LEO welcomes letters that are brief (250 words max) and thoughtful. Ad hominem attacks will be ignored, and we need your name and a daytime phone number. Send snail mail to EROSIA, 640 S. Fourth St., Louisville, Ky. 40202. Fax to 895-9779 or e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org. We may edit for length, grammar and clarity.
Hold the Liquor
It’s critical for any of us who believe in building an inclusive and truly democratic society to reject commercialized racism and degradation of women parading itself as humor or entertainment, no matter where it comes from. A gay white male is making money by portraying a character that reinforces racist and women-hating stereotypes and justifying himself by calling it “healing” (“The Most Dangerous Comedian in America,” LEO, July 18)? You cannot get more arrogant and self-serving than that.
The Fairness Campaign has been passing out flyers at the bars where Shirley Q. Liquor has performed, addressed the issue in its newsletter and is currently organizing a panel discussion of racism in the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender communities. To participate, contact the Fairness Campaign at 893-0788 or go to www.fairness.org.
Carla F. Wallace, Leadership Council, Fairness Campaign
Don’t Give Up
Responding to Lucinda Marshall’s column on Wendell Berry and why he’s not voting (LEO, July 18), I would urge Berry and everyone else not to give up or give in. Many of the best candidates, potential candidates, political activists and reformers have walked away from both political parties, that is true. I know. I was one for almost 30 years. Neither party is serious about reform because it will cost them power and money, and frankly, they have no reason to change — people don’t vote!
But don’t let the status quo politics win. Nothing will change unless we make it change. I urge everyone to come out and vote for those who you do believe in, regardless of the office. Vote for the challengers just to remind the incumbents they are not “entitled” to any office. Volunteer to register people to vote. There is power in numbers. Register as an Independent or some third party. Do what I do — write. I publish a national political blog, and I write editorials. Question our elected officials. Question the opinions of our newspapers. Until we do, nothing will change.
Paul Hosse, Louisville
Compassion Over Blame
After reading Scott Robinson’s excellent piece, “A Trembling in the Universe” (LEO, June 27), and the letters posted in Erosia, I am stunned at the conclusions derived from the letter writers given one’s admission that he did not even know Tyler Dumstorf, or presumably his family. While I think they genuinely felt compassion for an extremely troubled and, at least for that moment, impulsive teenage boy, it almost seems that some letter writers may have personal agendas upon which they have erroneously imposed circumstances that led to this tragedy. Mr. Robinson’s article illustrates the horrible, inexplicable nature of Tyler’s actions and the subsequent struggle to understand what happened. To each of us, it begs the question: “Could this have been my child?”
The boy’s use of pot would certainly warrant the urgent concern of any parent, and, indeed, many good parents have to deal with this matter, as well as those of alcohol use/abuse, shoplifting, truancy and premarital (often unprotected) sex. Regardless of how I personally feel about the so-called “War on Drugs,” I don’t see a big connection to Tyler’s actions. I haven’t read any evidence suggesting that Tyler was oppressed by his parents, that the police acted in ignorance or that the members of his community were living under an illusion.
In my opinion, the suggestion that these were the conditions under which this murder/suicide occurred is tremendously disrespectful to those who died (including Tyler) and all the survivors and neighbors. Most parents simply do the best job they can to raise and protect their children, including restricting their “freedom” to some degree. Police officers do the best job they can to protect the community, each other and return home each night to their families and friends. Teenagers and adults can make poor and, occasionally, as in this case, horrible choices that can never be taken back. Tyler, his family, the slain police officer and his partner and their families deserve our deepest compassion, not pseudo-psychological theorizing.
Karen Voyer, Flagstaff, Ariz.
Sublett My Space
This is my last letter to LEO. I have decided I no longer have any interest in what LEO has become since John Yarmuth’s departure. It is nothing more than ads and club listings with a smattering of journalism thrown in to make it look like a newspaper. Further, the quality of debate in Erosia has reached such a low that many writers cannot even follow a simple line of logic. But the final straw was the letters published concerning the shooting of Deputy Frank Denzinger.
With one exception expressing concern for Tyler Dumstorf’s brother, they were the biggest load of manure I’ve ever seen, and having once practiced law, I have seen some large ones. Every one of them attempted to either excuse or justify the murder of one law officer and the attempt to kill another. Referring to Tyler’s mother as an “oppressor” was ridiculous. From all accounts I saw and read, Dumstorf made no attempt to talk to the officers but instead chose to shoot them. His actions were neither justifiable nor excusable. For LEO to print only such letters shows intellectual bankruptcy and makes clear its position — that shooting police is OK. From this point on, I see LEO as a waste of newsprint.
Kent O. Sublett, Louisville
Dear Kent: Do you promise? Just in case you (secretly) really do still care, here’s what we think about what we do: We let all sorts of people say what is on their minds about all sorts of things. We avoid libel, but beyond that, we let it fly, because, you know, we have those quaint ideas that people are big enough and smart enough to decide for themselves what they think of what other people say. We have no litmus test to insist that all letters adhere to the newspaper’s point(s) of view. Does that make us special? Maybe not, but in this sorry excuse for a media market, it does make us unique.
Point of fact: The letters we published in the July 11 LEO were the only ones we received regarding Scott Robinson’s “A Trembling in the Universe.” If we get more, we will probably print them too. Even if you change your mind and decide to write one.