Letters to the editor

Badger article was a fantastic load of crap

Regarding the article concerning myself and my garden [“The garden of Badger,” July 29]: Today, I’ve drafted and redrafted letters of rebuttal, [but] the letters were longer than the article itself.

[Your] article was a total load of crap — fiction based on a real life. The quotations attributed to me by the author [Lexie Ross] were as fantastically imaginative as the nonexistent “giant oaks.”

[Ross] has misrepresented me, my words and my art to the point of slander and beyond. She has portrayed me as a liar and an idiot.

I demand a total rewrite by someone at least vaguely interested in printing my words as I speak them.

The article, as it stands, barely resembles the truth and has caused me great emotional distress and embarrassment … and I’ve wasted totally too much time and energy on this already.

— Badger

[Editor’s note: Xpress has invited Badger to write a commentary, to set the record straight.]

Fighting the system to stay alive

I am 20 years old, and I have type-1 diabetes. I have to inject myself with a needle four times a day, prick my finger to check my blood-glucose level six to eight times a day, eat very restricted foods, and exercise constantly. It’s a life-and-death struggle.

I guess you could say I am being forced to live healthily. But it isn’t that simple; there are many complications. As far as I can tell, I’ll never be able to afford this disease. Am I to die from it, get my leg amputated, or go blind because I can’t afford the visits to all of the doctors that l am supposed to see (eye doctor, dentist, diabetes doctor, family doctor, foot doctor)?

Here’s the Catch 22: You are required to work 20 hours per week to qualify for Medicaid. But if you work 20 hours per week at minimum wage, you are making too much money to receive Medicaid. So am I to purposely keep a job that will only pay me $3 per hour (an illegal wage) and work only 20 hours per week, so that I can qualify for Medicaid, and therefore, be able to see all of these doctors and afford all of the supplies that I have to have (needles, insulin, test strips, meters, lancets, etc.)?

How will people in this situation ever be able to really live? To be able to know what it is like to have jobs that they enjoy? To put money in the bank so that they can afford to go to school, get an education, someday raise a family?

I am a musician. All I want in life is to sing and play the piano. But where will I find time to do these things that purify my soul if I am working from 8 in the morning until 8 at night to afford the six meals a day that I am forced to eat?

Someone has to figure this out. Someone has to realize how simple it could be to help out people in need. I am not just talking about diabetics; I’m talking about the homeless, cancer victims, anyone with a serious, life-threatening problem. Help! I want to be able not only to hold my hand out to grab hold of my dreams — I want to reach my dreams. I want to be happy and healthy, and until someone with “power” helps us all out, I will be hiding from the system, going against the system, so that I can breathe one more breath of air.

— Abby Bird

Key steps to safer teenage drivers

In response to [Anne Craig’s] letter, “Don’t sit idly by while young drivers die” [July 29]: Leanna Williams was a friend of my daughter. While I agree with Ms. Craig’s suggestion that we, as parents, [should] ensure that our teenagers have adequate driving skills before turning them loose with an automobile, I believe there are additional steps that should be taken to prevent the tragic deaths of our young people.

When my 16-year-old daughter recently took her driving test, it took 10-15 minutes. She did not drive on the interstate; she did not have to change lanes in busy traffic; she did not have to merge into a single lane; she did not have to parallel park. She simply drove around a neighborhood behind the [Department of Motor Vehicles] office on Tunnel Road.

While I admit that it is not likely that being skilled at parallel parking will prevent an accident, it is an indication that, perhaps, DMV examiners are not taking the time to test drivers adequately before handing them a license. The tests need to be designed to test a driver’s skills thoroughly, particularly [those of] teenagers who do not have the experience to be able to drive defensively.

The DMV offices are crowded, and the lines are long. There should be more staff during the lunch hours, and/or the offices need to be open later in the evening and on Saturday mornings, as they are in Virginia. This is not a difficult problem to solve — and one I’m sure our state administrators could handle, if they found it to be of significant priority. Write your state representative!

Most (if not all) young people must take a driver’s-education [course] in high school. Maybe the driver’s-education instructors ought to be more concerned with developing the skills of our teenagers than running their errands. … I propose [that] driver education … provide [students with] more time behind the wheel, actually teaching driving skills — and less time in the classroom. Find out what your child is learning in driver’s ed!

— Rosemary Stearns

LSD: worshipped by an indifferent society

I would like to make a rebuttal to the so-called intellectuals who responded [Letters, July 29] to my letter [July 15] about the article on the benefits of LSD [Notepad, June 24], which I thought was ridiculous and dangerous.

[These writers are] continuing to preach their 1960s counterculture philosophy of indifference. I wrote because I cared.

There was one guy I went to high school with who fried his brain on acid, and he is brain-damaged for life.

I’m blowing the whistle on a society that basically doesn’t care.

You wonder why we have so many schools with drugs and gun problems, broken homes, gangs and the rest? The counterculture cry for “love and peace” was just another word for “anything goes.” I went to a rock concert in Byron, Ga., in 1982, similar to the Woodstock and Altamount concerts of the late 1960s. There were several thousand people there, and practically everybody was drunk and stoned. One fight broke out, probably more, and one girl was taken away in an ambulance, possibly because of an overdose.

Because of the philosophy of indifference preached by the counterculture, LSD was worshiped and, tragically, many died — or, as I said before, were brain-damaged for life.

I never dreamed two people who sounded so intellectual to themselves could be so ignorant of the bottom line in this. LSD is an extremely dangerous drug that people should stay away from as much as possible. Maybe you don’t care, but I believe God cares, and I’m sure he’s been shedding many tears.

— Bruce McCanless

Stop police repression of artists at Bele Chere

As a participant in the People’s Parade put on by local artists and musicians on Saturday during Bele Chere, I am expressing my frustrations with the Asheville Police Department’s handling of the situation.

This free, nonviolent parade provided fun and variation for festivalgoers — with puppets, costumes, music and dancing.

During the parade, police officers used unnecessary violence in a situation of otherwise positive artistic expression. This violent display included [the threat of] mace and physical violence, forceful confiscating [of] puppets and banners, grabbing and shoving participants (myself included) into a circle before ordering the dispersal of all participants, and arrest of a bystander who was charged with inciting violence from an officer when violence was not reasonably incited.

No reason was given to participants for the aggression, and when an officer was questioned about his name, he refused to answer.

During this interaction, both local and visiting festivalgoers enjoying the parade got an eyeful of violent repression of artistic expression in the Asheville community during Bele Chere.

This is not the first time Asheville police have acted as bullies against artists by confiscating musical instruments and threatening street artists at Bele Chere.

My question is: Where were those who serve and protect when a fight on Walnut Street — which was cheered on by at least 50 spectators — that same night of Bele Chere ended in one death. The police were called, yet there was no prompt response.

If anyone who witnessed any of the actions mentioned above wishes to file a complaint, it can be filed with the Asheville Police Department at the police station, downtown, to help keep artists and everyone free in Asheville.

— Elizabeth Terry

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