Stripped: A family loses Native American artifacts while a woman loses her legal battle

FEATURE, JULY 29, 2010
THE MISSING AIRIS HEIRLOOMS
Used to be a fan: I have taken my son to the science center many times ["The Case of the Missing Eagle Feathers," Aimee Levitt]. While I think that what they offer our children is a great thing, I think what they have done to this family is outrageous. I wish the family the best, no matter what the outcome, and I truly hope they get the answers they seek.
Judy, via the Internet

RIP, Museum of Science and Natural History: I remember my children feeling very sad when the Museum of Science and Natural History closed. While we loved the planetarium, the Saint Louis Science Center was never as interesting and precious as the old museum on Big Bend Boulevard. Now that they are young adults, they still miss it. Is it possible that some of the collection went to the museum at the Arch? I agree with everyone who has commented that what has been done to this family is horrible and outrageous. I will never buy another membership to the science center.
Maude, via the Internet

Questioning the Airises' motives: The Great Spirit would remind you that nobody owns anything and that everything will find its way home on its own. Nobody spends $50,000 on lawyers unless they are looking for a bigger payday.
Guts Danson, via the Internet

Good legal questions: The statute of limitations is two years "after the donor is notified." Since the Airises were never notified of a loss, how could it have run out? And because the inventories were horrible and didn't mention something, that means it never existed? What kind of faulty logic is that? James Houser "sees a pile of papers in the trash" that he didn't authorize, and he doesn't even look to see what they are? I fail to see how a judge could side with the science center on all these counts. I'm not saying I think the center is deliberately hiding items. But if they lost them long ago (or someone stole them under their watch — which could also account for them not being in inventories), then I think they should be held responsible for at least negligence unless they can come up with some kind of record that the items were returned. Even in the 1980s, people kept records. With collections that important, they would have to have something.
Laura, via the Internet

DAILY RFT, JULY 23, 2010
GIRLS GONE LIVID
No means no: I am writing to express my sincere sadness and displeasure with Chad Garrison's "Ass Clown of the Week" post in which he nominated Jane Doe ["Ass Clown of the Week: An Ax, A Watermelon, a Dirty Teacher and a Naughty Video," Chad Garrison]. This woman has been victimized by Girls Gone Wild, the judicial system and now by Chad Garrison and your newspaper. Jane Doe deserves an apology from Chad Garrison and from you. The Riverfront Times should apologize to all victims of sexual assault, men and women, who have been fighting to overcome the "but they asked for it" argument for generations. There is no "asking for it" in sexual assault cases. No means no. Always. Your paper just said "no" means "yes." And not only that but your paper just labeled sexual assault victims "Ass Clowns." For shame, Riverfront Times. For shame.
Lauren Morrill-Ragusea, Boston, Massachusetts, via the Internet

More out-of-town outrage: I am appalled to see Jane Doe of the Girls Gone Wild case featured as a candidate for "Ass Clown of the Week." It shows exceptional lack of judgment on the part of the columnist to include her, and either similar poor judgment or gross oversight on the part of the editorial staff to allow that poll to make it online. Jane Doe was assaulted in a bar, her naked torso was displayed on video without her consent, and a jury of her peers decided that since she was dancing in a bar, consent to show her naked breasts was implied. Let me repeat that: A jury of twelve American citizens decided that dancing in a bar in implied consent to assault and appearing in soft-core pornography.

This woman has been shamed by Girls Gone Wild and by the American justice system. The fact that your publication seized on this as an opportunity to mock her is truly disgusting.
Claire Bea, Washington, DC

A voice of reason: Can we please stop saying "assault"? Jane Doe's top was pulled down by her female friend, and then they both laughed about it. Out of respect to all the women who have been assaulted, let's not diminish the definition of the word. These were drunk, stupid kids acting like fools. We should not reduce the real victims of sexual assault to a level that equals this kind of sophomoric, careless behavior.
ChuckUFarley, via the Internet

 
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