Letters for December 18, 2003
Four wheels beat the two-wheeled variety every time: In regard to "In the Blink of an Eye," December 4, by Eric Alan Barton, the use of motorcycles by the police has never been a cost-effective mode of transportation, and, as such, these devices are not used by 99 percent of American police departments. The arguments in their favor are specious. If for no other reason, the elevated level of serious injury and death alone should preclude their use, regardless as to who may be at fault in a collision.
Motorcycles simply are dangerous vehicles to operate in traffic, primarily because of their limited visibility and barrier protection. A police officer, like any other cycle operator, knows full well the increased likelihood of injury and death. Emergency room personnel have long referred to motorcycles as "suicycles" and "donorcycles." The public should not be taxed for hazardous-duty pay, disability pensions, and death benefits from the use of police motorcycles.
In the Morash case, it would appear that the officer was speeding (50 mph or more in a 35), with no light or siren, as required if there had been an emergency, and was also abruptly changing lanes and passing improperly on the right. The speed and "maneuverability" that manufacturers use in their police advertisements seem to be exactly (if not ironically) what contributed the most to Officer Morash's death. This is not to say that the driver of the car pulling out of the side street is without fault in the matter.
Until officials quit buying into the ridiculous and unsubstantiated claims of motorcycle manufacturers, these tragic accidents will continue to occur. Blaming others for these deaths may be psychologically comforting to the officer's family and friends, but to use taxpayer money to fund this process is unconscionable. Isn't the life of a police officer more valuable than to be sacrificed on a death-trap motorcycle? I sure think so.
Born-again antifundamentalism: What a fabulous piece Wyatt Olson has written in the November 27 issue of New Times ("United States of Jesus"). I am a "born again" Christian, but I've come out of the fundamentalist movement. It is truly a cover for a more sinister agenda in this country. I am positively convinced that this movement (which embeds itself in the U.S. government) is apostate, for lack of a better description. What Olson has written is extremely important and true. I've seen it coming for a long time; hence, I dropped out of my usual attendance in these types of churches. I've dropped out of organized religion completely, for the time being.
In an effort to sway the vote away from the right wing, I believe people like me should challenge the on-the-fence Christians to open their eyes to how they are being misled -- not just for the country's sake but for their own spiritual well-being. The efforts of the "right" today are exactly how Hitler got people to follow him. Great article!
Santa Cruz, California
Fundamentalist senility: My cousin grew up across the street from Dr. D. James Kennedy, was good friends with his son, and spent untold hours in their house over about a seven-year period. A few years later, while working with a local radio station, he had a meeting with Dr. Kennedy. When Mark greeted him in a familiar tone, the good doctor replied, "Do I know you?" I guess family friends and neighbors don't count for much in Dr. Kennedy's estimation.
Via the Internet
Send 'em to the calaboose: I liked Bob Norman's articles on the North Broward Hospital District ("Bad Operation," November 6, and "MOB Rules," November 27). But needless to say, they are only going to complain about the messenger and not the message. I have been here for almost 30 years, and back in the late '70s and early '80s, I had dealings with this public entity. One district official had the nerve to tell me that NBHD was not a taxpayer-supported hospital district. This kind of took me by shock. What he really meant to say is, "We don't act like a public hospital district, and we do all our business in secret." That just shows you their mentality and contempt for the people paying for all this insider crap. Until more people go to jail, where they belong, this shit will keep on coming our way.
Thanks for the article.
Via the Internet
Free weekly shoulda known better: "Greg O'Shube" writes his most recent and promised "last" article as if New Times' attempted anarchist hoax were a triumphant exposé of corporate-media gullibility. ("Anarchy in a Briefcase," Greg O'Shube, November 20). In fact, a close reading of his piece reveals that precisely nobody was fooled. Nobody, print or TV, ran a story that quoted him or his fake anarchist. Reporters were properly curious about his story but, more important, properly skeptical. And the only thing proved, both in the original article and especially the follow-up, was the childishness of the author and his/her publisher.
Oak Park, Illinois
Errata: Richard Land was incorrectly identified in the November 27 article "United States of Jesus." He is a member of the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom.
In the November 20 feature "The Doctor and the Rabbits," we misnamed a former employee of dentist Steven Rosen's. She is Carol-Ann Nicolini.
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