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A Scary Place

Re: "Schiavo Lives!" by John Sugg (March 30), thank you, John, for your insight. It is refreshing to read essays that do not mince words. I have been troubled by the presence of Randall Terry throughout this debacle. I feel that he has controlled and organized the protests to "save Terri" by bringing in folks from all over the country (kinda like what secret service does to perform a coup in other lands). Media has ignored the fact that Terry adheres to the precepts of the Christian Reconstructionist Movement, a terrorist group that believes Democracy is a heresy and not compatible with biblical teachings. Terry makes no bones about it: he has been quoted as saying things like "we don't want equal time, we want a theocracy." And Bush and Co. are like lapdogs to these scumbags. The world is a scary place.

— John Sirois, Indian Rocks Beach, FL

Who You Calling Liberal?

Thank you to Samir Shukla for the Hungry Ghost write up in Music Menu in your March 30 issue. I write to express my umbrage with Samir for implying that we are liberals, because I am constantly having to defend myself from such accusations. Every time we play a show some conservative jerk sends us an email calling me a communist because I hate George Bush and Wal-Mart. We members of Hungry Ghost consider ourselves to be conservative Libertarians. We hate both major political parties and we abhor socialism despite our rants against corporations such as Wal-Mart who have no respect for private property rights. Call us lousy, call us paranoid, call us conspiracy nuts, but please do not alienate us from the conservative punk movement. Thank you again for the press. We need all we can get.

— Ryan Sullivan, Charlotte

Samir's reply: Nowhere in the Music Menu item in question did I say the band was liberal. I used the word "conservative" in quotes, while referring to the song "Bush Knew," implying that it seems the band wouldn't engage in the Bush worship that certain "conservative" punk websites spew daily. I admit I don't know what Conservative Libertarian means, either. It's as meaningless as liberal, conservative, blue state, red state and all the other nonsensical labels spun today.

All Lives Count

Self-awareness means everything. Ideally, if a non-human is more cognizant than a human, than the non-human should be given priority in times of crisis. If not, then the reasons for favoring humans become excuses based on the frivolous and arbitrary. The human claim of greater cognizance is what gives humans their ultimate status in the first place. It is rather arrogant to suggest that a brain-dead human life is more valuable than an intelligent animal's. Without the mind, what's the point?

It makes no sense why the religious zealots get so emotional about the rights of human embryonic stem cells that could save us from debilitating diseases, yet they don't bat an eye when a chimp is tortured for cosmetics research. That is why the world needs "wacky" groups like P.E.T.A. Peter Singer is frightening to many people because, logically he is correct and that makes human beings feel vulnerable. Making society come to terms with how poorly it treats its animals was one of Singer's greatest achievements. If you are really as caring as you want everyone to believe, then you should recognize the virtue in helping the lives of innocent animals. I'm sure fellow animal-lover Terri Schiavo would have agreed.

— Jeff Gordon, Atlanta

Editor's note: Jeff Gordon's reference to Peter Singer, a Princeton University professor and advocate of "utilitarian ethics," is from a column on Terri Schiavo by Atlanta Senior Editor John Sugg in November 2003. It has gained interest during the current Schiavo controversy, and can be found at More of Sugg's writings on Schiavo and related subjects can be found on his blog,

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