Letters to the editor

Readers welcome Lynda Barry. Plus: Defending ourselves against air rage; are Elian's relatives unfit guardians?

By Salon Staff
Published April 12, 2000 4:00PM (EDT)


In Elliott Hester's Cockpit Assault published Saturday, a case involving Christopher Bayes was incorrectly characterized. Following a disputed in-flight incident that forced the landing of a Delta flight, Bayes was convicted of simple assault and sentenced to prison, but has not served prison time. Salon regrets the error.

One Hundred Demons


Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!

I have loved this woman's work for years and years and it's wonderful to see her here.

My favorite cartoon of hers from years past is Poodle with a Mohawk. "He's small. He's black. He's mad as hell. He's Poodle with a Mohawk. You'll never call him Fifi again!"

Lynda Barry is a grand addition to your already grand site.

-- Patricia Sullivan

Oh joy, oh bliss, the radiant Lynda Barry can now be found on Salon!

Thanks for giving this talented "comeek" artist and writer of last year's fiercely beautiful novel, "Cruddy," space in your publication. ("Cruddy" was easily the chewiest, freshest, most devastating novel -- and love letter/suicide note to adolescence -- of last year, in my humble opinion.) Somebody give that book an award.

I'm not her publisher or a relative, just a fan of her work who's happy to see more of it.

-- Cynthia Liu

What's Tagalog for "hubba-hubba"?

You can't imagine how thrilled I was to receive my daily Salon.com e-mail announcing Lynda's new biweekly comic. My sister and I have been huge fans for several years now.

-- Anthony Wilson

Thank you! Thank you! Thank you! I have been absolutely jonesing for some Linda Barry ever since my local weekly dropped "Ernie Pook." You have filled a terrible void in my life.

-- Matthew Anderson

I can't tell you how happy I am to see Lynda Barry's comic in Salon. Thank you for bringing it to us, and in living color, too!

One quibble: I have to wait two weeks for the next strip?!

-- Lisa Beaudry

Kudos on your continued recognition and exposition of good comics. Keep it up, there's plenty more excellent, deserving work out there.

-- Jesse Brown

Cockpit assault


I hope I'm not the only one who has absolutely no patience for those who "lose it" on airline flights. Better preparation of flight staff makes complete sense, but considering the magnitude of what could happen if an intruder should gain control of an aircraft, flight crews should be given the option of arming themselves after receiving thorough training. To minimize the chance of a pilot "shooting wildly," those wishing to be armed should qualify to at least the level of air marshals.

I understand [airline captain] Ed Horton's opinion that "the last thing you want is shots being fired inside an aircraft," but if the choice is between firing those shots and having an out-of-control passenger incapacitate the crew, well ...

-- Allan J. Heim

One obvious solution to the problem of violent air passengers would be to stop serving alcohol during flights. Passengers who can't make it through an eight-hour flight without a drink shouldn't be flying. They should be in therapy.

-- Bryce Stevens

The fine means little; no one believes he or she will actually have to pay $25,000 to the federal government. But throwing their butt in prison for 10 years, now that gets people's attention.

It seems to me that someone who attacks a pilot is guilty of criminal endangerment, and ought to be sentenced to the maximum sentence times the number of people endangered. Does that mean one act of violence in the cockpit could mean hundreds of years of prison? Yep. If the nut case "succeeds" and kills 163 people, he'd be guilty of 163 counts of murder, right?

If a person doesn't understand, even in a drunken rage, that attacking a pilot can kill hundreds of innocent people, that person should be permanently separated from society. Period.

-- Jeff Rice

The real problem here isn't lack of policing. People didn't used to attack flight crews, the same way people didn't used to shoot each other on the freeway. The real problem here is the herding that has resulted from increased costs and ticket-slashing wars, which have directly affected service quality. Delayed flights, missed connections, baggage mishandling -- all these contribute to disgruntled customers. The best solution isn't necessarily to make more laws and install more locks and throw police and guns at passengers. Give me a pack of cards and a pair of headphones, maybe a bag of peanuts, and I'll be happy.

-- Alexis Hope

All in Elian's family


I, along with probably the majority of Americans, believe that Elian should've been returned to Cuba and his father immediately upon arriving in Florida.

But no matter what the state of Marisleysis Gonzalez's emotional health, she is the woman in whose arms Elian found comfort. She is who he bonded with -- for better or worse. When he is taken from her, it will be at least the second time in his six years that he will have to reconcile, in his necessarily egocentric mind, the fact that he has lost someone.

-- Amy Tillem

MacPherson uses freely available information from this country to pillory and attack Elian's Miami relatives while never once having a critical word about the penis-grabbing grandmother, the nature of the divorce that in part led to this situation or the Cuban principles of child rearing, which minimize parental involvement and maximize political indoctrination.

I have a solution: just like shared custody, why doesn't Elian live half the year in Miami and half the year in Cuba. That way, he will get to make a decision where he would like to stay as he grows older.

Finally, it will prevent my greatest fear: that we will never hear again from Elian and his father once they return to Cuba. Our progressive journalists seem to quickly move on to other subjects, I find.

-- Mark Martin

As a psychiatrist with much experience in child custody cases I agree with the editorial that the exploitation of this 6-year-old child for political purposes amounts to child abuse. I think the child should be with his father. In any case, the relatives he is with now have shown that they are not appropriate custodial parents.

-- Victoria C. Sears, M.D.

Salon.com is one of the few places that I have seen discussion of the fact that the far-right contingent of exiles leading the charge to kidnap Elian do not represent all Cuban-Americans. As a Cuban-American I have been appalled to see much of the media portray us as united on this matter. Many Cuban-Americans are afraid to challenge the right-wing orthodoxy of the "Miami Mafia." I hope that articles like this one will give more of us the courage to speak out.

-- Bernardo Attias

Grumpy old men

Thanks for publishing Max Castro's sensible words regarding Elian Gonzalez and the aging Cuban community. As a Chicano I have witnessed for years how INS policy has broken up families or repatriated children to Mexico without parental knowledge. So the Elian story, as sad as it is, angers me. It clearly illustrates that there are two immigration policies -- one for Cubans and one for everyone else.

-- Ernesto Portillo Jr.

Thanks to Castro for promoting the stereotype of an intolerant exile community. Anyone who lives in Miami knows that that stereotype is not true -- there is a nonstop debate in the community on all issues relating to Cuba, including the embargo and the Elian matter.

And Cuban-Americans aren't fighting to keep Elian away from his father, but to keep him out of Cuba. Can Castro seriously argue that returning Elian to Cuba would mean returning him to a country whose government regularly and with impunity violates its citizens' human rights? Where speaking out is punished by imprisonment? Where a child like Elian will be forced to work in the sugar cane fields "for the revolution"?

And can we really be sure that Elian's father doesn't want him to live here? What pressure, what threats, have he and his family been subject to?
Castro may feel comfortable with sending Elian back to live in tyranny, but there is certainly nothing immoral or intolerant about those who would be ashamed to do so.

-- Luis Salazar

No good can come of this

While I am in favor of returning Elian Gonzalez to the custody of his father and subsequently to Cuba, I am saddened by the knowledge that this will do little to restore any degree of normalcy to his life. There is no doubt in my mind that he will be endlessly lauded as a great hero who defeated the Yankees and that the anniversary of his return will be a national holiday in Cuba at least until the death of Castro. And this is the best of the possible fates that await him. That's not much of a childhood.

-- Bart Pindor

Salon Staff

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