Letters to the editor

Wooldridge’s drug-plan advice is off-target

Dear Retired Officer Howard J. Wooldridge: Thank you for your efforts to reach out to help Asheville from your Dallas office of Law Enforcement Against Prohibition [Letters, June 16]. Unfortunately the street-level hard-drug interdiction plan you observe as doomed to failure is not remotely [a] reflection of the effort we are trying to implement in Asheville. We’ve done our homework and followed models that do work across the country. You had the option of also doing your homework or offering us clever sound bites as a substitute for substance. You chose the latter, but should you make a stronger effort to do your homework about our real plan, I, for one, would be grateful for your help.

— Carl Mumpower
Vice-Mayor, city of Asheville

Don’t support the old war paradigm

As I finished my walk recently and headed into my favorite morning coffee house, these headlines in the Asheville Citizen-Times blared at me: “Extended tours, war on terrorism fuel draft talk.”

My heart sank. I had just heard on the morning radio that a high percentage of people killed on the banks of Normandy 60 years ago were under 20 years of age — something unbelievable, like approximately 90 percent. I thought of all the creative, vibrant young people that I know now, and realized that those who die on the battlefield no longer have lives of possibility ahead of them. Instead, their lives, their dreams, their loves, their contributions to our world are all chopped short. Do you remember when you were just 20? Were you through living then?

I was raised in the military, and saw that it could provide a fine life for those who chose it. My dad left the life of a cotton farmer’s son and gave us a good life, living all over the globe.

Over the years, our government has fed the corporate-supporting machine of war while gutting money for the people of the military — reducing benefits, cutting pay, letting people go who would have chosen to stay in and risk their lives for the opportunities [the military] offered them. Because of this, the military did not remain a viable option for some of those seeking to get a step up into a new life by “joining up,” as my dad and so many others have done in the past.

When our government chose to go to war again, it chose to resort to the old war game with all the new war toys. But guess what — they found they no longer had an army to fight with. So, they enlisted the aid of the reserve soldiers. And once again, our government has failed to support these people who have voluntarily chosen to be our soldiers, ignoring the needs of their lost businesses, jobs and family security.

I do not believe in war. In order for our world to evolve, we must move toward more peaceful means of problem solving. Yet our nation continues to use the old killing paradigm of war as its major problem-solving tool. Why do we keep choosing something that isn’t working?

I will not stand quietly by for this. And I know many of you feel the same way. For those of you who care, please send a letter to the U.S. Congress now and tell them you do not support the draft. You can find your representative’s address at www.visi.com/juan/congress.

— Robin Cape

Desist, abortion-clinic protesters!

Although Eric Rudolph has been captured, [this] does not mean the violence against innocent women, doctors and clinic workers has ceased.

Driving past the abortion clinic in Asheville, I noticed the clique of hate-mongers gathered at the gate. These people lie in wait to harass, proselytize and violate the privacy of women going through very difficult times. This is a subtle form of violence.

These women do not want to be bombarded with selfish viewpoints based in ignorance from a group of hypocrites. Would these people appreciate being harassed [when] going to church, the doctor or their homes, for their superstitious and myopic beliefs?

Keep religion where it belongs: in private and out of politics and science. Faith, especially the brand espoused by these violent zealots, is an oil slick in an ocean of rational and compassionate thinking. Roe v. Wade decided the legality of abortion 30 years ago. Get over it and leave these women alone.

— Scott Mckenzie

Memorial Day cartoon was shot from the “hip”

It is not surprising, I suppose, that the blame-America-first crowd in Asheville, so well represented by the editors of Mountain Xpress, has not changed its socialist/feminist/anti-American tune one note since the mass murder of over 3,000 Americans on September 11, 2001, and the sacrifice of almost 1,000 more in a war against the jihadists who are holding a knife to our collective throat.

Perhaps there is some virtue in being consistent, even if it is a consistency cutting against all reality, all human dignity, and all-American honor. But make no mistake. In siding with the most knee-jerking Bush-haters of Europe and the Islamic states, in mindlessly criticizing every action taken by our attorney general, and by constantly denigrating the American military forces, you are effectively siding against civilization itself.

[We need] loyal dissent and critique, but that ain’t what we’re seein’ in the pages of your post-modernist, “hip” publication. Do you think I’m speaking too strongly? Consider your “cartoon” [the City, May 26]. Under the caption “Memorial Day Parade,” your cartoonist portrays some mindless “Bush lovers” gazing out at three old geezers marching under a Veterans of Foreign Wars banner. Behind them, a large crowd of children [carries] a banner entitled “Future War Dead.”

Your meaning is clear enough. You despise the men who fought to defend your parents and grandparents from fascism and communism. You also despise the people who honor them. But the worst of it is the children. You did not choose to portray the countless Iraqi and Afghan children who will have a chance to grow up now, instead of the strong possibility of being shoved into a mass grave with a bullet in their brains. Instead of those children, or the children of the men and women killed in the Twin Towers, or the children already spared by our disruption of terrorist plots, you chose to portray “future war dead” caused, no doubt, by what you see as “American aggression.” All this from a publication which remains stone-silent as 50 or so human beings are slain each Wednesday and Saturday morning at the “Fem-Care” [Femcare] clinic on Orange Street in Asheville.

What can be said to you? Where is your heart? Where is your mind? Where is your faith? Oh, yes, you have your consistency. You have that. But now, to be really consistent, you should defend the actions of some depraved U.S. soldiers in the Abu Ghraib prison. After all, the pornography, sodomy and women-in-the military those photos represent are the culmination of causes you have long believed in. Admit it, now. If those photos had come from film studios of Hollywood instead of Iraq, your editors would have defended them as necessary expressions of First Amendment rights. Right?

— Rev. Dean Turbeville

Who needs police more?

A few weeks back, I attended a peace rally to remember those who have fallen as a result of the Iraq War. There were speeches and songs of [peace], voter registration and political tables — your basic, democratic-type activities.

During the rally, the people in attendance were encircled, at a short distance, by the Asheville Police Department, and escorted during the march. More than once, we were reminded not to block or impede any traffic. The police presence was obvious, and for me a bit unnerving.

Friday, May 21 — a great beginning to the summer with Downtown After Five. Lots of folks having a good time dancing in the streets and connecting with friends. It’s a fun Asheville event. Beer and wine flowing. (A number of people probably drinking beyond their personal limit, as evidenced by their behavior.)

[There was a] great deal of pedestrian and automobile traffic at the popular [Vance Square] intersection. I saw two police officers. I know there must have been others, but nowhere near the presence felt at the peace rally.

I’m not suggesting that Downtown After Five become a police state, but it does make you want to ask the question: What’s wrong with this picture?

— Joanne Robert

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