Letters to the editor

Hey, APD: Consider this my outcry

I’m sitting in the Buncombe County Detention Facility for the second time in two weeks. Two weeks ago, I was tackled to the ground by an Asheville Police officer and placed inside a paddy wagon with other police-brutality victims.

Now, I’m here again [on Friday, March 19], two weeks later, after watching more people get snatched off the sidewalk, some taken to the ground and kicked repeatedly, [and] one tazed while in a compliance hold on the ground.

I’m here to post bond, but the magistrate has just told us that [the detainees will] simply be given a citation and released.

And yet the APD felt they had grounds to be violent with these nonviolent antiwar activists. They felt they had grounds to be violent with queer-rights activists a few weeks ago. They were violent two Halloween parades in a row. Violent on a number of occasions with antiwar demonstrators last year. Violent with Khalid and Ishmael …

And these are only the confrontations I’m aware of.

It would be an understatement to say our police force is out of hand. And I wonder exactly how out of hand this situation has to get before there is a public outcry.

For all it’s worth, consider this my outcry. I’m fed up.

I’ve seen a blue, golf-ball-sized eyelid appear on my friend’s face after an officer introduced it to a sidewalk curb. I’ve seen my best friend [being dragged] down Walnut Street by his hair. I’ve seen more 120-pound people than I could count get tackled to the ground by much larger cops. I’ve been witness to (and [am] now a victim of) these kinds of traumatic experiences all too often in recent years. I’ve been left feeling not only upset and angry as hell, but overwhelmed with a feeling of helplessness.

And I’m fed up with this feeling of helplessness.

If you, too, are fed up, or if you have photos, footage or eye-witness accounts of arrests made on March 6 at City/County Plaza or on March 19 on Pierce Street, please get in touch with the newly formed Asheville Legal Collective (ALC) at citycountyll@ziplip.com. (Please write a narrative of what you saw ASAP, complete with the date you wrote it.)

— Finn Finneran

Local college helps craftspeople create new jobs

I read your [March 17 cover story] about Penland School of Crafts, and the “Year of the Craft” series you will be doing. This is very good news for the craft community.

Haywood Community College has a Professional Crafts Department that has been going since about 1975, some 30 years. They have been training craftsmen to set up and run their own businesses — in effect, creating their own jobs. This entrepreneurial spirit is just what our Western North Carolina economy needs considering there are so many plant closings and losses of jobs in industry.

This program has been an integral part of the WNC craft scene, with the display of its work through local galleries and the Southern Highlands Craft Guild, and at many craft shows over the years. We are currently preparing for the 2004 Graduating Students Show that will be held at the Grovewood Gallery [in Asheville] from April 23-May 14.

If you [are] interested in more information, you can contact Gary Clontz, head of the Professional Crafts Department at Haywood Community College, at (828) 627-4670, or at gclontz@haywood.edu. You may also visit the program’s Web site (www.profcrafts.haywood.edu).

— Wayne Raab
Instructor, Professional Crafts Department
Haywood Community College

Poopy no criterion for equality

This letter is not intended to be facetious or irreverent, but rather to be severely logical. However, if the reader finds some humor herein, I leave him or her at full liberty to laugh.

I once heard a Christian minister make what he thought was a very profound observation supporting the doctrine of equality when he said that “everyone must be basically equal, since everybody’s poopy stinks.”

My forensic response to this is that Jesus’ poopy also stunk, and they certainly elevate him above everyone else. Therefore, they cannot logically use poopy as a criterion by which to reduce everyone to the same level.

I truly hope this letter was worth a s**t.

— Charles Mathis

Celebrate our Asheville-area resources!

As someone who has arrived here within the last year (although I have had family here for years), it has become obvious to me that there are some resources that are important to helping maintain the broad-based quality of living we have here.

In print media, important to me are the Mountain Xpress and the Asheville Global Report.

On the Internet, the Mountain Area Information Network (www.main.nc.us) is great for information on community and political issues, as well as being an affordable Internet service provider. Their new www.main.nc.us/citizenaction site is wonderful for quick access to who is your representative [and what is his or her] voting record, [as well as] voter-registration and other nonpartisan info.

A new kid on the block within the last year is Rolling Thunder/Asheville, of which I am now a volunteer. The latest Rolling Thunder event, with five-minute local speakers on political issues and 10-minute political entertainers, is called “Our Voices Heard — A Celebration to Reclaim Democracy.” It is a free event at 6:30 p.m. on Friday, April 2 at the Unitarian Universalist Church (Charlotte Street and Edwin Place). The emcee is Howard Hanger, founder and minister of Jubilee! Community. You can also get on an informative mailing list at www.main.nc.us/rollingthunder/joinus.shtml. Rolling Thunder is enthusiastic about everyone having a piece of democracy.

Celebrate our Asheville-area resources!

— Jim Sheeler

Time to derail America from its fast track to hell

America is going to hell in a hand basket [that is being] jointly carried by the United States Congress and President Bush.

Just a few observations added to the basket: Outsourcing of tech jobs to India, which the U.S. Congress and President Bush have vowed not to stop; textile jobs relocating to Mexico, China and other countries, with generous tax breaks given by Congress to companies that do such; and illegal immigrants [being allowed in] from Mexico to take more jobs from American citizens — who die, lose their health, family, jobs [and] dignity, and [it] matters not to the corporations and wealthy members of the U.S. Congress. They promote new jobs as $7 per hour without benefits, and say bend over, grab your ankles and smile. They have saddled our children and grandchildren with trillions of dollars of needless debt.

The U.S. Congress and President Bush are not protecting the American citizen or the U.S. Constitution. We are the world’s thug, watchdog [and] benefactor, and occupier of foreign countries. The U. S. Congress has stolen over $2 trillion from the Social Security Trust Fund, knowing it would collapse, and gave the money to the wealthy. The U.S. Congress could implement a flat income-tax rate on every dollar earned — no limit, exemptions, payoffs or IRS. The U.S. Congress discriminates against single people, married couples without children, families that rent — and the hate list continues.

The end times are at the door, and it’s time for a wicked and evil America to give account of itself.

If God chooses to allow a foreign “power” to bring America to its knees, President Bush and the U.S. Congress can’t stop it. Abraham Lincoln said no foreign nation will cause America to fall, but it will fall from within. We allow wealthy elected officials to do what they desire, not what they are elected to do. Your voice, unless wealthy, does not carry any influence.

America is going to hell in a hand basket, and now we should say, “Whoa, wait a minute — what am I doing here?”

Will there ever be a righting of the wrongs? Yes, hell rights all injustices, wickedness and evil.

— Jim Inman

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