Us vs. INS:
With interest I have read several times "Elián Plus One" (Chuck Strouse, April 19). Many of us of Cuban descent or national origin have maintained for years that the enforcement arms of the Department of Justice, be they the INS, the FBI, or the Border Patrol, are inherently racist and that a prerequisite for advancement is to reflect the racist views of his bosses.
Years ago, I remember, the director of one of U.S. Customs' departments who was supposedly engaged in the suppression of drug-related activities had in his office a sign proclaiming: "So many Colombians... so little time." As your article well states, these sentiments of ethnically or racially exclusionist nature predispose an official to behave badly toward people of the targeted background whether they are guilty or not.
I sincerely doubt that anything will come of the INS promise to investigate the allegations of Mr. Ramirez or of anyone else other than a perfunctory statement that racist attitudes are not tolerated in the department or are, in any case, not widespread. At the same time you can look forward to the promotion of those officials who entrenched the mentality of "us vs. them" and who encourage the sniggering and winking at racist jokes or attitudes.
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Keep on exposing:
I am writing to commend you on your willingness to expose the tactics used by the federal government against its own employees when they dare to speak the truth about what is going on in the federal agencies.... It is worse than a shame that in our country, the United States of America -- that holds itself out to be the world leader in human rights and was founded on the premise of free speech -- our very own governmental agencies are intolerant of cultural diversity and actively seek to destroy the lives of those federal employees who stand up for what is right. Discrimination is rampant in all federal agencies.
The [Equal Employment Opportunity Commission] and its processes are fraught with loopholes that successfully protect the agencies against 97 percent of complaints. The upshot of Title VII is a fanning of the flames of discrimination. My heart goes out to Ricardo Ramirez and his family. I know of far too many cases where federal agencies have destroyed the lives of federal employees (and their families) who have spoken out against the agencies. I hope you will continue to expose the tactics used by the government to silence the truth so that we Americans can move our country and our government to the point that cultural diversity is honored. And to the point that we truly achieve our forefathers' vision of free speech.
The Herald had the guts but not the speed:
I like this article very much. The Herald did not have the guts to print such an important article. This could happen to anyone, any family, in this community or any other community in the United States. The INS threw ethics out the window.
I congratulate you for this article.
Expose them before they expose themselves:
With computers and unlimited communication worldwide, deadbeat parents should be tracked down by the Secret Service or IRS and their wages should be garnished ("The Deadbeat Goes On," Amy Roe, April 19). Otherwise sentence them to an on-the-job program to pay up!
Since young girls are most likely to be victimized by smooth operators, some time during the school year, when teens all take a required course, deadbeats should be exposed with posters, videos, drama, and computer programs, et cetera. Meanwhile my church, First Baptist Church of West Palm Beach, has Samaritan Gardens, a home for unwed mothers and other destitutes. Parents and relatives will continue to take in the virtual orphans until law enforcement "kicks in."
This writer's no goody-goody:
Well, it has been interesting to read the letters in response to "Backyard Stupidity" ("Backyard Bloodbath," Bob Norman, April 5 and 12), which have referenced John Ulloa and friends and their uncaring parents. When the article first came out, I was sickened by the picture on the cover. After a week of nightmares, nausea, and images that would haunt me, I finally called the editor, whom I spoke with personally. He informed me that the second half of the article would be hitting the stands that day and asked me, if I could stomach it, to read the article. I read most of it, then called the DCF abuse/neglect hotline. I am not surprised at how something like this could happen when most of the letters said "someone should do something." Who is that someone? Obviously everyone says its somebody's job, but nobody wants to do it. It takes a village to raise a child -- start treating our neighborhoods that way.
It's obvious these kids have no parental guidance or love and most likely never had. I monitor my kids' TV and radio stations. We have all [movies rated] PG-13 and beyond blocked on our cable; PG-13 is subject to content approval before the kids watch it. We don't use curse words -- ever. And we also taught our kids how stupid these words are, because cussing is basically a substitution for words when your vocabulary is limited. Honesty is expected; kids and parents are respected. When I was a teen, I wasn't a goody-goody. When I ran away from home my parents, out of love, found a place to put me so I would get the care I needed. I have loving parents, I love my kids, and I teach them out of love. If my neighbors' kids were pulling that stuff, I would see to it that something was done.
Coral Springs is notorious for its wealth, codes, picture-perfect residences, gangs, and out-of-control kids. Maybe we as a society should not strive so much for the material junk that doesn't matter but for our children, who really do matter.
Name Withheld by Request
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A profane response:
I loved the wrestling story. Excellent journalism. F*ck all those people who wrote letters complaining about the photos, language, et cetera.
Christopher W. Prusaski
Grappling with a story line:
Hey, I love the article. I'm a backyard wrestler who actually isn't too thrilled by all the bloodletting and extremeness. The fed[eration] I'm in focuses on story lines and pure wrestling rather than what [Extreme Fuckin' Wrestling] enjoys.
I hope you'll point out that not all backyard wrestlers are out to hurt themselves and that some actually do it for fun, not pain and attention. Thanks. One more thing, the Web address to our site is www.bhwfwrestling.com.
via the Internet
Imitating what they read in New Times:
I'd just like to comment on your backyard wrestling story, which by the way, I liked so much that I've sent it to several of my friends who, like me, are backyard wrestlers.
Thank you for writing a piece about backyard wrestling that doesn't contain, "They are imitating what they see on TV," or "They want to be just like their favorite wrestling superstar."
via the Internet
They rarely use weapons:
I'm a backyard wrestler from New Jersey. I'd like to say that your article was one of the best I've ever read concerning backyarders.
You didn't take the journalistically easy road by [merely] describing the mayhem of a hard-core fed. You went the extra yard and compared it with a non-hard-core fed, and you found the root of the kids' problems. My fed is technical. We rarely use weapons, and what those kids are doing is just stupid.
With the WWF as the only big company around, these kids can't expect to get anywhere with their stupid, reckless antics. I'm especially concerned about the kid with the deformed knees and the one with signs of brain damage. I hope your articles teach these kids a lesson.
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That stuff is just too stupid and insane! I backyard wrestle in Alabama, and we wouldn't dare do that stuff because it's just too dangerous.
I find that barbed-wire crap uninnovative and lame. At our matches we don't have to do stuff that crazy to get fans; we have a huge cult following in our little town of Glencoe. The main thing is those backyard feds make ours look bad!
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