DEAR MERCURY—I just moved here from Denver, Colorado, and I read your article about the Portland Police [Bureau] and the Taser with much interest ["Less-Lethal Weapons," Feature, Nov 27]. I would like to offer some temperance with the perspective of someone who has lived the past nine years in a town where people who pose the least bit of a threat to an officer are usually shot to death; two prominent cases in recent years include a mentally challenged teenager and an elderly man who had a soda can next to his bed, which police officers mistook for a pistol. Things can become heated in these admittedly stressful situations, and people often objectify officers of the law, forgetting that they are subject to the same physical responses that we all experience when faced with what we perceive as potential bodily harm. That being said, after living in Denver, where the cops are generally kind of dicks, even to everyday citizens who are polite and reasonable, I think you all should be grateful for the judicious (or even heavy) use of non-lethal weapons in your city. It's common knowledge in Denver that you don't fuck with the cops, because they will shoot you. If your police department here uses these non-lethal options a little too liberally, it is because they are frightened of losing control of the situation at hand.  

-Susan I. Harrison


DEAR WM.™ STEVEN HUMPHREY: I just read your article entitled "Christmas Witches" [I Love Television™, Dec 11, in which Humpy, perhaps unwisely, calls Baby Jesus a "witch"] and from a political standpoint this article is very offensive. In the PC era we live in, it is not okay to slam any religion or way of life. And in the spirit of this season, way to tear apart one of the happiest times of the year.



DEAR WILLIAM STEVEN HUMPHREY, EDITOR IN CHIEF, MERCURY GEOGRAPHIC [Halloween Dress-Up Issue, Oct 30]—Your October [30], 2008 edition of Mercury Geographic has been brought to our attention. I hope you are not surprised, as National Geographic has a 120-year-old record and responsibility to cover the world and everything that is in it.

Our first instinct in such circumstances is to issue a cease-and-desist letter to prevent any unauthorized use of our valued trademarks and trade dress, as well as various copyrighted material. We recognize, however, that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery and that your mimic of our recognized look for your "Halloween Dress-Up Issue" was not malicious appropriation, but in good fun.

In the same spirit of turning the other cheek, I hope that you will encourage your readers who are not current members to reconnect to the National Geographic Society by going online and subscribing to our official journal, National Geographic Magazine, where a fellow Northwesterner, Chris Johns, is editor in chief. For an important educational and entertaining product with significant relevance, take a new look at this familiar yellow-bordered magazine now. A membership for a loved one makes and economical and lasting gift for the holidays, too.

-Terrence Adamson, Executive Vice President, National Geographic

CONGRATULATIONS TO TERRENCE and the entire crew at the National Geographic Society for their ability to take a joke. We encourage everyone to check out both the print and online publications put out by this fine, time-tested organization. Likewise, we encourage National Geographic to explore the unique culture of Portlanders—their winnings for letter of the week are a good start, with two tickets to the Laurelhurst Theater and lunch at No Fish! Go Fish!, where I'm sure you will find fish species unlike any you've seen before.