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X-Box Angst

In reference to "X-Box Invades the Bedroom" (by Suzy Hansen, Jan. 19): I thought, surely some other woman out there read that article and was disgusted enough to take the time to write in and describe their feelings in a more thoughtful and articulate way than I could. Alas to the women in Charlotte.

To make the record nice and clear, I don't agree with the content of the article, which is the basis for my dismay. I could point out that it is simply another way of making women look selfish and cold, unwilling to understand a hobby that differs from their own tastes. That it's simply another way to separate men from women, to show that the two individual points of view could never coincide and get along. Then it has an added undertone — Fie on the poor male who does not agree that the women's point of view is superior, who cannot agree that sitting and watching five hours of "must-see TV" is undoubtedly better than playing a video game, because that's what the woman wants to do. "[Watching TV] It's like reading a book," one of the women in the article says, and I'm going to avoid going further into that sentence because I don't need an ulcer at my age. What I am going to point out is that I am a woman in a relationship with a man who adores video games and spends many freetime hours playing them, and I could not be happier.

—Alisa Arruda, Charlotte

Still Left Behind

Perhaps a better title for this piece ("The People Left Behind," by Nate Blakeslee, Jan. 19) would be "The People Still Being Left Behind." We all know who "the people" refers to largely: blacks. To some lesser extent it also refers to other minorities. The indelible mark left on blacks by slavery cannot be disputed. When slavery ended, blacks found themselves with no economic opportunity, much like today. Ironically, many returned to their former masters for work. Eventually blacks started organizing and demanding equal treatment protection of the Constitution but it would be decades for anything to materialize. When it did, the progress was only de jure. De facto discrimination still marginalizes blacks at every turn.

The more blacks agitated the status quo, the more it became evident something had to be done to contain their so-called aggression besides the outright violence of lynching and police brutality. Enter crack cocaine. After the CIA had infested black neighborhoods with it, they had the reason they needed to ramp up black incarceration. How can blacks complain when they are locked up, unable to vote, unable to protest and unable to reproduce? The US imprisons a quarter of the world's inmates — mostly black and mostly for trivial drug offenses. Maybe this is what Bush is referring to when he talks about spreading democracy and opportunity for all people. Human Rights Watch was right to publicly condemn the abysmal US record on human rights.

—George Thompson, Charlotte

The Drug War and Prohibition

In reference to Robert Sharpe's letter, "Drug War Worse Than Drugs" (Jan. 26), I'd like to add that if tough-on-drugs policies worked, the quixotic goal of a drug free America would have been reached a long time ago. And if liberal marijuana laws created more drug use, the Netherlands would have much higher drug usage rates than the US. It does not. In fact, the Dutch use marijuana and other recreational drugs at much lower rates than Americans do. See http://www.drugwarfacts.org/thenethe.htm.

Beyond just the use of marijuana as medicine, why do so many of our politicians want to keep criminalizing a natural herb that has never been documented to kill a single person? Why do apparently intelligent people want to arrest and jail other people who use or sell an easy-to-grow weed?

To understand, study the history of US alcohol prohibition. The gangster Al Capone made most of his illegal money from alcohol prohibition. Capone often bragged that he "owned" the city of Chicago and indeed, he had most of the politicians and police who ran the city on his payroll. Al Capone was a successful businessman and it's not unreasonable to suspect that the drug cartels of today are following his business model.

It's also not unreasonable to suspect that the drug cartels may have many high-level politicians and police officials on their payroll. Obviously, those politicians would advocate the continuation of drug prohibition, which is making the drug cartels so fabulously wealthy.

I'm not saying that any specific so-called "drug warrior" is on the payroll of the cartels — I'm just a little suspicious of the motives of all of the drug-war cheerleaders.

—Kirk Muse, Mesa, AZ

HOLLIS ROCKS

I just moved to Charlotte six months ago so I was thrilled to see that you are printing Hollis Gillespie's columns. She is outrageous, but I loved her when I was in Atlanta and read Creative Loafing there, and now I can feel like I'm back home for awhile each week.

Sally Turits, Charlotte

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