DEAR MERCURY: Sorry, I just have to flog this dead hillbilly horse [Letters, May 19 & 26, June 2]. Why bring out the heavy artillery for such an undeserving target? The species that the Merc should be drawing a bead on is the hillbilly's upwardly mobile cousin--the 'burb-billy. The moonshine block didn't put Bush into the White House. Hillbillies don't vote! They're too busy crucifying the odd gay college student, dragging the occasional handicapped black man to death, and mating with the nearest mule. But wash up your basic hick, give 'em a strip-mall storefront to manage, slap the keys to a SUV into their paw, and what do you got? Beaverton! And every "planned community" in every red state! Nuke the megachurches and our problem is solved, but unfortunately neither Howard Dean nor the Merc advocates this simple, neat plan. No, you're squandering your venom on the endangered species that is white trashus hillbillicus. And that's a waste, man.

D. Ramirez

HEY MERCURY: This is in response to Kelly McKnight's letter, and to some degree Phil Busse's article "No Lessons Learned" [Letters and News, June 2].

What is WRONG with you people? If someone is lunging at people with a knife, of COURSE they should be shot! There doesn't need to be any discussion on this, and it doesn't matter if they're mentally ill, on drugs, or having a bad day. What about my own family, you asked, Kelly? Well, if my Mom is off her meds and trying to stab someone, OF COURSE they should blow her fucking head off. Hell, if I get high and try to hurt someone, I hope they shoot me--better dead than a murderer.

For everyone who gets upset when the cops have to shoot a crazy guy going after people with a knife--where the hell are YOU? You're serving coffee, editing an alternative paper, or raising your kids. YOU aren't going to help, and yet you expect Superman to show up. Cops are regular folks; the only advantage they have against a guy with a knife is a gun.

Then why not tasers, pepper spray, or bean bags? Simple! They don't fucking work! This isn't the movies--people don't even go right down even if you shoot them in the head! Cops get tased and pepper sprayed in their training, just so they understand that you can keep on fighting.

A cop is not a soldier or a superhero, he's just a guy who works for the city-- like the meter maid and the tollbooth attendant. No special powers, no duty to "absorb risk" instead of protecting himself. The other guy is the one trying to hurt people--why should he get ANY consideration? Open fire.

Barry Hawkey

TO THE MERCURY: Just had to say "right on" for slapping the cops for capping us niggas like it was free [News, "No Lesson Learned," June 2]. I'm 5'3'' and about 120 soaking wet, but have disarmed more than one drug-crazed idiot in my time. Sure, I've had extensive Green Beret and Jiu-Jitsu training, but that don't mean jack… if the officer involved was good enough to get out of a chokehold, then--the other cops should'a been man enough to wrestle Allen down. --

In other cities, your bros in blue have no problem wrestling drug addicted, knife-wielding punks to the ground. (I would've waited for that fool to lunge, and popped that knife out his hand with my flashlight--or whatever the po-leece is using for nightsticks nowadays.)

Trust me, the longer weapon will always prevail, or don't they teach that in the academy nowadays? Admit it--y'all can't fight, and--you just like shooting niggas because you know ain't no one gonna mess with you. Blue protect blue, right?--Chief Foxworth, you always was a disgrace to your race (my brother knew you back in H.S.), but you got a new color, anyway. --You--need to tell your homies to spend a little more time in the dojo and less on the pistol range, bee-yatch. Keep up the good work, Phil. It's nice to know someone speakin' up for us, since the Oregonian--and the average white muthafucka won't.

Alonzo Coyethea

YEAH, "DOWN" WITH AVERAGE WHITE MUTHAFUCKAS! And "up" with Alonzo who wins the Mercury "Letter of the Week" which includes two passes to the Laurelhurst, two tickets to see Maximo Park at Dante's on July 2, and a $30 dinner at No Fish! Go Fish!--who ain't never busted a cap in nobody.