Backtalk

The Men Step Up

Thank you for helping to keep the issue of domestic violence alive. At 33 years old, and after 14 years of therapy, I still cannot get over the horror of watching my father beat my mother. Although well educated and relatively successful, I will always consider myself a survivor of domestic violence, more so than any other labels that might be applicable to someone who has survived a childhood framed by poverty and addiction.

OMAR BARRAZA

Seattle, Washington


For 30 years women have been advocating on this issue, and not that much has changed. When men of good will step up and hold other men accountable, we’ll get somewhere. And battered women’s shelters save men’s lives too. When women flee from abuse they do not have to resort to killing their abusers to survive.

LOIS HECKMAN

Saylorsburg, Pennsylvania


As a former police officer, I know firsthand how important effective restraining orders are. I also believe that the Violence Against Women Act, up for reauthorization this fall, is an extremely important piece of legislation that provides desperately needed, far-reaching protections for women.

The law does contain some gender bias. Domestic abuse protections under VAWA could be applied in a neutral manner without reference to the gender of the victim. Hopefully, this will be addressed at the same time the law is reauthorized.

MARC M. HARROLD

Oxford, Mississippi


You should mention that many men are also assaulted by women. I know: I was one of them.

After that happened the police here told me that as many as half of all domestic assaults are women abusing men. Statistics don’t show that because men are afraid to report abuse. Yet there is only one national hot line for men who are victims of domestic violence, few support groups, and little community or government support.

TIM PATTERSON

Salem, Oregon


Borderline Dispute

Perhaps the most shocking statement in Michael Scherer’s “Scrimmage on the Border” comes right in the lead paragraph. “They [illegal aliens] come because…as George W. Bush says, there are jobs that U.S. citizens won’t do.” There it was: the first known instance in which Mother Jones uncritically accepted a statement that passed the lips of George W. Bush. The truth is that most illegal aliens are doing jobs Americans used to do for higher wages.

Far from being needed, illegal aliens are preferred by employers because it is cheaper to hire workers with lower wage expectations. It is puzzling that many of the same people who raise bloody hell about greedy corporations exporting jobs to cheaper labor markets abroad are not similarly exercised when they replace American workers with lower-wage immigrant labor.

The Minutemen are just the most visible sign of the growing public discontent with mass illegal immigration. Many Americans legitimately believe that mass immigration threatens their survival as middle class.

DAN STEIN

President, Federation for American Immigration Reform
Washington, D.C.


From my blacksmith shop along the border in Cochise County, I should have a front-row seat on the tidal wave of humanity moving north. But I can count on one hand the number of times that I have seen the travelers near my land. I was puzzled when the Minutemen set up camp just below me on Border Road. The Border Patrol keeps a close watch on this area and doesn’t need assistance. Maybe the Minutemen felt safe there surrounded by so many patrol vehicles.

The Minutemen were here for the photo-ops. Lou Dobbs saw thousands of Minutemen at the border. Sean Hannity sounded ecstatic as he talked to a Minuteman and a Border Patrol agent. Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger said they were doing a terrific job. Senator John McCain understood their frustration. The Border Patrol said they were a nuisance.

I am amazed that a dozen people on lawn chairs in the desert, pissing in the wind, could garner such blind devotion.

BILL HIGGINS

Bisbee, Arizona


Rotten in the State of Texas

Randall Patterson’s article “Home Sour Home,” about the Fogals’ seemingly impossible battle against the builder juggernaut in Texas, didn’t mention that the laws that have left homebuyers essentially powerless were crafted and passed by Republican legislatures and governors (Bush and Perry). In many Republican circles, these Texas laws rendering consumers almost defenseless against corporations are viewed as utopian.

ROBERT COLBERT

Seattle, Washington


The National Association of Home Builders, along with their state and local Home Builder Associations, have spent hundreds of millions of dollars to elect friendly legislators and hire lobbyists to weaken any kind of consumer protection for homebuyers. Defective construction and materials, fraudulent lending, title company kickbacks, lack of enforcement of building codes, the tight relationship between the NAHB and HUD, and mandatory binding arbitration clauses are nationwide problems.

NANCY SEATS

President, Homeowners Against Deficient Dwellings Inc.
Kirkwood, Missouri


Correction

In “Home Sour Home,” a credit for the opening photo was omitted. The photographer was James Worrell.


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