating the native peoples. In general, the European invasion had little, if anything, to do with ideology. Rather it was a result of over-population, technological expansion and the concentration of capital in the burgeoning European upper class.

Whatever historic implications one might attribute to firearms, their contemporary role is clear: to make money. This is achieved, according to the theory set forth in the Nixon-Kissinger Doctrine, by arming Third and Fourth World dictatorships and pitting one against another so they have reason to buy arms and hence sell their resources. This cynical policy, which benefits the U.S. transglobal economy abroad, finds its parallels in the domestic market where the war-profiteers also provide weapons for our own culture's inter-tribal class conflict; serving to spread paranoia and ensure that the classes never organize and challenge the ruling hegemony.

While I enjoy Smith's column, his arguments often seem to degenerate to the level of convoluted folkisms. His shoot-from-the-hip writing style, as any marksmen will confirm, has a low probability of ever hitting the mark.

--J.L. Dildine

To the Editor,

Regarding "Pistol Grip," (May 6): Jeff Smith's ending words, "Think about it. And I mean really think about it," should have been heeded by his holier-than-thouness. What illogical drivel, to claim that the root problem of our school shootings is too many children. And, "If [gun control] had prevailed two centuries ago we'd still be subjects rather than citizens"! Wake up, Jeff. It's not two centuries ago, and Richard Nixon did not attempt to overthrow the government, nor would he have if our citizenry had been disarmed. The very pillow you ride on, a free press, would prohibit all your dire forecasts from coming to fruit, and if your guns were taken away, your free-press privileges wouldn't follow shortly thereafter. Your ilk has no confidence in American society, and wants the imagined protection your personal weapons provide. At any cost, apparently.

That column showed me Jeff Smith in a new, sallow light. Not a pretty picture!

--Bob Beck

Santa Barbara

To the Editor,

The recent Skinny article about my efforts to organize a community-wide School Safety Summit ("Failing The Summit," May 20) hit a new low in nastiness. However, I am reminded of the eight "Golden Rules" found on a sign on the wall of Mother Teresa's children's home in Calcutta. I keep them posted on my refrigerator to help me keep my perspective when folks like you lose yours. They came in handy after reading the last Skinny column.

1. People are unreasonable, illogical and self-centered. Love them anyway.

2. If you do good, people will accuse you of selfish motives. Do good anyway.

3. If you are successful, you win false friends and true enemies. Succeed anyway.

4. The good you do will be forgotten tomorrow. Do good anyway.

5. Honesty and frankness make you vulnerable. Be honest and frank anyway.

6. What you spent years building may be destroyed overnight. Build anyway.

7. People often need help, but may attack you when you help them. Help people anyway.

8. Give the world the best you have, and you may still get kicked in the teeth. Give the world the best you have anyway.

I will continue to give the citizens of Pima County the very best I have--no matter what. All I want to do is to make a difference in the community that I grew up in and love so very much. That's why I ran for Pima County Attorney in the first place. It certainly wasn't to get trashed and beat up in the press for trying to do something worthwhile.

--Barbara LaWall

Pima County Attorney

Bone of Contention

To the Editor,

I do not think that Tim Vanderpool's negative portrayal about running drug dogs through schools was fair ("Going To The Dogs," May 20). The headline ("...districts hound students...") mocks important programs run by school districts.

I think it is a positive note that the dogs turned up little in this particular search. As a middle-school teacher, I strongly support school districts that run drug dogs through their campuses. It is vital that we take the necessary steps to keep our schools free of drugs.

Nogales Superintendent Raul Bejarano is correct when he states that these actions send the message that kids who bring drugs to school will be caught. I am sure we all want kids who bring drugs to school to be caught. It is for the safety of all students. Although, it is always nice to know that the friendly neighborhood ACLU is there to protect the rights of kids who bring drugs to school. We would not want to step on anyone's toes.

Kris Bosworth is incorrect when she says it is an issue of trust. It is not that schools do not trust kids, but that schools care enough for their well-being that we are willing to look for those students who bring drugs to school. It is the same reason that the IRS audits taxpayers and the police have radar guns. When there are laws, we all need to be checked on from time to time.

--Steve Poling

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