A mean, Clean fighting machine: It's informed stories like Laura Bond's May 30 Backwash that keep me coming back week after week to Westword, and to Backwash in particular. I haven't read or heard anything about the CLEAN-UP bill in the House; I haven't seen it mentioned in any local NYC papers, and if it has gotten national attention, I must have missed it.
I can assure you, however, that I will write a letter to my congressman now. From the information here, it is clear promoters are being required to be responsible for everything that goes on at their shows, including whatever is inhaled, drunk, popped, swallowed or sniffed by irresponsible fans. It's reassuring to know that someone is actually reporting the news.
Brooklyn, New York
Rubber checks: I liked David Holthouse's "Tricks of the Trade," in the May 2 issue. I live just off Colfax, but I handle this a little differently than that lady from the South City Park neighborhood. Instead of a broom, I take a crowbar with me. Anyone I catch in the act, they lose windows, taillights, etc. I've thrown bricks through car windows.
This morning there was another condom in front of my house, so I've added a new strategy: I told Happy Haynes's office that I will start dropping those off in front of the councilwoman's office each time I find one in my neighborhood. If I knew where Mayor Webb or Police Chief Whitman lived, I would drop the condoms off there!
I've had it.
The hard cell: In her May 30 letter, Lynn Harris suggested that we lock up people against their will for drugs, alcohol and prostitution. She asked, "Couldn't some of [the vacant space] be used to house this type of offender?"
These people are not offending others just by being alcoholics, drug-takers or prostitutes; they are only hurting themselves. Only if they drive drunk or impaired or throw condoms on someone's front porch or commit other such offenses do they become a public nuisance -- for the acts committed. Oddly enough, we call ourselves and aspire to be a "free country." We can't just go around locking up everybody whose lifestyle we don't like. We already have more people locked up than France, Germany, Great Britain, Japan, Singapore and Holland combined. We have the largest percentage of people behind prison bars than any nation in the world (ten times the rate of most industrial countries, according to the book Affluenza).
All drugs, as well as prostitution, should be legalized, so that: 1) Drug addicts would be able to get help instead of being punished for their health and psychological problems; 2) Our taxpayer dollars wouldn't be wasted on incarcerating these people; 3) We could free up more money and space to lock up the child molesters, rapists, murderers and other violent criminals who are a danger to society; and 4) We could live truer to our ideal of being a "free country" -- one that leaves its citizens alone unless they have shown that they can't be trusted to live with others in society.
Benton Wheeler via the Internet