Week of January 7, 2004

Tragedy on Evans Avenue
Color commentary: What a sad commentary on life in St. Louis [Geri L. Dreiling, "Stolo Street," December 17]. The question could be asked: What will it take before this kind of madness is stopped? The answer is a sad one also: It will take this same thing happening to people who are not of color.

It's just a shame that a life is not a life here in America. Life is defined and determined by a skin color. When will this stop? When will we as a country stop seeing crime as color? But I guess some folks feel pretty safe and privileged as long as it's not their color being slaughtered in the streets. If this happened on Chief Joe Mokwa's block or Mayor Francis Slay's block, judgment and correction of the matter would be swift and straight. Political leaders and policemen should do what they are paid to do regardless of the skin color of the individuals involved.
Phillip Berry
St. Louis

Last Call for "Humbug"
Group hug: Many thanks to Chuck Lavazzi, Eric von Schrader and Steve Hinson for their thoughtful comments and their support of KDHX for being the unique radio station that it is; and shame on Terry Moses for falling into the finger-pointing trap [Letters, December 17].

It takes an incredible amount of work and dedication to make any volunteer effort successful, and I have watched the station evolve and grow in spurts over the duration of its existence. As Lavazzi describes, Bev Hacker has contributed much to that growth during her time as station manager; her energy and capable management has taken the station a long way in a short time. But all who are involved with KDHX should keep in mind the station's mission; the personalities of the moment are only of the moment.
Gretchen Gerteis, KDHX volunteer
St. Louis

Present Arms
Who's really afraid? Michael Gordinier is completely wrong when he says the "average anti-gun person is literally terrified of the world," etc. [Ben Westhoff, "Love the Gun You're With," December 10]. I detailed pharmaceuticals in East St. Louis in the early '70s without carrying a weapon. On the contrary, it is the concealed-carry gun advocates who are terrified of everyone, and afraid of the world. If they had any guts, they would want to have the law so that the weapons people carry would be displayed!
Reese Forbes

That's us -- "refreshing and rare": How refreshing -- and rare -- to read in a newspaper an accurate, unbiased article touching in any way on firearm-related civil-rights issues. Ben Westhoff has, without taking sides, painted an accurate picture of a person with whom I've worked for the better part of the last eleven years on legislation related to self-defense and the right to keep and bear arms.

First, as a founder and president of the Second Amendment Coalition of Missouri (of which I was treasurer for a time) and more recently, as head of the Legislative Committee for the Gateway Civil Liberties Alliance (which I now serve as treasurer), Jeffery's keen grasp of legislative procedure, his encyclopedic knowledge of history, his disciplined and intuitive ability to work with even the most abrasive of personalities and his patience have been -- for me and for others -- an education and an inspiration. In presenting Mr. Jeffery to the RFT readership, Mr. Westhoff has studiously avoided the sly inferences, baseless accusations and attempts to marginalize almost always found in "mainstream" media treatment of this fundamental liberty issue.

The RFT's readership tends to be of a younger median age and has grown up in an increasingly oppressive atmosphere of political correctness; many younger people have been bombarded with the message that our arms rights are "antiquated" and that others (such as police) will absolve us of our responsibility to ourselves. Mr. Westhoff has provided a real service in exposing the readers to a man who has a firm understanding of freedom and individual responsibility, and of what it takes to preserve them. Keep up the good work!
John A. Wolf
Rock Hill

School's In
Onward to city hall: If the city of St. Louis is to remain competitive as a lifestyle destination for families, young urban professionals and enterprising corporations from around the nation, a top-drawer public school system is imperative [Shelley Smithson, "Knockin' 'Em Dead," November 26].

Mayor Francis Slay, the board of education and the world-renowned consultancy group of Alvarez & Marsal are doing a needed, but difficult, job reinventing the foundation of the city's school system. Left up to grassroots public decisions, little would be accomplished. Once the city's school system is revamped, hopefully the restructuring of city hall is next.
John H. Grizzell
St. Louis

elimiDATE Confidential
Now it can be told: I was a contestant on elimiDATE (Cleveland episode), and it is not rigged [Mike Seely, "Girls Gone Mild," November 5]. The producer sometimes urges the girls or guys to rip on each other. But they are not forced into it. Ultimately the "picker" decides who he or she will choose for the date.
Rajina M. Kafilmout
North Olmsed, Ohio

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