TO THE EDITOR: As a news reporter who covered homicides, fatal house fires, fatal aircraft accidents, and other tragedies for nearly three decades, I am familiar with the spoken and unspoken language of persons at the scenes of these events. This is why I am quite certain that you have been had by one of your punk/sophomoric writers in last week's issue.
Nevdon Jamgochian's report from New York ["Bad Karma," Sept. 13] contains a number of fabricated attributions which, in all probability, represent nothing more than his desire to tell the story he wanted to tell. Perhaps it should have been labeled douche-drama, because that's what it was.
At the scenes of tragedies people are pulled together in a bond of humanity and caring. I don't believe anyone in the wake of the New York attack yelled, "this is a great day." I also don't believe that a basketball player and his friends start laughing and yelling, "you're getting what you deserve " I also do not believe that anyone yelled, "get a job businessman, now you need one." On another day, in another place, one might hear such words, but not on this day in the place your writer describes.
Raymond C. Horn
Former Editor and Publisher of the Clackamas County News
NOTE TO OSAMA
TO OSAMA BIN LADEN: You cocksucking motherfucker. Death is far, far too good for you. Wait until some big fucking American-made tank rolls up on your little fucking campsite, finds you and your scraggly motherfucking lemmings, and rolls you up in its treads like dog shit on the bottom of my fucking shoe.
I know you think you're Allah's chosen people. But after we take you out, and you're making that long descent into hell, you'll realize that Allah has forsaken you.
DEAR PHIL BUSSE: I find several things wrong with your exposition on patriotism [News, "Us vs. Them," Sept. 13], primarily the assumption that everyone is feeling "patriotic" in the wake of last Tuesday's events. I, for one, am finding my deep despair at so much life loss followed closely by dismay at our apparent unwillingness to honestly examine the context of this tragedy. The inevitability of these events is not "a natural consequence of America's failure to decisively stomp out terrorism," but a direct result of a global culture of terrorism led by the United States. Innocent people are murdered by our government constantly, and their deaths are no less worthy of our grief.
Furthermore, you exhibit uncharacteristically mushy logic in implying that sympathizing with Timothy McVeigh's "anti-government sentiments" is somehow akin to condoning his actions. One need not be an "outspoken advocate for terrorism" to understand that the policies of our government breed the kind of tragedy we are experiencing now.
I agree we must seriously examine our definitions of "us" and "them," but it is JUST as important to figure out "who we are" as it is to understand "who they are."
KEEP PRIVATE THOUGHTS PRIVATE
TO THE EDITOR: I am morally disturbed by your choice to publish "Bad Karma" in last week's edition [Sept. 13]. Let me be stereotypically up front and say, "Fuck You!" I am originally from the burbs of New York, and as with most people, I also experienced Tuesday's media harbingers with strange emotional pulsations ranging from disbelief, to anger, to a few blurts of the requisite alt-culture trappings of dark, callous humor. These were my private thoughts and conversations, not public statements. By contrast, thinly cloaked as uneditorialized observation, your choice of "View From the Streets of New York" loudly speaks a dark and confused subjectivity. To this sentiment I can relate, but not to publishing it.
What outrages me about the printing of this piece is its timing and the lack of emotional responsibility it takes in its relationship to readers. Even discounting the tremendous empathy we might feel for the victims, if there are fewer than six degrees of separation in this country, it seems obvious that the network of directly experienced loss from such an event extends deeply into pockets of every community. Like a deranged guest at a funeral, the article highlights anecdotes of anger and confusion from amongst the many tales of solidarity and love that are possible to view from the streets.
I am thankful for critical discourse and I deeply value thoughtful provocation at a historically pivotal time like this, but your article has provided none of this. On the contrary it hands itself over to apathy and despair, it seems, for the sake of some cutting edge social commentary whose relevance no longer exists here. I see only greater public pain resulting from it.