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 [email protected] We may edit for length, grammar and clarity.
Attn: Billy Reed:
After reading your “Opinion” article in the June 21 issue of LEO, I feel compelled to ask you one simple question: Do you now or have you ever ridden a motorcycle? Speaking as a longtime rider of some 40-plus years, I think I know your answer. The conclusions you related in your article indicate a lack of understanding. It kind of reminded me of a recent news story on another motorcycle/car accident where the reporter stated, “The rider was not wearing a helmet or a seat belt.” Before we are forced to succumb to an onslaught of knee-jerk reactions, let us look at the subject objectively.
The U.S. Air Force and Navy have conducted extensive research into the use of “crash helmets” (their term, not mine). You would do well to read the conclusions drawn from those efforts. In brief, the research and other investigations show that helmets actually exacerbate neck and spine injuries. And most injuries and fatalities involve limbs and torsos, not heads.
You might also want to look at the statistics from the states with and without mandatory helmet laws. Accident statistics from states with and without mandatory helmet laws reveal that accident and fatality rates are actually higher in states with the most-stringent laws — many of them states with decidedly shorter riding seasons than states without.
In 1978, Indiana repealed its helmet law. One year later, a state lawmaker noticed an 11-percent rise in motorcycle-related fatalities. He took this as a direct result of the helmet law’s repeal and proposed enacting a new helmet law. However, “Abate of Indiana” pointed out that motorcycle registration had increased by 27 percent; therefore it was a reduction in the rate of fatalities.
Now I will make some suggestions to the lawmakers. If you must enact new helmet legislation, why not require new riders to wear a helmet for the first two years. The group most likely to be involved in an accident is someone who just got their first bike or upgraded to a bigger one too soon. Case in point, the young man killed Derby weekend on Ninth Street purchased that bike two days earlier.
Why not require a new rider to take a Motorcycle Safety Course before issuing a motorcycle permit or endorsement? Texas has a very good course for passengers as well as riders. Yes, passengers need training as well. Ask any biker that has taken someone for their “first ride.”
Look at motorcycle dealers that will sell a high-performance bike to anyone, regardless of skill level. Not all dealers fall into this category; I know one dealer who tore the sales contract to pieces when he heard the buyer say it was his first bike. He then tried successfully to sell him a model better suited to his skill level.
Myself: Sometimes I wear a helmet, sometimes I don’t want the extra weight on my head. I do like having the choice. As we’ve maintained every time this issue arises, let those who ride decide. After all, they’re the ones put at risk every time they don a helmet.
The Paranoid Reed
Up to a certain point, I enjoyed Billy Reed’s articles regarding the downtown arena. They were informative, and Reed has tried very hard to shed some much-needed light on the mysterious process in which the location of the proposed new arena was selected. But as of late, his attempts to draw a connection between the Republican Party and the machinations of the Louisville Arena Authority seem like the ramblings of a conspiracy nut. Reed’s political leanings are obvious, and it is OK to have such a bias in a rag like LEO. In spite of Reed’s attempts, I just don’t see the connection between his frustration with the Arena Authority and the Republicans. What I do know, however, is that Gov. Fletcher was instrumental in getting us to this point in regard to the arena (at least he has done one thing right). Under the “leadership” of various Democrat governors, Louisville never got a whiff of a new arena, while Indianapolis, Cincinnati, Kansas City, Oklahoma City, Memphis and Nashville have each built at least one new downtown arena in the past 20 years.
In the spirit of Reed’s paranoia, I have some observations to make: (1) Billy Reed used to write for the Lexington Herald-Leader, which is steeped in “Wildcat Country,” and its readers are anti-U of L and anti-Louisville; (2) Billy Reed has been an outspoken critic of an NBA team coming to Louisville (everyone should read the book “Airball,” written by Louisville attorney J. Bruce Miller, for fascinating insight into Reed’s position on this subject); and (3) it is possible that Reed doesn’t want a new downtown arena because he (a) wants U of L to continue to have a facilities (read “recruiting”) disadvantage, or (b) does not want the possibility of Louisville ever having an NBA team. I know it sounds far-fetched, but is as proximate as some of Reed’s theories.
I was shocked and embarrassed to read the “Bible Belting” letter on the opinion page in the June 14 issue. Gays are not the root of all problems on this earth. They did not cause the war in Iraq, Katrina and the high gas prices, as the writer believes. It is so easy to blame all of your problems on someone else instead of looking inwardly. Instead of wasting time blaming a minority group, the writer should spend energy on finding solutions for these problems.
If anything, the writer makes a great point for a need for a National Gay Fairness Law to protect them from blind hatred and discrimination. Clearly, hatred for the gay community still exists. I hope the readers of LEO would not support the so-called “Defense of Marriage” Amendment. Gays are entitled to the same basic rights and freedoms as straight people. It is time we acknowledged that as a nation.
Missed the Mark
As a Christian and the mother of a gay son, I’m responding to Sam Sloss’ statements about God and homosexuality (June 14 LEO). Sloss said God is punishing our country because of homosexuality, that he’s using AIDS to kill homosexuals and that “God also kills many innocent people to teach the sinners a lesson.”
But if you think God is punishing homosexuals with AIDS, you must also believe he created the potato famine to punish the Irish, and that he started the Holocaust to wipe out his own chosen people — the Jews. On both counts you would be wrong, just like you are about God and homosexuals.
My son didn’t turn gay, he was born that way. So if God hates homosexuality as you claim, why wouldn’t he “correct” it before a baby is born? Also, your statement, “God might even kill your family and friends because you sinned or lacked faith,” shows an utter ignorance of God’s ways.
You’re also mistaken about God punishing our sins with disasters and wars. When He sacrificed his son Jesus, God offered us forgiveness, freedom and redemption from our sins. And He still offers that to anyone who seeks it, regardless of their sexual orientation.
It’s unbelievable that you think a marriage amendment will “solve virtually all of our social and economic problems.” On the contrary, it’s shameful that our government is no longer “of the people, by the people and for the people,” and God will not bless such inequality.
When $.02 just wasn’t enough, Sloss settled for 5 bucks worth of musings. I suppose I could be courteous and offer the form letter style of “I have to respectfully disagree” with Sloss. However, I’m not sure if my respect should be applied to this situation. Well, it took nerve to offer the conservative point of view. It was blunt, true, but I did not see any new ideas emerge.
My one thought is that, if I were to believe in a higher being — and I think I am leaning toward this — my “god” would not have a problem with homosexuals. Love is love, never mind the genitals. Even though love is great, it seems to be a very hard concept for us humans to grasp and practice all the time. In general, we like our hatred, don’t we?
Otherwise, the only other thought this letter deserves: This was better than a Jim Welp column! (No offense, Mr. Welp.)
EDITOR’S NOTE: Perhaps we should’ve made this point sooner, but Mr. Sloss was being facetious. He’s about as liberal as they come — slightly left of Lenin, perhaps? We thought Sloss’ tongue-in-cheek irony came through pretty clearly, but we can now see it wasn’t so obvious. That is our fault and we apologize for stringing readers along. Although it was pretty good satire.