Chill Out!
Re: “7-Up Bubbles Over Prison Rape”

I am of the opinion that we all should go out and buy some 7-Up products even if we don’t drink them just to show some support for their right to free speech. It seems to me and a lot of people I’ve talked to that no matter what anyone places in advertisements or in the content of TV shows or movies, etc. there will always be some extreme group that will be offended and raise all kinds of negative publicity and act as though they are speaking for a (perhaps silent) majority.

Brian Gailey


Faux Justice
Re: “Nigeria’s Vigilante Justice”

Vigilante justice has always held appeal with me. I couldn’t imagine myself ever actually participating in it, but there is something about rooting for the underdog. We all want to see the bad guys get theirs.

This is how I felt until that Friday afternoon that I drove out from Kampala, Uganda. I saw the mob. I smelled the strange smoke. Then I saw the charred, smoldering body of a man who less than an hour earlier had been caught stealing a motorcycle. There’s nothing like dropping reality into the middle of an abstract concept.

There is no “justice” in vigilante justice. Justice, as seen in the Bible, is built on truth, process, proof, appropriate punishment, and sometimes even mercy. When the justice system is placed in the hands of criminals and violent people, that five-fold foundation is non-existent. The foundation of justice becomes emotion and personal gain. That’s no way to run a legal system.

Steve Yohn
Missions Pastor
Fellowship Community Church
Aurora, Colorado


Chavez Story: LAME!
Re: “Whose Coup?”

Pretty boring story. If you surveyed people on the street all over Latin America, you’d also find that — even still — people think that the attack on the WTC was plotted by the CIA itself. So what?

David Holiday
San Salvador

I think your article is weak and one sided. Chavez was democratically elected and now he subverts the very democratic system that he was elected through. He has made the United States the bad guy for his own political ends. He and he alone has polarized Venezuela and to that end people have died. There is no doubt that Venezuela has problems as do many other countries. What bothers me about Venezuela is that Chavez had a chance to bring real change.

Greg Lally


Who’s a Victim?
Re: “The Politics of Victimhood “

I couldn’t agree with you more. It’s a shame that this article would never see publication in the mainstream media even though it is an even-handed analysis. You rightly note that the politics of victimization can justify almost any response/reaction and is doubly problematic when both sides feel victimized. What a wonderful world we will live in when all religious and indigenous peoples feel victimized instead of empowered.

Jim Gifford

Gitlin compares Palestinian suicide bombers with Israeli fundamentalists who want to expel Palestinians from the neighborhood. There can be no comparison with those murdering civilians and those wanting to issue eviction notices. Israeli fundamentalists are very much in the minority, indeed, the Israeli government has declared its willingness to accept a Palestinian state and the previous government tried negotiating with the Palestinian Authority only to be met with violence.

Gitlin’s view that Palestinian violence was initiated by Sharon’s visit to the Temple Mount is erroneous. Sharon had requested and been granted permission from the Arab caretakers to visit the site. The violence was planned long in advance, probably in response to the realization that Israel could be intimidated into evacuating occupied areas as the Hezbollah proved in South Lebanon.

Arafat was negotiating in bad faith as is his penchant. To claim that Jews have now embraced the role of victim… well I guess that when your houses of worship in so called democratic countries are burned to the ground and officials of those countries deny that there is even a problem, the most secure Jew has the right to become defensive.

Larry Shapiro
S.W. Calgary, Alberta