Letters, November 15

Same Old Prejudice

Change must go deep: I thought I'd picked up a decades-old Dallas Observer on reading of University Park paramedics' contemptible response to Ricardo Vasquez's dire medical crisis at (of all things) an AIDS awareness rally ("Déjà Vu," October 25). Fire Chief Ledbetter's initial comment that "Sometimes when one thing goes wrong, everything goes wrong..." is the lousiest utterance from a public official I've read recently. His letter promising additional training and cultural diversity classes and his tour of AIDS Services to nod apologies? All merely eyewash unless (and perhaps even if) UP follows up.

Worse, it detracts from the larger issue--that this is not about training, cultural diversity or fear of AIDS. It's not even about the Park Cities, as much as some like to think they have a lock on elitism and that Vasquez was damned unlucky to convulse there. This behavior is driven by racism and homophobia, whether occurring in the Park Cities, Oak Lawn or South Dallas. Vasquez is Hispanic and has full-blown AIDS. I'm sure they figured he was queer, too. What might have started out as a moment of fear by "professionals" who should have recovered quickly instead morphed to: "Screw it. I'm not going to risk my neck on some poor son of a bitch AIDS-ravaged Mexican queer." This cannot be addressed with a few chump-change cultural diversity classes applied like Band-Aids. It must be addressed broadly and seriously in our schools, churches, communities and homes. Read the article to your church or community group, classroom, friends and family. Talk about the utter despicability that anybody, anywhere, would be treated thusly. Resolve to be more vocal in demanding change and educating an end to the inequities and ugliness in our society. Start now.

Linda Skeens

Gutsy Gal

Laura Miller's personality: Picture this: an honest and honorable mayor in Dallas. Mr. Schutze is correct that Laura Miller's personality ("It's Her Nature, Stupid!" November 8) is not well-suited for the current "system" in place at City Hall, and it may be that she will not be able to intimidate the council into what the media so loves to term "coalitions," à la Ron Kirk. However, she has demonstrated the courage and stamina to stand up to tremendous intimidation, and she has demonstrated the moxie to recognize taxpayer ripoffs when she sees them. Even if she doesn't build the "coalitions" so integral to the current system, her integrity might wake Dallasites up to the need to change what you accurately describe as a "colonial civil service system downtown."

And as for Mr. Schutze's insulting crack, attributed to a "political pro" whose name is not disclosed because he doesn't want anyone to know he chats with Mr. Schutze, that "getting on [Miller's] team makes you a friend of...Sharon Boyd, and I don't know anybody who aspires to that," perhaps a little background is in order: Mr. Schutze is no longer granted interviews with Ms. Boyd because he confabulated quotations from her for a previous article and then didn't have the guts to acknowledge his lie.

Mr. Schutze can tell his anonymous "political pro" that there is someone out there "getting on [Miller's] team" who is proud to be a friend of Sharon Boyd. And I, along with many, many others, greatly appreciate the guts and integrity of people like Sharon Boyd and Laura Miller. Most of us don't always agree with their political positions. What they have in common is a love for Dallas and personal integrity and guts. What a contrast to your cowardly "political pro" pal...or is this just another confabulated quote from Mr. Schutze?

Dr. William K. Gordon

Editor's note: We stand by our story ("Absentee Minded," August 30); Jim Schutze quoted Ms. Boyd accurately and in context.

Sick Kids

Pay now or pay later: I am in favor of whatever it takes to help these kids get better ("Out of Mind, Out of Sight," November 8). My reasons are selfish, because I think we should help them when we have the chance. Then we do not have to deal with them later. I mean that in a good way.

It sure seems sad to be so young and not have any love, hope or sense of belonging. When we call them mentally ill, it is easy to forget that they are just doing what they figure it takes to survive.

As for them wanting to kill themselves, how much do you think we would want to live if our lives were so empty of hope? I do know there are many kinds of mental illnesses, and there is no sure cure for a lot of them, but some are ones we created, and now we have to deal with them. The question is, how do we heal their injured souls?

David A. Rapp

Buzz Über Alles

Not the Wehrmacht: Although I normally prefer the Dallas Observer anytime over The Dallas Morning News, the News report on the Dewhurst mixup left me laughing, but your report (Buzz, November 1) left me appalled and disgusted.

The officer in the ad was a recently retired brigadier general of the Luftwaffe of the Federal Republic of Germany. He was not an officer of the Wehrmacht or an instrument of any Nazi regime, at least for the largest part of his life. Rather, he was a general in a country that has included in its constitution the requirement that it never engage in a war of aggression and that strives to train its officers not as a uniformed elite but as citizens in uniform.

Your drawing a parallel between the depiction of an officer of the federal army of modern Germany and the aggressions of the Third Reich, in effect, draws a parallel between modern Germany and the Third Reich--at the same time Germany pledges its support in bringing to justice those responsible for the attacks of September 11. As a German living in Dallas, I am disgusted. I hope to see an apology in a future edition of the Observer.

Oliver Hauss

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