Letters to MotherJones

What about wind?
Re: “Green Cities”
8/2/01

One can only applaud any effort to generate electricity from renewable sources. But how can a town known as the Windy City spend so much on photovoltaic cells and none on wind power? As always, there must be a good salesman and an eager buyer involved in such a shortsighted plan. All buildings five stories and higher should have several wind generators on them, in every city in the world.

Dennis E. Hamrick

 

Penal system breakdown
Re: “Debt To Society: The Real Price of Prisons”
8/1/01

Thank you for the articles concerning prisons. I am the wife of an inmate who will be released from prison after 23 years in two weeks. He was incarcerated at age 18 and is now 41 — the enormity of what we will face once he is released is nearly terrifying. He remembers life in 1978 as an 18-year-old kid — he has grown up and became a man in prison — according to statistics, his chances of success are nearly non-existant. He is afraid of being out here in a world he no longer knows, and I have many fears of my own.

As the wife of an inmate, the mother of children who were left behind, and a counselor (I am a drug and alcohol counselor with the Community Sentencing Program), I have a fairly rounded view of the penal system in this country. It is extraordinarily expensive, and basically does not work. The state of Oklahoma houses some 23,000 inmates in both state and private prisons, is consistantly over budget, runs out of money at least twice yearly, and requests millions more from the state, which they get. If I ran my budget the way DOC does, I’d be living on the streets.

Marie MacGaha

 

Violence breeds negative attention
Re: “Smashing Windows for a Better World?”
8/1/01

I’m a strong supporter of Mother Jones and back almost everything that you stand for, but I am really disappointed by the article you published on the merits of violent protest.

First, you are right that violence increases the visibility of protests — but often the increased exposure is largely negative. The popular opinion following the violence in Genoa was that the police were too lenient because the protesters were violent. If the G8 or the IMF were to hold a meeting in my hometown and a bunch of protesters started throwing rocks at my window I’d get pissed off at them as well.

Second, claiming that a lack of violence in Gandhi’s movement is the cause of India’s unfortunate present state of poverty is not only tenuous but a bit ridiculous. Had Gandhi’s supporters been more violent, they would have likely been met with more severe military confrontation.

The good Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. held nonviolence workshops prior to bringing his people to protests so that they wouldn’t just denigrate into senseless acts of violence that pit the masses and the media against the protesters.

Lastly, it is now an unfortunate fact that violent protest decreases the level of transparency in the decision-making processes of groups like the World Bank/IMF, WTO, OECD, etc.

So if you would, please retract that article before it further contributes to the alienation of the movement, gives world leaders the opportunity to become less transparent, and delegitimizes all of our efforts.

Peter Larose
Editor, The Lobby

 

Only concerned with money
Re: “Coors Courts Gays”
7/31/01

Actions always speak louder than words. Coors is trying to protect its corporate rear end precisely because it is homophobic, despite Scott Coors’ statements. Coors is a good example of corporate America — money is the only thing it respects. And as long as it makes a lot, it can hide from any and all issues it wishes.

Craig Shulte

 

Post fewer bills
Re: “Peace, Love, and Marketing”
7/29/01

We are being subjected to more commercialization everywhere we go. College orientation involves sponsors distributing free samples to students, and bus shelters and trains carry huge ads now too. Finally, I attended a movie in which there were four obnoxious ads in the previews. I used to be able to enjoy a movie without so much commercial assault. Maybe people will get so fed up with the commercialization of our society, that ordinances will be enacted to protect us from the glut of ads that visually pollute the city.

Mark Foye

 

Change harsh drug laws
Re: “Debt To Society: Bad Investment”
7/28/01

My son is now in jail for possession of one bag of drugs worth $10. Treatment would have been a better option. With 2 million people now incarcerated, we need to think of less expensive alternatives. The Catholic Conference of NY State Bishops, the Fordham University Law Journal, and a number of states are considering repeal of draconian drug laws. Let’s start in NJ.

Bill Weightman