Letters

A Student from Belgrade: Stop the Bombing

MoJo Wire Kosovo Coverage

Dear Madam/Sir,

More than five weeks have passed since the bombing of my country started. While everyone is waiting for the 21st century to come, NATO sent my country directly into the 19th. In 70 percent of Serbia there is no electricity, and cities like Novi Sad, parts of Belgrade, etc., are for a few days already without water. But that, of course, is not the worst that is happening to us; you have probably heard that NATO airplanes bombed two buses full of civilians. More than 70 persons died in these buses; were they guilty because they wanted to go from one city to another?! And NATO said, “We are sorry”??? Every day my country is destroyed more and more; [in the] meantime, civilians are dying.

Now, the question is: Are these civilians (ordinary citizens of Yugoslavia) guilty for some crimes? Are they guilty for anything else? Are the bridges, civilian houses, factories, etc., guilty for something? Of course you know the answer: NO! We are here suffering just because people of power don’t have enough patience to talk and solve the Kosovo problem in peace. Please stop this senseless bombing and find another way. We ordinary people of Yugoslavia are suffering!!!

Stop bombing, negotiate, and bring peace.

Zoran Jankovic
Student, Belgrade

 

‘Thanks’ from Belgrade

MoJo Wire Kosovo Coverage

Thanks again for your existence; it means very much to us, especially now.

Petar M. Teslic
Theatre director, Belgrade.

 

Do We Detect a Note of Sarcasm?

MoJo Wire Kosovo Coverage

It was touching to hear on CNN that one of the U.S. Army soldiers captured by Serb forces took the time, while in captivity, to fashion a Stars and Stripes from toilet tissue. Unfortunately, the choice of materials would seem a tad inappropriate for a symbol so revered. One wonders whether the proponents of a flag-desecration amendment to the Constitution would seek to prosecute in this instance. It is to be hoped that the artist did not afterwards use the materials in the manner for which they were supplied.

Yours,
Mark A. Lunt



Retired Navy Lieutenant, Freelance Journalist Comment on Low Frequency Active Sonar

Testing the Waters

I spent 20+ years in the Navy, working with or around both active and passive sonar systems. While it is true that sound can be dangerous at the pressure levels described in the article “Testing the Waters,” by Jeffrey Benner, no mention was made of the distances of lethality. I have even read theories that dolphins and porpoises “stun” their prey with a short blast of sonar.

The sonar systems in use today by all the world’s navies and probably some civilian merchant ships are powerful enough at close range to harm or even kill. The ambient noise levels of the world’s oceans have risen to such an level that they hamper (at least to some extent) marine mammals’ ability to communicate and navigate safely. It is thought by some marine biologists that whales could at one time communicate over hundreds or even thousands of miles. It would be a great shame to create a barrier of sound that would further hinder these creatures’ migrations. I would hope that the Navy has taken the ecological impact into consideration, although it sometimes takes outside pressure to ensure that end.

Disclaimer: The opinions and observations expressed above are mine and in no way connected to the U.S. Navy.

Bill Andrews
LT, USN (Retired)

 

Hi Jeffrey,

I’m a freelancer in Hawaii presently working on a low frequency active sonar (LFAS) story and I just read your piece on the MoJo Wire. Excellent job explaining the science and balancing the various sides. I hope we can make a difference and get LFAS stopped.

Again, great article.

Aloha,
Jessica Ferracane



More Readers Unhappy With Portrayal of Kentucky Town

An American Sweatshop

I am from Beattyville, Kentucky, and I am very angry over the article about our hometown entitled “An American Sweatshop.” I am a college student at Eastern Kentucky University and after I read your article, I was disgusted. I was always a good student with good grades, as were the rest of my classmates. We do graduate and we do go on to college and become successful adults. Our high school in Beattyville ranks among the highest in the state of Kentucky, but you forgot to mention that.

And really, if you are going to interview people, talk to the rest of us who DO NOT take Zanax trips or walk down the street naked after drinking moonshine. I am sure that in any part of the country, you will find people like this. You have shamed our town and the good, decent people who live here. I think your magazine and the author of the article, Mark Boal, owe us all an apology.

Rebecca Childers I am a scientist and a native of Beattyville, Kentucky (Lee County), but now live in Indiana. I would like to comment on your article. I do not know much about Lion Apparel, so I cannot speak about that. What I am certain of (beyond all doubt, reasonable or otherwise) is that the descriptions of the town are almost entirely a work of fiction. Let me set the record straight:

1. The data-processing center is not in town, but on the border of Lee and Owsley counties.

2. Although neighboring counties have been strip-mined, Lee County has been almost entirely spared.

3. “Moonshine”?? Well, I never heard tell of any since the Great Depression, nor saw any being sold. Lee County is BIG into producing marijuana, but most of it is shipped elsewhere.

5. You claimed that “[l]ittle handmade signs offer acreage for sale” that nobody wants. Guess again. The land is quite good for timber. Most of the residents have no interest in leaving or selling.

6. I don’t know where all the aluminum hovels are, but I do know that along Route 11, you’ll find some very nice homes. It is true that there are quite a few wooden shacks to go around, but you have to go looking for them.

7. Whereas the older population often did not finish high school, most residents of the younger generation have their degrees.

10. Work: A significant percentage of the populace works in other counties, choosing to commute.

In the future, it might be prudent to actually visit places that you describe — or at least to get better research archives.

Daniel Keith Stump
Clarksville, IN



Responses to ‘The Scoop’ on the Colorado School Shooting

The Columbine High School Shootings

I just read Bob Harris’ essay on guns in school. Perhaps you would be interested in the viewpoint of a substitute teacher who carries a concealed weapon. For legal reasons, I cannot give you my real name.

I am a soldier on the battlefield, protecting myself from an underage enemy. The enemy can strike wherever and whenever. And who am I to feel so threatened? I am a substitute teacher in the rural Northeast. This is mercenary work. I follow the call, going school to school. Classes range from kindergarten through twelfth grade. I do this job because this is where the money is. The job can also be rewarding. Unfortunately, as people are finally becoming aware, the job can also be deadly.

I belong to a teachers’ retirement organization that gives my beneficiaries cash in the event that I am killed on the job. This is a very real possibility. There have been three incidents in the last three years at the schools where I teach. A 6-year-old with a loaded handgun was apprehended on the bus. A middle-schooler made it through an entire day secretly showing his firearm to students and then went home and shot himself in the head. A high-schooler walked into class and shot his teacher in the face.

Two years ago, I went to a sporting-goods store and passed a background check. I then went to the County Pistol Clerk and was approved for a full carry license. I bought a 14 oz. Taurus 5-shot .38 special. A lightweight aluminum-and-steel model felt best in my female hands. I also bought a box of .38 special hollow-base wad-cutter bullets and went home and learned how to aim, fire, and handle the recoil.

Why these drastic measures? Because I’m tired of all the empty talk and hand-wringing. I can’t wait for the winds of change to blow over the nation while I’m under a barrage of bullets. Yes, I know it’s illegal to carry a weapon onto school grounds, but that’s never stopped anyone intent on doing harm. Until it’s legal for adults to protect themselves from danger on school grounds, I’ll be an outlaw. But I’ll be alive.

Name Withheld To quote Bob Harris, “We all need to teach ourselves again that gratuitous images of human slaughter are the worst form of pornography. Only then can we begin an intelligent dialogue about healing the psychological wounds we’ve already inflicted on ourselves and our children. ”

Larry Flynt years ago made this perfectly clear in an issue of his “pornographic” magazine; what he did was to publish a picture of a dead woman, a Vietnamese woman, I think, who had been killed as the result of a wartime action. This woman was lying naked on the street. He made the point that if this were a picture of a live, healthy, nubile, young nymphet, unclad, in the same position, it would have been called “pornography” and have been subject to First Amendment debates. He also made the point that when we say death and war are OK, but that life, love, lust, and health are immoral, something is seriously wrong.

I am not saying that the promotion of prurient desires solely for personal gratification is good. I am agreeing, though, that sex is normal. Death is not. Living, loving, the drive to pass on our DNA, is healthy. Killing and murder, genocide and fratricide, are not. Yet because of our national Calvinist/Inquisitional background, we have trained ourselves and others that sex is dirty and that killing is good. We can’t dare tell our children in the classroom about sex, love, and relationships, but we can teach them about wars in world history and killing fields and that bloodshed is good if we win. The federal government can’t fund programs to teach kids about condoms and abstinence or morals, ethics, and higher powers, but it can establish a School of the Americas at Fort Benning, Georgia, to train assassins and torturers.

Patricia Florez