Letters to the Editor

Mar 31, 1999 at 4:00 am

To the Editor:
As a graduate of CBC and a supporter of the basketball program, I enjoyed your feature on the CBC team ("Nothin' but Net," RFT, March 24). The one item I would like to discuss, however, is the recruiting issue. Going back to Larry Hughes' first couple of years on the team, other schools (in particular, St. Louis University High and DeSmet) voiced their opinion at games that CBC was recruiting, paying players, etc. Maybe I am a bit slow, but it took me some time to realize why CBC was the object of these accusations and never DeSmet. (Both teams feature top-quality talent, but only one was being accused of cheating.) The reason, of course, is obvious. DeSmet has no black players. CBC became the target of the entire conference because they are/were the only team with a significant number of black players.

Xenophobic morons like those from DeSmet and SLUH convince themselves of simple, pat answers: DeSmet = white = model program; CBC = black = renegade recruiters of the MCC. All season, especially against SLUH and DeSmet, I heard CBC guard D.J. Hogue railed at by opposing fans. The main reason: They assumed Hogue was recruited away from Jefferson City by CBC. Although they had no evidence to back up their claims, they made sure everyone in the gym heard their absolutely ridiculous opinions.

However, I never once heard a negative comment about standout forward Joe Ries' moving from SLUH to DeSmet. Gee whiz, I wonder why? Nobody ever mentions how, annually, DeSmet just happens to sport the top white players in the area. For some reason, there is a notion among casual high-school fans that white players cannot be recruited but black players can. Maybe the DeSmet and SLUH criticism stems from jealousy? Maybe they wish their schools would admit someone other than a white county kid with khakis, driving Mommy's Beemer. Just a thought.

Christopher Allsup


To the Editor:
What a shocking -- and welcome -- surprise! The Riverfront Times publishes an article on a firearms-related topic without resorting to hyperbole, fear-mongering, falsehoods or misinformation ("The Shootists," RFT, March 24).

What is not surprising is that the article was penned by Wm. Stage, with whom I've had some interesting and informative conversations on the subject of guns in particular and civil liberties in general. And -- I had to hold onto my chair for this one -- the article contained a sidebar which actually walks the reader through the procedure of, of all things to find in the RFT, legally purchasing a handgun! (It may be of interest to readers that the letters of reference and certificate of voter registration required in the city were part of the original language of the permit-to-purchase law, enacted in 1874 along with the law prohibiting concealed weapons explicitly for the purpose of defending newly emancipated African-Americans from effectively defending themselves from the Klan's night riders). What's next, Ray Hartmann endorsing Proposition B?

Seriously, though -- it does The Riverfront Times credit to have a writer of Stage's insight, introspection, wit and plain old-fashioned common sense on hand, and I hope to be reading his column for a long time to come. Keep up the good work, Bill!

John A. Wolf


To the Editor:
It was with some amusement that I read Ray Hartmann's "Commentary" on the constitutional amendment to ban flag-burning ("Burning the Constitution, Again," RFT, March 24). I agree with his position wholeheartedly (although not because of the rarity of flag-burning). It is an obvious affront to the First Amendment, and adopting an amendment to criminalize the act will do nothing other than restrict our rights.

The reason I am amused is that I do not remember the same arguments about this issue from liberals when it comes to hate-speech legislation. Are they not just two sides of the same coin? Just as free speech should not be abridged by one group that dislikes the speech, neither should the free speech of another group be abridged by those that dislike that speech (no matter how heinous it may be). That is the beauty of the Constitution and the Bill of Rights. They protect both sides, and they protect the minority against the tyranny of the majority. If you do not believe in banning flag-burning, you should also not believe in hate-speech legislation.

Jay M. Kirschbaum


To the Editor:
Congratulations to Steve Pick for his very fine review of the new Kelly Willis album, What I Deserve. As always, his writing is precise and evocative and his analysis thoughtful and sensitive. What I deserve is more music criticism this sophisticated.

W. Jackson Rushing III


To the Editor:
Just read the March 24 issue of the RFT, and I find Mr. Bandle's letter in response to "Sudden Death" (RFT, March 17) more than a little disconcerting. It says, essentially, what is done is done -- let the dead rest. But there is little parallel between his story and that of James Markham. There was no getting ready for Mr. M. -- just a quick note in a chart and death by suffocation.

Patrick Heavey
Director, Veterans Advocacy Organization

To the Editor:
Your story on James Markham (Jimmy) was a sad one indeed. I worked with him at Land Title, and he was a classic gentleman and enjoyable human being. Always cheerful, he was a landmark all over Clayton.

All health care in this country is becoming worse; I can tell you horror stories about my own father, who was in Barnes for three weeks after a fall and stroke. I hope your piece wakes up the people in St. Louis and elsewhere to never let their guard down with our new health-care providers. My sympathy to the Markhams -- we're all mad as hell!

Vic Salguero


To the Editor:
I read with interest the "Commentary" concerning the Blues and their money problems ("Suffering in the Luxury Suites," RFT, March 17). I read with horror that the city might look into the possibility of getting an NBA franchise to help offset the cost of the Blues' operations.

Might look? Start now? Wait a minute. Am I to believe that the powers that be have not been looking for an NBA franchise lo these many moons? Surely that cannot be true! I will simply presume that negotiations have been taking place behind the scenes.

If I did not presume that, I would be forced to think the unthinkable, to wit: Nobody knows what they are doing in the halls of sports power in St. Louis. Perish that thought. (I write this while visiting from California ... where we know how to get rid of losing franchises!)

Earl Sigoloff