Mark Her Words
Having just finished Patricia Calhoun's "Carrier Pigeons," in the November 1 issue, I say, give 'em hell, Calhoun. You're right: Denver is full of pigeons. MarkAir crashed--but we were the ones who got burned.

Joe Levy

Feature Attractions
With the exception of the usual stridency from Calhoun, Westword's November 1 issue was superb.

Both of the features--Steve Jackson's "Battle Cry," about the protests outside the Planned Parenthood clinic, and Alan Prendergast's "The Brico Requiem," on the life and times of Antonia Brico--were excellent examples of the journalistic craft and true pleasures to read.

S.T. Harmon

On the Street Where They Live
Speaking as one of the many people who wake up five days a week to the cries of the anti-abortion protesters, I want to thank Steve Jackson and Westword for "Battle Cry," in the November 1 issue. Jackson captured the situation perfectly.

Name withheld on request
Bravo for the objective "Battle Cry," by Steve Jackson. Abortion being such an emotional issue, it's hard to get anyone to discuss it rationally. Let's try. A fetus is a "potential person." As it grows in the womb, that potential increases. Certainly at conception, the potential is low. Those who argue that a zygote is a person are making a religious argument. For unbelievers, the argument has little weight. Close to birth, however, the person potential is almost certain. The fetus has a developed nervous system, feels pain, maybe even has simple thoughts. Those who argue that a baby must be delivered to obtain personhood are making an odd spatial argument. For those who have seen a premature baby and a late-aborted fetus, the argument is absurd. Surely if a woman can be imprisoned for murdering her newborn, killing a third-trimester fetus should have some consequence. The Supreme Court correctly ruled that a woman's rights are paramount in early pregnancy but are reduced with time. However, the court's conclusion that viability is the demarcation for state abortion prohibitions is specious. It is time we end this acrimonious debate with an imperfect compromise based on something most of us can live with. Just as we recognize brain-activity criteria for death, we should do so for life. Before around nineteen weeks of pregnancy, when the cerebral cortex develops, abortion should be unrestricted; after that time, it must be murder.

And if there is a God, may she forgive us for our ignorance.
Susanna Dickinson

Thank you for Steve Jackson's well-written and informative article.
Every citizen of the USA who values peace in our country should protest by law against these thugs who call themselves "protesters."

They are a public nuisance to private- and rental-property owners who pay their taxes; our sidewalks' public right-of-way is obstructed by these loudmouthed thugs; signs asking cars to honk their horns raise the noise level, which is already high because of the protesters shouting abuse to anyone close by; and the thugs bring their children to protest, too, contributing to the children's delinquency.

Who is supporting these thugs, and why?
B. Walsh

The mention of Lincoln in the article about the anti-abortion demonstrators reminds me of a riddle attributed to Lincoln.

Let's say there are four horses and one jackass crossing a stream. Now, if I call that jackass a horse, how many horses are crossing the stream?

"Five," the feller says.
"No," ol' Abe says, "only four."
"But you said you'd call that jackass a horse."
"So I did," ol' Abe says, "but because I call a jackass a horse, that does not make it one."
If you call an embryo or fetus a live human being, that does not make it one. No matter how passionately you scream to the contrary.

However, if you are truly convinced that what that woman carries is identical to born life, it follows that the doctor is killing life. And yes, it follows that if a mass murderer is loose and no law can stop him, you are justified in killing him. Nonviolence won't help in the situation. Even Gandhi, eminently practical, would concede that killing the mass murderer was the lesser evil.

The women involved, interestingly enough, are not considered accessories to the murders. They are considered ignorant, brainwashed creatures, and if they don't solicit your counsel, why, you must scream it at them in your peculiar ways.

Felix Singer

Conduct Becoming
Alan Prendergast's "The Brico Requiem," in the November 1 issue, was breathtaking. Antonia Brico might well have been the subject of the popular song "Unforgettable." That's what she was!

In the Eighties Brico was the guest conductor at a concert of the Mostly Strauss Orchestra, a bonding group of metropolitan musicians who enjoyed playing together at the symphonic level. At the end of the last selection there was enthusiastic applause, and as she was walking off the stage I shouted "Bravo!" She turned slightly, as if in response to my impulsive cheer. The look in her compelling black eyes--The Gaze--was riveting. I can easily imagine that she "imprinted" indelibly on a legion of piano students.

Prendergast's fine biographical sketch has helped personalize the life and concert career of our legendary Antonia Brico.

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