Animal Farm
Perfectly terrorized: This story ("If Horses Could Talk," November 23) sounds like another attempt by the SPCA to fabricate charges of cruelty and neglect. It would be a perfect world if everybody had to live under as much scrutiny as animal business owners. All could live in terror of purchasing a recalled product from the store for fear of being accused of having contaminated food. Parents could tie food and water around their children's necks for fear someone would accuse them of denying their kids these essentials. Everyone's homes would be open to their enemies to photograph those dishes that were left on the kitchen sink till later, to prove the deplorable conditions.

Please don't forget that the rodeo season is coming upon us, and the SPCA will again launch a cruelty protest against it.

Sandra Keith
Via e-mail

Police Story
Dead wrong this time: I still read Jim Schutze, even after the article about me ("Contempt of Cop," September 7) that made me out to be such a bad person. Jim states I would not return his calls prior to his article. He was unaware that I was recovering from hand surgery from August 1 to September 7. So he just presumed I refused to call him back. I found out on the day after his article was printed that he had called. I called Jim twice that day and once on Friday, telling him why I did not return his calls. But now he refused to call me back. Hmmm. I wonder why. I was rather shocked, because before when I read his articles, I did so with great interest and believed everything he said. It seemed that while he may dress it up a bit, he was accurate in his facts.

Well, he was dead wrong here. When I stopped behind Mr. Garcia, I could not even see who was in the truck. To say I did this because Mr. Garcia is Hispanic is ridiculous. Before waking Mr. Garcia, I said hello to his daughter, who was standing in the back leaning forward between the seats. Even as I met with Mr. Garcia, his heritage had no effect on my actions. I never asked for "identity papers"--I asked for his ID, in English and Spanish: "Tiene ID?" I never choked him or hit him in the head. I "hauled" him out of the car only after his continuous attempts to start his vehicle and drive off while appearing to be intoxicated. As I reached in to stop his hand from reaching the key, he struck me on the forearm. Why did I dress the assault down? So a jail sergeant would not make me charge him with assault on a public servant. You see, by the time I made the arrest report, I was aware of the diabetic claim. The realization that his actions were indicative of a disoriented diabetic, along with the fact that I never smelled alcohol on him, made me understand what may have happened.

And yes, I did make a mistake on the arrest report saying he resisted when he was being arrested for failure to ID. He was being arrested for sleeping in public, a violation of a city ordinance, which does in fact require a person to provide his real name, date of birth, and address. Had he done so, the procedures of warn, cite, arrest would have been possible. But you cannot document a warning when you don't know to whom you are speaking.

The arrest report lists the charges in chronological sequence, just as it is required to do: 1. sleeping in public, 2. failure to ID, 3. resisting arrest. Had I known Mr. Garcia was a diabetic, things most certainly would have been different. I would have perceived his actions as what they were (disorientation because of a diabetic episode) rather than as an assault on my person. Had Mr. Garcia been wearing a medical alert bracelet or necklace, I would have been more aware of a possible medical reason for his actions.

Mr. Garcia's children were never exposed to the Mace I used. I had my back to the truck, and Mr. Garcia was at least eight feet away from the truck when the Mace was used. Mr. Garcia has not been tried on the city charges of sleeping in public and failure to ID because his lawyer asked for a continuance the day before his resisting-arrest trial. The lawyer did not want to walk into the county court with the convictions he knows he is going to have. Mr. Garcia goes to trial on the city charges on December 11. If the attorney cannot find a reason to delay that trial, it will be held at that time. I will certainly be there.

And where was Jim's article about my being the recipient of a Life Saving Award for saving a jumper from the 21st floor of the Dallas Grand Hotel? I went out on the ledge with that man, and with the help of one of my supervisors, stopped him from jumping. That jumper was an African-American, just like my son-in-law. Guess I am a real racist--darn. By the way, Jim, I graduated from high school in Madrid, Spain, a country where the culture is deep in the heritage that makes our Western Hemisphere "Hispanics" what they are today. I loved that country and her people.

Mr. Garcia is a hard-working man and a dedicated father. What his children were forced to see happen to him is the greatest problem. His son looked hatred at me during the trial. I hope that with his acquittal on the resisting charge, Mr. Garcia uses that as a testimony to his son that the American justice system works. I never disagree with a jury. Determination of guilt or innocence is not within my job description. I wish Mr. Garcia the best and commend his attorney on the tenacity he is demonstrating in his pursuit of justice.

Anyway, I will continue to read Jim, but now with a much more cynical attitude about his truthfulness or knowledge of the subject.

Kenneth Pesce
Via e-mail

All That Jazz
Burned up: Im sure not the only reader expressing astonishment at this Ken Burns quote from your article (He Got Rhythm, November 16): And I say to them, So you tell me, among the people playing now or anyone alive in jazz, who is the equal of Armstrong, Ellington, Parker, Davis, or Coltrane?...Complete silence. I said, I have made my point.

Im stunned, breathtakingly so, at the ignorance of this remarkand Im a great admirer of Burns past work. Or maybe he never spoke to the right people, like myself, a modestly talented jazz musician. I could easily refute his point by running this list right off the top of my head: Ornette Coleman (still alive, Ken!), Cecil Taylor, Lester Bowie (recently passed, but important), John Zorn, Dave Douglas, Henry Threadgill, Steve Lacy.

I dont care about the black and white issues in jazz, vis-a-vis Marsalis (although George Russell has pointed out that he, himself, would be considering a black man in much of America, past and present). My concern in this is that Marsalis, with his almost reactionary view of the past and his financial success at duplicating it, has gotten Burns to ignore that fact that jazz, an ever evolving form and style (it is based in improvisation, after all), has kept going, advancing, changing, well past the point in time when the movie ends, and well past the point where Marsalis feels the music is no longer validwhich is willful ignorance. Granted, Marsalis knows his stuff up to a certain point, but pretending the present doesnt exist cant make it go away, and there are plenty of great human resources out there to rely on for a survey of the last 30 years.

George Grella
Via e-mail