Rakin’ It In
[RE: Thin Line, “How Soon is Now!?” Aug. 23-29] Your intro to journalism class has paid off. You can use words like 'muckraker' and 'pundit' and attempt to make a distinction between advocacy journalism and reporting.
Amy Goodman and “Democracy Now!” need no defense. Your only real complaint was the tone of Goodman's voice. That is the intellectual equivalent of a whining eighth grader who complains that U.S. History is boring. The problem is, any attack on reporting style coming from the Alibi is ludicrous at best.
I am curious about the impetus for this column. Is the Alibi desperate to stir up some controversy and get some letters on the letters page? Will your objective coverage be critiquing a broad spectrum of broadcast journalists? Perhaps your column is getting lost among the pages of sex ads and your voice is getting a little shrill. It's your tone, Jessica. You're shrieking.
[RE: The Real Side, “Albuquerque's Death Squads,” Aug. 16-22] How do we know we have a gang problem? APD says so.
Any factual details to back that up? That's classified.
Really? You want to suspend the Constitution in order to criminalize a class of people but you can't bother to give me any evidence that these people exist? APD says they're dangerous! What don't you understand about that?
OK, APD is our city's premier crime-fighting outfit, all protecting and serving, that's cool. I'll take APD's word that they know what they're doing and they know all about who is a gang member, what they're up to and which gangs they're in; how do we fight them? How do we stop these rapacious career criminals? Make them fill out paperwork ... Bwah ha ha ha ha!
Write On, Sister
I just read "Walking in Burque" [Commentary, Aug. 16-22] and, sister, you are right on. I'm originally from the Northwest, and I have lived all over, including some major metropolitan areas. What is it about Burque? And how is the simple act of going for coffee an invitation to be harassed? I'm fortunate to have a car, but I also walk everywhere. I've been proposed to (um, no thanks), followed, chased down, you name it. And then I'm dumbfounded, thinking to myself, "But I don't look like a ho ... do I?"
As former military and law enforcement, I have been through years of self-defense training. Though you seem to have a handle on things, I'd like to share some things with women who find themselves having the same frustrations while hoofing it around. This is not expert advice, so I encourage women to educate themselves.
First, always be aware of your surroundings. Look around with confidence, and appear as though you know exactly where you are going. Scope out potential places you might be able to dash into. Men tend to avoid giving a woman who looks like she knows what's up a bunch of shit. On that note, when men make verbal advances toward you, acknowledge them by a brief nod and hello. Telling them off will usually only engage these jackasses, and ignoring them is sometimes seen as a challenge. It's letting them know you ain't no sucker and you aren't afraid or bothered by their asshattery. In my experience, it seems to disarm a bully.
Second, always let someone know where you are going, and what route you're planning to take; especially at night. It's kind of a hassle, but I'll give someone a call and say, "Hey, I'm trucking up Central" or "I'm taking a shortcut through the golf course.” Should any real trouble occur, and you don't arrive at your destination when you're supposed to, looking for you is 10 times easier when someone has a general idea of where you were.
Third, if someone sketchy is approaching you, pull out your cell phone and pretend you're talking on it. Be loud. If you think you might be in danger, don't be all badass. Call someone and chitchat through the potential hassle. Additionally, I would recommend carrying pepper spray—but for the love of yourself, please learn how to use it. (And, I hate to point this out, but it might be illegal for civilians to carry in Albuquerque. Check your laws.) Not many people do. Here's a crash course: Even though you might think of it as a "spray"—as in, it's all misty—it actually shoots out like a stream. Point it directly at the face of your attacker, and douse that evil mug. It should be dripping. And remember, the fumes may get to you also, so be prepared to flee. But seriously, don't even bother to carry pepper spray if you don't know how to use it; you're just creating an even more dangerous situation. I've been sprayed (in training) and I have used it (in real life). It ain't a hairspray can, that's for sure. Find more information at www.besafeandsecure.com.
Finally, have a plan. Try to imagine the worst-case scenario, and how you would handle yourself. If you're wearing high heels, think about actually using one as a weapon. Think about what you have on hand to protect yourself. Even a hairbrush can inflict some damage, if you're picking up what I'm laying down. I am not condoning actual violence, but it doesn't hurt to take yourself on a virtual tour of your worst nightmare so you can have some kind of game plan. This is will increase your ability to fight rather than wilt and freak.
And don't take it personally. We have boobs. We're alone. That's enough right there to get attention from some of the jerkoffs that are never going to regard you as a real person.
Every woman, especially those who travel a lot alone, should take even the most basic course in self-defense. Let your fingers do the walking, make some calls and sign up. You will never regret it.
Letters should be sent with the writer’s name, address and daytime phone number via e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org. They can also be faxed to (505) 256-9651. Letters may be edited for length and clarity, and may be published in any medium; we regret that owing to the volume of correspondence we cannot reply to every letter.