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Axe to Grind

Posted 4/6/2005

I am writing concerning the “Second Stringers” cover article in the March 23 edition of your “newspaper.”

The bias of writer David Axe is so blatant that you should not have run the story. His argument defies logic and disregards history. Mr. Axe disproves his theory as much as he proves it.

The mistakes made by these National Guardsmen are no greater than mistakes made by active-duty units. Mr. Axe tells of a shooting of Iraqi military personnel by “jumpy” Guardsmen. He has forgotten about the active-duty personnel who have tragically fired upon civilian vehicles. Every point made by Mr. Axe concerning the shortcomings of this unit can be duplicated concerning active-duty forces. Soldiers are soldiers. A soldier’s ability to piss and moan is exceeded only by his sense of duty and bravery. Mr. Axe sounds like he thinks he discovered the Holy Grail by finding enlisted men who found fault with their officers. Anyone with military experience would be surprised to find the opposite.

The degree of training in the Guard and Reserves can not be maintained at the same level as active-duty forces. But many Guardsmen and Reservists have active-duty backgrounds, and many are combat veterans as well. I think that many of these veterans would dislike being categorized as “over the hill.”

Training is not the only brick needed to build a good soldier. Experience gained in the field is important in surviving combat. Unfortunately, this can only be trained to a point. My father had never been out of Baltimore before he was sent to Korea for a 13-month combat tour. My uncle, who also had barely been outside of Hampden, left Korea before my father was sent. My father-in-law went straight from setting pins at a bowling alley on Eastern Avenue to piloting gliders in World War II. All of these brave and honorable men survived their service, not only because of training, but also because of will and intelligence. They did so with minimal basic training, not years of daily training.

Mr. Axe makes an issue out of the fact that these men and women are homesick. Is there something here that I am missing? Men and women who have been away from their homes and families for a year want to go home. It is almost unbelievable to see Mr. Axe mention this fact. Journalism courses in college must be taught at the same time they have the classes in common sense. Mr. Axe must have missed the common-sense classes.

Please do not allow writers to denigrate the service of any soldier. Active-duty, Reserve, and Guard soldiers all deserve our respect. Increase your editorial responsibility to include at least some level of journalistic integrity. Many of us only read City Paper to see what is going on in the urban liberal scene, but articles like that of Mr. Axe hardly make it worth the trouble. It is just getting too hard to sift through the propaganda to get at some facts.

Lawrence McCauley
Middle River

“Second Stringers” is not the whole truth. In a recent survey about today’s military, it was found that 80 percent of the soldiers had never been in a fistfight—which is ridiculous. The military doesn’t really have the two-fisted tough guys of World War I, II, and Korea, men who had a strong, determined mind-set to win no matter what. Those guys really wanted to fight for their country and they did not get any monetary bonuses for doing so. Sometimes commanders would have to call on cooks, truck drivers, engineers, and even medics to go to the front. Front-line soldiers could easily be replaced because there were no women in the combat area. America has a military today that is problem-riddled.

Leo A. Williams
Baltimore

RoughNecks

Rarely have I ever been so disgusted and insulted by dregs of humanity whose racist, hate-filled venom was the true heart and essence of a story. The title of your wrongly named “Rough Trade” cover article (March 16) suggests it is an insider’s perspective on the plague of eviction. In truth, “Rough Trade” was nothing more than a thinly veiled, filthy, racist white supremacy group’s sick, twisted, nauseating perspective of Baltimore City and its most troubled minority inhabitants. “Rough Trade”’s racist angle was so one-sided as to reflect poorly on its author and City Paper, which till now I held in high regard for its reporting on the other Baltimore that seldom shines in The Sun.

“Rough Trade” is a string of demeaning generalizations that pander to the lowest, vile, rank common denominator of black stereotypical lies. Baltimore City’s population is approximately 625,000 people, 65 percent of whom are black. Of that, let’s assume a full 10 percent of Baltimore’s black people are exactly the depraved dope-addict lowlifes reviled in your “Rough Trade” article. That’s a LOT of people, so surely that many career crack whores, dopers, and lowlifes could keep the merry band of bigots in your “Rough Trade” story quite busy, indeed. My problem: Where was the editorial balance in this hatemongers’ love fest that would at least mention the many, many good, honest, hard-working, law-abiding black citizens who strive to make Baltimore a great place to live? What about the many thousands of proud taxpaying black property owners who call Baltimore home with demonstrated love that lifts up their community? Where was even the semblance of journalistic balance in this fairy tale for the profoundly ignorant?

Who at City Paper spoke FOR the majority of good black people your story, in craven, callous, cowardly zeal, overlooks and despoils with the arrogant stigma born of filthy racist lies? Where was ANY opposing view to unchallenged banal racist sentiment these pathetic demagogues spewed? Since stereotypes, not facts, appear to be the new coin of the realm at City Paper, let me strike a blow for those good black people of Baltimore whose honor was sullied in your “Rough Trade” article. I dare say all those who uttered racist remarks in your story appear as textbook incarnations of inbred fools swimming the shallow end of family gene pools most blacks think of if you say “redneck hillbilly lowlife thug.”

The “Rough Trade” story did nothing but make worse already horrible racial tensions in Baltimore. I ride public transit every day, encountering some whose nasty, inconsiderate, drunken, gutter or drug-addict ways almost make me want to see them as a waste of skin, whatever its color. Unlike those in the “Rough Trade” article, I do not generalize, assuming all black or white people are the horrible, ill-mannered, insensitive, animalistic, degenerate human garbage I tolerate daily riding MTA.

If you are a racist, you see only ugliness in all things except yourself and your tiny, narrow-minded world. Only if you rise above ignorance, by at least doing the MATH, can your heart ever experience the truth about the awesome majority good, responsible, caring, drug-free black people, some of “Baltimore’s Best!” However, to do the MATH, you must be intelligent, while caring enough to give a damn about TRUTH, and maybe that’s asking too much of racist mental cases. I will still read this rag because, mathematically, the good City Paper does enriching Baltimore life far outweighs the bad done by occasional garbage stories like “Rough Trade.” In this case, however, City Paper’s real story told of diseased minds meeting on one lame bigoted roughneck accord, home sweet home to their shared depravity, a cesspool in common where ALL BALTIMORE’S ROUGH TRADE LIVE AND BREED!

Wolf Dunaway
Baltimore

Anti-Social Studies

No thanks to your new coon-in-red writer Vincent Williams, who started his writing career with City Paper with a flow of “negative power” to make white folks laugh at the character and lifestyle of Michael Jackson (“Mike in Five,” Social Studies, March 23).

In my opinion, Michael Jackson is everybody’s tragedy in America. We Americans who loved Michael Jackson’s music during the glory days of his musical career did not care about the status of Michael Jackson’s black balls or his hidden sexual lifestyle. In fact, music lovers of Michael Jackson did not seem to care if any man or woman was loving, sucking, or giving love charity to Michael Jackson’s black balls in his bed (anywhere in America or the world) or behind any stage he had performed on.

As I see it, Michael Jackson grew up in “white is right” America during a time when straight and gay black men were catching hell living in the bowels of poverty because of the color of their black skin. Michael Jackson was the medical doctor who was used by white folks to soothe the misery of poverty. Michael Jackson never knew he was a set up to keep the political system profitable for white rich people. Is it any wonder that black folks are not supporting Michael Jackson now? Some black folks in poverty might be getting tired of supporting famous black people who never talk about the social-injustice problems in urban America.

Somewhere along the way, Michael Jackson has learned how to be “maternal.” His maternal behavior might be the reason some of his young lover boys have accepted Michael Jackson’s talent, money, and thinking.

As I see it, Vincent Williams has not learned a simple fact: Michael Jackson has made a choice. He wants sexual relationships with young boys. Michael Jackson lures young boys with his female appeal, which is that of an artificial female (exotic makeup, a silky voice modulation with sex appeal, hair indistinguishable in style, and clothes with military flair to remind him that it’s not nice to be openly female).

In my opinion, Vincent Williams wrote a mean-spirited article about Michael Jackson. Williams wrote from his delusional balls and revealed his own phobia against anyone not living straight, and living between the thighs of sistahs. I bet Lawrence Summers of Harvard University would appreciate that a black man believes that black women have no intelligence in the head above her shoulders (not the extension of the “head” on a man’s penis).

If City Paper has hired Vincent Williams to humor white people, more shit power to you. No black man certified by conservative white folks should continue to make all black folks America’s problem—straight or gay.

I think I am going to have to find a paper to write articles about the shameful way conservative white Americans are treating “poor” blacks (even poor whites). I need to have my own radio show to tell the Vincent Williams of the world that the politicization of sex is a personal choice for those who want to oppress the habits of acts perceived as beastly. Michael Jackson is idolatrous. That’s no crime.

Larnell Custis Butler
Baltimore

Editor Lee Gardner responds: While the “Mike in Five” column was Vince’s inaugural Social Studies column, he has been writing for CP on and off for almost a decade.

A Week Without Murder Ink

As an avid reader of your paper, it gives me great pleasure to write in for the first time.

As I read Murder Ink on March 23, I was reminded of the shooting at Red Lake a few days before, and I could only ask myself, Is the heart of man so cold? Two men were killed in Baltimore (according to same Murder Ink column)—incredibly, one for running away from his robbers and the other for “asking for his stuff back.” I have never felt as frightened for the safety of my life in any other country, and I’ve been to a few, with the most time spent in West Africa.

Every week I hurry to Murder Ink, hoping that for once there will have been no murders the past week in Baltimore. I’m always disappointed. But the crime rate in Baltimore is not news. When I moved here about six months ago it was a notorious city. Be sure I won’t be here longer than necessary either. The recent Red Lake shootings, among other events, show that crime has no race (believe it or not), tribe, or respect for anyone.

Americans, why is there so much violence? Why?

Pearl Lofts
Baltimore

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