Reefer madness
A recent article ["Just say maybe to nicotine," Buzz, November 7] described "a cop in Arlington" who was seen smoking a cigarette "in a spanking-new, tricked-up Ford Taurus emblazoned with the DARE logo." I am writing this letter on behalf of all the officers in the Arlington Police Department's DARE unit. I would like to make it clear to the public that the officer mentioned in the article was not one of our DARE officers, much less an officer of the Arlington Police Department. None of the DARE officers in Arlington smokes. Furthermore, the Arlington Police Department has never owned a Ford Taurus with the DARE logo.

Unfortunately, it is possible that the officer who was observed is a DARE officer from somewhere in the North Texas area. However, that officer was not presenting a positive role model, and before one accuses an agency of being hypocritical they should at least target the agency at fault. I am quite sure everyone who read that article now looks upon the Arlington Police Department DARE unit negatively. Though the article does not specifically identify the officer as an Arlington police officer, it is highly suggestive that he was.

Be assured, every DARE officer is aware of the dangers of using tobacco. As was stated in the article, nicotine is one of the most widely abused addictive drugs in this country. Tobacco is considered one of the four "gateway drugs" because it frequently leads to the use of other harmful and illegal drugs. Each year 434,000 Americans die because of smoking-related diseases. Without a doubt, tobacco kills.

Finally, none of us in the Arlington DARE unit thinks of our students as "would-be junkies." We take great pride in our work and in our students. DARE encompasses much more than simply a series of presentations to young people. In Arlington, we maintain a close rapport with our students for the entire year. During that time, we teach them not only how to say no to drugs, gangs, and violence, but how to deal with stress, influence from the media, and different types of pressures. We strive to give them crucial life skills needed to make educated decisions in all areas of their lives. This includes adolescence and adulthood. Our students are important to us, for they are our future.

Officer Michelle Shockley
DARE Instructor

Civilized pugilists
I enjoyed reading your article on boxing ["Babes in Boyland," November 7]. I'm a 28-year-old female who boxed for one and a half years. I have a few suggestions on how to improve the sport of boxing for women. First, there needs to be more boxing gyms. No one wants to drive to a gym 45 minutes away. It's hard to do three times week. Second, there needs to be a group trainer to teach the basics. Women like to talk to each other, even during a hard workout like boxing. Third, and most important, there needs to be a place to keep the kids. I had to stop boxing after I had my son. Now my garage is my boxing gym.

Judi Chesshir

Well said
Hey Dallasites, will you please relax? For folks who are supposed to be laid-back, you are more thin-lipped than a new England matriarch.

The polling on the fate of WRR and Donna Blumer ["Promise keeper?" October 24] was a joke. Tacky, perhaps. Certainly Observeresque. But a joke to make a point. And the Observer readers were more gentle than many seemed to presume. They voted overwhelmingly to keep WRR as a city institution and to ensure Blumer her right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

So get a grip, Dallas, and lighten up. You're going to give yourself heart failure.

Sheila McKay

Who's the mother?
In your recent article on Eddie Bernice Johnson ["U.S. Reprehensible," October 31], she is quoted as saying, "They say the Observer destroys black people." And on this count, I must most heartily agree.

On one of my all-too-infrequent trips downtown, I saw a shattered man. He was broken in every way, his parched lips shivering in the cold whipping wind. He had not the strength to stand, nor the will to live. He was the portrait of human misery.

"My God!" I said. "What happened to you?"
He could barely speak. "Dallas Observer...too many literary barbs...Laura Miller sarcasm..."

"No!" I shrieked in shocked dismay. "I read them all the time."
"Reporters..." I could see the faint flicker of a fire in his eyes. "They have reporters...asking questions..."

"Those fiends!" I wailed. "What can be done?"
"Must warn...Bernice Johnson..."
"It's too late," I gulped, swallowing back the heartbreak. "But don't tell me you used to work for her."

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