EVIL IS US
I appreciate that there was some emphasis in Carlton Smith's article on the real issue of the Gary Ridgway casethe victims ["The Devil We Now Know," Nov. 12]. Young women. Prostitutes. These are the people to focus on now. Ridgway was merely an instrument to illustrate where we fall short. He was nothing, nobody. Of course we feel anger toward the killer. We think to ourselves, so what if his family didn't want him to die? The families of the victims didn't want them to die either! But they did, and the real evil resides in a society that produces the fear and desperation in young women everywhere that make them such easy prey. We need to move the focus away from the cipher that is Ridgway himself, and direct it back to the larger evil that is far from arrested, that continues to range free.
STOPPING OTHER RIDGWAYS
Carlton Smith wrote a compelling and informative piece about the grim conclusion to the Green River murders ["The Devil We Now Know," Nov. 12]. I thank him for it. Healing from this nightmare will take time. I take issue with his supply-side version of prostitution, because an understanding of how young women become victimized by the Gary Ridgways of the world is imperative to healing, as well as stopping further murders.
Smith says, "Nor should we expect to be able to eliminate prostitution. As long as there are women and girls desperate enough for money to take the trick, we will not be rid of this problem, and it does no good to pretend it's not there."
Prostitution, as Smith acknowledges, most often flourishes in a context of misogyny. The life circumstances that contextualize the seeming choice of girls to enter the high-risk world of prostitution are a direct result of sexual abuse and degradation; this conclusion is amply researched and documented. Then there are the buyers: the men who purchase access to female bodies. This objectification is possible only in a misogynistic society. That is the dominant context; prostitution is a demand- driven phenomenon. It is the demand side, the side of the prostitution transaction that is founded in woman hating, that proceeds to abuse and break women's bodies and souls, resulting in staggering numbers of dead women and girls. It "does no good to pretend it's not there."
We must understand and accept that if men did not want to sexually degrade women, society would not suffer the impacts of raped, battered, and dead women. (Of course not all men. But obviously enough to have this system still in place.) There are other Ridgways killing as we seek to bury these dead. The shift in understanding root causes is subtle and important, a foreground/background shift. Understanding that the Green River murders are the most explicit expression of a woman-hating society will go a long way to preventing more nightmares.
PORTRAIT OF A SERIAL KILLER
My thanks to Carlton Smith for his excellent article "The Devil We Now Know" [Nov. 12]. It far exceeds the quality of stories on the same subject in The Seattle Times, the P-I, or any other publication I've read. Also, I think Johanna Goodman's cover portrait of Gary Ridgway keenly shows how twisted he must be on the inside. Shudder! Creepy! Scared me!
Now it would be interesting to see how the Green River Killer evolved into such an evil creature. I'm looking forward to reading about that, too.
Janet L. Richardson
BETTER RED THAN RIGHT
It's amazing that Knute Berger invokes the Red Menace about Bush's U.S.A. [Mossback, "Red Dawn," Nov. 12].
Berger needs to dump the propaganda he's been fed about the former Soviet Union. Does he think he knows how things really were there from sources that are diametrically opposed to communism? It's comparable to getting your information on the U.S. from the Taliban.
If Berger were to really analyze what the Soviet Union had, despite its failings, I doubt he would equate what Bush is doing to the U.S. to scientific socialism. Berger writes that the U.S. "is starting to mimic life in the former Soviet Union." OK, then where are the jobs for all? Or how about health care for all? Housing for all? Free education for all? These don't seem to be high on Bush's agenda, to say the least!
I think a better example of which direction Bush is heading can be found in 1930s Germany. Hopefully, the majority of Seattle Weekly readers have more interest in history and political systems than Berger shows and, unlike him, can differentiate between Nazis and Communists.
RUMMY RUNNING BEHIND
Knute Berger's story is ridiculous [Mossback, "Red Dawn," Nov. 12]! He derides Donald Rumsfeld for wrongful denials while he compares him to Stalin! Who is the bigger ass? Isn't Rummy 71 years old?
He had better get started on his collectivization, purging, gulag programs, and outright wholesale slaughter if he hopes to catch up to the 60 million comrades dead under Uncle Joe's watch! Berger ought to work on a comic strip instead! He should keep writing! At least it's funny.
This column is a potent synthesis and analysis of a very alarming trend [Mossback, "Red Dawn," Nov. 12]. The bottom line is that our distorted democracy is a laughingstock in much of the world, and is becoming more so with the dangerous erosions of our civil liberties. It is high time we here at home take a hard look at ourselves. What the hell do we stand for?
Obviously Steve Wiecking should have stayed a little longer at the play I Am an Artist to see that the joke was actually on him, the art critic [Opening Nights, Nov. 12]. Something that his subconscious probably picked up on, considering the length (and I mean that literally) that he went to describing his dislike of a play he didn't see. Feeling a little suppressed conflict or just simple defensiveness? Oh, well, I'm sorry he left; the rest of us had a great time mocking his world.
I'm neither a foodie nor a gourmet . . . I just like to take my wife out to dinner. How could your "waterfront" coverage go up a hill to Palisade and ignore Anthony's at Pier 66 ["Eat the Waterfront," Nov. 12]?
I willingly drive 30-some miles from Renton to Edmonds to eat at Arnie's. I also go to Anthony's at Des Moines Marina and Salty's at Redondo, but neither does salmon the way Arnie's does it.
Thanks to Brian Miller for not trashing The Matrix to bits ["Turn for the Better," Nov. 5]! I believe he understands it. Seems most reviewers don't. Apparently reviewers and friends who have seen it want it dished to them on a silver platter, and since they don't get it, they think it's the film's fault.
Engage the viewer, that's what it's about. I thank Miller for seeing that.
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