[Since the publication of "Blind Spot of Justice?" [Feature, Jan 17]—which discusses what level of accountability is necessary if a driver kills a bicyclist— readers' responses have been pouring in. Below is a sampling.—Eds.]

DEAR MERCURY—As an active member of Portland's bicycling community and a fellow student of the late Tracey Sparling at PNCA, I appreciate Amy J. Ruiz's passion for the issue of bicycle safety. I understand that it is against the laws of propriety to insinuate wrongdoing on the part of the deceased, and may her family forgive me for saying so, but the awful fact of this matter is that if Tracey is not accountable for stopping literally next to the wheels of an oversized commercial vehicle, then it is absurd to suggest that the driver should be held accountable for taking a right turn across a bicycle lane he perceived to be empty.

Jaclyn Campanaro

GREETINGS—So, District Attorney [Chuck] Sparks says there is no compelling evidence for legal action against truck driver Timothy Wiles for killing cyclist Tracey Sparling. This smells of laziness, stupidity, absurdity, nepotism, an underhanded attempt to oppress bikers, and a larger issue about activism. Timothy Wiles is culpable and should be charged with the death of Tracey Sparling.

Theresa Seeley

DEAR MERCURY—As I read "Blind Spot of Justice?" I felt a subtext trying to assert itself, like a watermark on paper slowly surfacing: vengeance. We live in essentially the same world that all humans have lived in through the course of time, and it is a very dangerous world. Trucks are huge, heavy, and have massive blind spots. Basic courtesy and right of way is a rarity. We have to assume the worst when we're on the road, and actively keep ourselves out of harm's way. If there is something to be learned here, I believe it is not that we would be safer on the roads if there were more punishment, but that we can be safer if we recognize just how dangerous the roads are, and take an active part in our own safety and well being.



DEAR MERCURY—Regarding Grant's note to Mandee the smokin' vegan ["Where There's Smoke There's Ignorance," Letters, Jan 17]: Stop blaming tobacco companies for the fact that people smoke. They don't cram cigarettes in your mouth, and they don't light them for you either. Put the blame where it belongs—in the hand that holds the lighter.

Jon Walker


DEAR MERCURY—Could you PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE, maybe take the moral high road... for once... and spare us all the Britney Spears BULLSHIT in every single issue? NOBODY FUCKING CARES except... well... YOU!!!!!

Bob Nod

The Mercury responds: Thank you for your comment, and the answer to your question is "no."


DEAR MERCURY—In regards to Officer Friendly's letter about blacks committing more crimes than anyone else ["Real Racism Research?" Letters, Jan 24]. Here in Portland, racial profiling is strong. The North/Northeast side of town never got as bad as Felony Flats. Take a ride there and check out the crank fiends and meth babies (all white) roaming the streets like zombies. Yes, these are white areas of town, and the criminals all look like your old toothless burnt-out grandparents, but the Officer Friendlys of Portland stop blacks more than whites.

Scared Black Man


DEAR MERCURY—I think you got one of the headings wrong on [Katie] Shimer's submission to the Drunk-a-Lympics article ["It's All Fun and Games," Feature, Jan 24]. Specifically, the one about what not to do while drunk. When else are you planning on dancing around the campfire naked? In the right part of the world, driving drunk in an ice storm to get more beer is not only perfectly safe, but a blast. Don't swim in anything but a pool? Pshaw! Don't ride an ATV in the woods? Baloney.

Ryan Parker

CONGRATULATIONS TO RYAN for expediting the natural selection of the over-populous human race! For his efforts, Ryan wins two tickets to the Laurelhurst Theater and lunch at No Fish! Go Fish!, where the eating (and drinking) is perfectly safe.