By Jim Schutze
By Rachel Watts
By Lauren Drewes Daniels
By Anna Merlan
By Lee Escobedo
By Eric Nicholson
Picking on peaceniks
It is apparent that Glen Warchol gave no thought to the reasons behind a toy gun buy-back ["Buzz," November 16], instead finding it easier to belittle the "peaceniks" and save himself the time it might take to reflect upon the event.
It would seem obvious that our violent ways of solving conflicts have rarely, if ever, enhanced humanity on this planet. And so those peaceniks want to start at the beginning--unteaching violence and teaching peace to our youngest citizens. While many of us grew up with toy guns and turned out just fine, we are foolish if we do not recognize that the context of violent play has changed dramatically since our "good old days."
So, I want to extend my thanks to those wild and crazy folks at the Dallas Peace Center who are willing to stand up to ridicule over and over again in their quest to educate all of us about that little-understood and seldom-sought commodity: peace.
Farrakhan: not your normal guy
I couldn't help but notice two articles in your November 15 issue that seemed to suggest the normalcy of Louis Farrakhan and the Million Man March. First, Laura Miller finds it damning that DISD teacher Deen Williamson "made disparaging remarks about march leader Louis Farrakhan" at a largely black Oak Cliff school ["'They wanted to destroy me'"]. Similarly, Denise McVea laments that the Nation of Islam web site was vandalized "two days after Farrakhan's Million Man March, in which hundreds of thousands of African-American men convened in Washington in a show of strength and unity" ["Million byte march"].
It is good that the Observer is attacking loony teachers and cyberspace vandals. It is also good that the Observer stands up for African-American pride. However, it is odd that Louis Farrakhan and the Nation of Islam fit into your models of normalcy. For your information, the Nation of Islam founder, Elijah Muhammad, believed that a pumpkin-headed scientist name "Yacub" created white men in an evil experiment conducted 6,000 years ago. Moreover, Farrakhan, in a 1990 breakfast meeting with The Washington Post, described an intricate conspiracy to kill black men which he learned from a visit to an enormous "wheel" similar to a spaceship.
It's no wonder that a majority of Americans, black and white, have disassociated themselves from Farrakhan's self-promoting march and pseudo-Islamic cult. Farrakhan is a bully, a bigot, and an outright nut case. Would you expect our sympathy for the Flat Earth Society, the American Nazi Party, or the Ku Klux Klan if their web sites were made fun of? Please choose your underdogs more intelligently.
Tearing down Dallas
Thank you for your article on Joe Burkleo ["Demolition man," November 2]. Someone has to do the work that the City of Dallas refuses to do. Maybe Mayor Ron Kirk can turn around the unconcerned, disinterested, and unresponsive city staff. The problem does not seem to be with the people who actually do the work, it seems to be with the leadership--or lack thereof.
Just a note of appreciation to your organization. The last several issues have been a refreshing change from the Observer I've picked up in the past, where the major thrust seemed to be merely the boosting of different shows, artists, etc.
Now I'm pleased to find you're running articles of real substance, but without the bias so obvious in The Dallas Morning News. Specifically, the info pieces by Denise McVea ["Demolition man" and "Razing hopes," November 2] and whoever it was that had the courage to write the "BeloWatch"--thought-provoking, gritty, but well-rounded and fair presentations from alternative perspectives.