Letters to the Editor

However, one thing seemed to nudge my gut. I saw fear in the eyes of the police officers. Why are the police afraid of us? We the people. On Fat Tuesday they returned in force, with fear still in their eyes (see "Copping an Attitude," page 9 in the current issue). Oh yes, there were some that needed attention. But you have to know when to give a ticket and when not to. When to push and when not to. To risk the health and safety of so many people to ticket people for such a little exhibition. One can see more erotic scenes on cable TV. This was unexplainable. Officers pushed when no pushing was needed. Officers Maced women walking to their cars. Yes, I do believe more discipline was needed.

The next time I walk through the city, I will again look into the officers' eyes to see if they have changed. I will look at their uniforms to see if the name of the city has been changed to Selma.

John Berra

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To the Editor:
St. Louis Police Chief Ron Henderson has done it again! Having proven himself as a top income-generating official in St. Louis politics, Henderson will continue to hear his name spoken over and over again as candidate for upcoming fundraiser chairman. With the success of Soulard's Fat Tuesday Fundraiser, or Fine Tuesday, as it will soon be known, St. Louis can continue to be the prudish bore capital of the United States. Police arrested four women for indecent exposure -- which carries a fine of up to $250 -- for breast-baring incidents. As reported by the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Chairman Henderson himself led a charge of some 30 officers and a team of mounted police into a crowd of our area's unarmed citizens who were just having some fun.

In the tradition of Mardi Gras both here and in New Orleans, women bare their breasts for beads. "We don't do that sort of silliness here," Henderson says. "We're going to put a stop to this." Henderson is a driving force in keeping St. Louis and the United States going backward from openness and acceptance of the human body. In many European countries, topless women are featured in television and magazine advertisements regularly, which has been normal and accepted for quite some time. Why are bare breasts considered so shocking and unaccepted in an otherwise advanced and educated society?

We are constantly being bombarded by restraining laws and regulations by hypocritical legislators. These laws are enforced by leaders who are power-hungry cowards who will go to extreme lengths to be feared. Instead of leading a charge of officers into a crack house or controlling gang crime throughout our community, Henderson's crew Maced many of our innocent unarmed citizens at an event they were invited to by our wonderful city. Silliness is Henderson's idea of law enforcement, and we need to put a stop to this!

Perry Luna

To the Editor:
While attending a health-education class in high school, in 1948, I mentioned that I had been a breast-fed baby and that on my native island breast-feeding was routine. I couldn't have uttered a more primitive statement, as far as my classmates were concerned. They already knew that we immigrants were somewhat backward, having come here to avail ourselves of America's advancements. My statement only reconfirmed their views.

It turned out, however, that in the long run modern America rediscovered human milk, although the record will show that sometime in the '80s a young mother was arrested in a store parking lot while sitting in her car breast-feeding her baby. Never mind that her breasts were covered and that only the baby could see them. Public reaction eventually got the case thrown out of court and, as far as I know, no other mother has been arrested since in St. Louis County for similar reasons. Could it be that America is finally finding what breasts are for and that having them is not that sinful a deal after all?

Well, I wouldn't bet on it, given that there is still a segment of our population that cannot face reality. A few days ago, for example, I told a somewhat far-fetched fictitious story on an Internet forum where I used a reference to a stretched breast. To my dismay, my contribution was censored and the Web board's owner went so far as to call me a "filthy, dirty coward" who should take my foul language elsewhere. What the foul language was, he didn't bother to say. On the other hand, after reading about the way the St. Louis police behaved toward the female Mardi Gras celebrants who publicly bared their breasts, I believe I know where the hangup must be. Come on, America. Grow up.

Manuel L. Ponte

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