Letters to the Editor

Dec 2, 1998 at 4:00 am
To the Editor:

Two colorful words come to mind regarding the recent deer controversy in Town & Country ("Grim Harvest," RFT, Nov. 25): "slaughter" and "harvest." First, "slaughter" comes across as a bloodbath, a massacre, with bloody, bedraggled deer carcasses strewn across Town & Country's streets and lawns. And let's face it -- "harvest" just sounds too concealing and subdued, as if good ol' Farmer Frank placed a seed in the soil, added a little H2O and, shazam! -- up sprouted a small hooved creature ready for market. We harvest plants, not animals. Yet these are the terms we hear coming out of Town & Country, two colorful sentiments forming two ends of a spectrum that reflects the attitudes, mindsets, missions and agendas of various groups and people.

As to just what to do to stop these furry creatures from intruding on "our" space, it would seem opinions vary for a number of reasons, not all of which include logical thought or expanded vision.

Nevertheless, the question remains: To kill, or not to kill? The age-old dilemma.

Hell, the deer just want to eat. And multiply.
Situations like Town & Country, Jefferson Barracks and the Babler State Park hunts (Wildwood, Chesterfield) act as a measuring stick of how we as a society relate to a complex wildlife system that is not easily managed. It is a tough job that challenges us to work hard to find a smart, ethical solution, to "do the right thing."

The plight of our animal "neighbors." We have a problem, a moral dilemma -- but also an opportunity, an opportunity to better define the words "humanity" and "human nature." Yes, we can kill. But maybe we won't today. Let us not turn our subdivisions, state parks and national cemeteries into battlegrounds. Blood is blood, whether it is man's or beast's.

Mike Holba

To the Editor:

I enjoyed your "Commentary" about the deer problem in Town & Country ("Send in the Doe Boys," RFT, Nov. 25). The residents of Town & Country have no tolerance for wildlife. I do not wish for the residents to have car accidents, particularly fatal car accidents, but I do not agree with the way they are handling this problem.

They could learn from the Yukon area and Yellowstone National Park area about how to make a crossing for wildlife over or under roads that keeps the drivers safe, as well as the animals. As for their gardens -- live with it. I'm sure they could also learn other helpful hints such as avoiding plants that attract deer or using plants or smells that would repel them from entering the area.

Also, what about survival of the fittest and adapting to changes in the environment? Over the years, the deer will adjust to living in proximity to humans, and their population will level out. I'm sure the land around them can only support so many deer and nature will step in and weed out the rest.

Jeanne Murphy


To the Editor:

Ten years ago no one would have imagined that one of the problems on Washington Avenue would be an oversaturation of nightlife ("The Hot Zone," RFT, Nov. 18). Speaking as both a downtown resident and a candidate for 6th Ward alderman, I believe the more foot traffic we can generate downtown, the better.

People live in the city for its energy, diversity and, yes, even seediness. Let's not stifle any of those urban attributes in favor of safe, yet sterile, suburban values. Instead, let's concentrate on expanding services, promoting cutting-edge entertainment and meeting the needs of our dispossessed.

With Washington Avenue's loft district acting as a trailblazer, we have an opportunity to revitalize this city. Let's just make sure we do it with benevolence.

Brian Ireland


To the Editor:

I would like to comment on Jeannette Batz's article "Exclusion No. 39" (RFT, Nov. 11) concerning Corey Weber. I will say upfront that I am a friend and co-worker of the officer involved. I also work at that particular hotel on a secondary basis.

While I am no fan of HMOs or GHP in particular, I feel Ms. Batz's choice of words early in the article were unnecessary and slanted in an attempt to evoke sympathy for Mr. Weber's plight. I, like most of us, have had my own battles with insurance companies and need no "extras" to sympathize or rally behind a person caught in a loophole.

Why was it necessary to say the officer was "moonlighting" as a security guard? A schoolteacher, laborer or office worker who paints, plumbs or does taxes would be referred to as "while working at his second job" or "at a part-time job necessary to make ends meet."

The officer did not, and could not, have immediately assumed Mr. Weber was there to commit a robbery, as an uninformed reader might think. That assumption/conclusion came much later -- after Mr. Weber's suspicious behavior and mannerisms, after realizing Mr. Weber had a gun, after the shooting.

Concerning the charges against Mr. Weber, I cannot speak for the prosecutors or grand jury, but I may be able to shed some light on them for the lay public. Ms. Batz stated that Mr. Weber was initially charged with "attempted robbery" and that it had been "reduced to the more nebulous 'conspiracy to commit robbery.'" Sounds like the police, prosecutors and legal system are backing down, doesn't it? Sounds like a lesser charge. They are not. It is not. And "nebulous"? I thought I might be wrong, so I looked it up to verify the meaning. I was not. Webster's defines "nebulous" in this usage as "indistinct" and "vague." The state statute Mr. Weber was charged under is very clear and specific regarding the charge of conspiracy. This charge is actually more specific -- and appropriate -- considering the circumstances of this case and the charges filed against his companion in this case and in an earlier robbery (Editor's note: Weber's friend was charged with robbing a convenience store in the city of St. Louis earlier in the evening in question.)

Companion? Oh, yes -- another unmentioned tidbit of relevant information. Remember the friend Mr. Weber had reportedly been drinking with on the hotel parking lot? He is the same fellow that was driving the car Mr. Weber was riding in throughout the night. Remember, it takes two or more to make a conspiracy -- the punishment for which is no less than that for committing the actual act.

Maybe Ms. Batz was unaware of these facts. Maybe. Maybe she could have -- should have -- asked. She is a journalist, is she not? A person entrusted by The Riverfront Times and its readership to write and print accurate articles?

I agree that Mr. Weber's medical situation is unfortunate, to say the least, the publication of which would make for a compelling story in and of itself. Let's not try to evoke extra sympathy for his plight at the expense of others.

A specific expense is the officer himself. A man who was working the second job so he can afford an average house in an average neighborhood, which is virtually impossible based solely on his police salary.

A much greater expense would be the damage done to the public's opinion. I realize I cannot blame Ms. Batz solely for this. The media's verbiage has been on this trend for years. Members of the press are on a tightrope with verbiage that is acceptable and unacceptable in these situations, and it is understood that terms such as "alleged" must be used at times. Like many of us in various occupations, the press is held to a standard -- that if a fine imaginary line is crossed, they are susceptible to legal complications. It would be a breath of fresh air, though, to hear or read "second job" vs. "moonlighting" and "the officer said" vs. "the officer claims." These are not qualifying terms. They are descriptive terms. Why try to give a negative connotation or defensive slant to an article or story, especially when it does not concern the basis of the article?

I realize my opinions are biased, but I believe you may be surprised just how many in the general population comment on such slanted verbiage. Most do not openly voice their opinions or complain. Americans on the whole have become an apathetic lot. I sadly must admit I have not voiced my opinion -- until now.

Kevin Templeton