Letters to the Editor

David Horowitz can't blame all progressives for the SLA's crimes; Salon's Zacharek is too old to rock; don't cry for Linda Tripp.

By Letters to the Editor
Published August 10, 1999 8:00PM (UTC)
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Mercy for a terrorist?


David Horowitz's piece conflates "radicals" with "progressives," and
even implies that "progressives" are all now defending Kathleen Soliah. Maybe some
progressives. Plenty of others, however, think the SLA was a hyperviolent, sexist,
Marxist offshoot of the Panthers; we were then and are still horrified by the
Foster slaying, and think the whole group, had they survived the Los
Angeles fire fight, should have faced a jury, and if necessary a death


All liberals and progressives are not apologists for
the SLA, any more than Horowitz and all his conservative buddies are apologists for
Timothy McVeigh. This liberal says that if there is probable cause to charge
Kathleen Soliah in the Sacramento robbery/homicide under the felony murder
rule, let's "throw the book at her." If the fact that liberals believe in
the rule of law makes Horowitz uncomfortable, perhaps he should examine
his pre-assumptions. Perhaps they have become prejudices.

-- Robin W. Enos

As certainly as we can look back and condemn the SLA from our
affluent, content age, there was a reason for their anger. There were
people, entirely politically correct at the time, committing the horrendous
crime of the Vietnam War. Don't forget that these people were responsible
for more than 50,000 deaths, and countless maimed Americans who fought in
Vietnam. Shall we now bring them to court to face their responsibility for
murder and mayhem?


-- Don Mac Brown

While I can appreciate the fact that people can and do change over the course of their lifetimes,
Soliah's willing participation in the SLA's many unconscionable crimes
requires more than her mere apology. It demands her incarceration. Where
is the logic in a society that imprisoned Patty Hearst, who was first and
foremost a victim of the SLA, for what Soliah's many apologists now excuse
or dismiss as mere youthful indiscretions?

-- Donald Koelper



The calls for Soliah to apologize are disingenuous and patronizing; I cannot believe
that the authors of these diatribes fail to remember that she is on trial and that anything she says "can and will be used against
her" in the very court of law she is engaged in. I, also, would like to see an apology for her support of the SLA,
but it is not reasonable to expect that until after the full legal process ends.

-- Aaron Propes



Actually, the 1970s were an affluent, content age by the standards of over 90 percent of the population of the planet. The Vietnam War was essentially over in 1973, when the truce was signed and American troops were withdrawn. And how can anger over the Vietnam War justify assassinating an African-American educator or murdering a mother of four in a bank robbery?

As for apologies for promoting the insane ideas that America is a repressive, racist, imperialist country -- ideas that contributed to the evil deeds committed by Soliah and the SLA -- how in the world would an impending court trial interfere with that?


Finally, I mentioned in my article that many people on the left thought the SLA soldiers were criminals at the time, so I don't really know what Robin Enos is talking about.

I'm so bored with the USA


If your favorite music magazines
are Q and Mojo, you are too old to rock. Period. No matter what your
chronological age may be. Spin and Rolling Stone -- not to mention Fucktooth
and the Source -- are no longer being edited with you in mind.


To paraphrase Heraclitus, nothing is constant in rock 'n' roll except change,
and a great music magazine will always reflect this -- even if the editors do
suspect that Limp Bizkit may not be quite as good as Soundgarden.

-- Jonathan Gold

Spin magazine's 90 Best Albums of the 1990s was a travesty. Much like
the homogenized MTV with its self-congratulatory mid-'90s "Alternative
(Derivative?) Nation," Spin throws out nothing exciting or brave. It's as if
these "experts" weren't aware that Jane Siberry recorded four albums in the
1990s; that American Music Club recorded "Everclear"; that Bryan Ferry drove right
through the heart of grunge in 1994 with the haunting masterpiece "Mamouna"; or that,
in terms of lyrical brilliance and mesmerizing melodies, the 1990s saw
the release of one of the greatest albums in the history of pop music: The
Blue Nile's "Hats."

-- Thomas Cooney


Atlanta's burning

Perhaps Michael Alvear's psychology is more profound than
anybody else's, but somehow to me it seems like a great stretch to
connect Atlanta's business boom to the random violence of a psycho like
Mark Barton. When a guy like that comes unglued, it doesn't matter what
part of the country he lives in. It is true Atlanta has had more than
its share of mind-numbing violence lately, but Alvear does nothing to
explain the connections between these events. There simply aren't
any -- least of all in the tired dichotomy of Southern courtesy and the
Southern history of racial madness. And if Alvear thinks there is any
substance to what he sends up as "analysis" then perhaps he can tell us
who the next perp will be.

Those of us who live here know that Atlanta has expanded too
fast and that we are all paying a price for it. But the kind of crap
Alvear presents as analysis wouldn't even pass muster in a freshman
sociology class.

-- Jim Philips


After the Littleton shootings, there was quite a bit of rumbling
from various perches about how, maybe, a little religion in the
shooters' lives could have prevented all this. Editorials were written,
legislation passed and we all stand now with the specter of the Ten
Commandments being pasted on walls to hell and back in an effort to make
us all more "moral." So when Mark Barton snapped and started shooting, I thought his
letters indicating that he killed his children to send them to "Yahweh"
would restore a little sanity -- that we would see that a little
dose of superstition isn't the silver bullet of morality, editorials would
be written and legislation dropped.

However, it's not going to happen with writers like Mike Alvear
likening his actions to Greek tragedy. Mark Barton shot his children
because he was religious, because he was Christian, because he thought
that he would be doing them a favor. It had nothing to do with the Greeks
and everything to with a certain man who once may or may not have lived in
Israel. It would help us all if someone pointed that out.

-- Adam Gurno

Duluth, Minn.

Who's crying now?



I hate to admit this, but I almost jumped for joy when I read about Linda Tripp's indicment for
illegally taping her telephone converations with the big M. As we used to
say in 'Nam, payback is a motherfucker.

-- George A. Hoffman

Oakland, Calif.

The prosecution and persecution of Linda Tripp in the state of Maryland for
illegal wire-tapping is a joke. The Maryland authorities admit illegal
wire-tapping is rarely prosecuted. This action is a Democratic Party plot
to "get" Linda for exposing the real truth about their boy in the White
House. In the end, though, American hero Ken Starr will prevail and
the Democrats will be the ones with eggs in
their face. The Democratic Party of the late 20th century will go down as
the biggest bunch of liars and distorters of facts in American history.

-- Alvin A. Guidry

Pride, La.

What took them so long? If her acts are criminal now, then they were criminal when Ken Starr first learned of them. Illegally acquired evidence is inadmissible, period. Had Maryland district attorneys been paying attention, our country and the office of the
president would not have been put through all the foolishness of
"Monicagate" -- as a result of which current and future politics will be
negatively effected, as will voter turnout, and we will get not our best
and brightest as public servants.

When will Judge Starr be joining Tripp as a co-conspirator?

-- Greg Shea


Fire on the mountain


One method that university administrators have at
their disposal in reducing overall tension is to provide
quality field trips to the observatories for all the Hawaiian elementary,
middle and high school students, parents and teachers. The
observatories and users should make special funds available to Hawaii's school administrators
to provide an educational return to the local people for the use of these most sacred sites.

Field trips would do several things to reduce the tension: They would provide quality instruction
on the various astrological instruments and their use; they
would give local schools and teachers a chance to improve interaction
and communication with the observatory personnel; and they would provide a
resource for teaching math and science. At the same time, the users of the facilities would learn to better respect
the local religious beliefs and concerns.

-- Joe Holland

Apopka, Fla.

Science and technology have made the common man's life uncommonly
rich and full. The islanders should not begrudge scientists the chance to make new
discoveries and find information. Do they like the early warnings of tsunamis and
hurricanes? These warning devices were not developed by shamans sitting
around campfires.

-- Rick Pitts

Round Rock, Texas

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Stephanie Zacharek