Letters: Good Trial Coverage, ¡Thanks For Asking!, Slow Down, Gene Grant Is Wrong About Haitian Babies, Memories Of Unm Professor Hector Torres

Peace Promoters

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[Re: News, “Protesters Lose Battle With APD,” March 11-17] Thank you VERY much for your regular and detailed coverage of the Albuquerque Eleven Peace Promoters. I’m dismayed by the jury’s hasty all-inclusive negative verdict and hope the plaintiffs appeal. For now, thank you for your fairness and excellent attention to the details of the case.

Peace and justice from a NM ‘manita.

Letters: ¡Thanks For Asking! ¡Thanks For Asking!

I would like to make sure that everyone reads the great article titled "The Mexican Asks a New Mexican" [Feature, March 11-17]. What a great exchange between Joseph Baca on "our" side vs. Gustavo Arellano on "their" side! What a great idea! And hopefully something that can become a series … even if only a short one where the two cover more subjects that are more than often questions that come up among and between both "sides."

I want to carefully say that there is no real animosity between the two closely related cultures of mutual ethnicity, aside from periodic questions of curiosity … but there ARE questions! These good, humorous, intelligent answers (not so well-hidden behind double entendres) can go a long way toward softening any hard edges between the two, to say nothing of the entertainment it must bring to the savvy
gabachos . You couldn’t have picked two better "adversaries" than Baca and Arellano to smoothly and humorously sail through these sometimes "troubled waters" along the Rio Grande. Please, please, more of these two sparring on the many differences and similarities of our "height challenged" culture … and they should not spare the thrown tamale passes and the drop-kicked melones !

Letters: Slow Your Roll Slow Your Roll

If there were some multibillion dollar business with high pressure lobbyists working to protect speed limits and crash prevention (like there was and is to protect and enhance that nanny seat belt law), we’d still have a 55 mph speed limit, and it would be strictly enforced. But the lower speed limits would mean the old vehicles would not get wrecked and would stay in service. It’s not financially profitable for the auto industry (where that nanny seat belt law really came from), so there are no lobbyists or money coming from them to work for sensible speed limits. Rather, it’s the opposite.

Lawmakers sell their souls to the heavy-foot big-money places, big-trucking interests that consider their "time and profits" of greater value than other lives. The 10 states that allow 75 mph, even for big rigs, had an over-all average fatality rate of 1.50 per 100 million vehicle miles of travel during ’07. The lower speed states that limit big rigs to 55 and 65 mph averaged at 1.15. The national average was 1.36. Check www.nhtsa.dot.gov/.

Letters: Trophy Hunters! Step Away From The Insults Mr. Grant! Trophy Hunters! Step Away From The Insults Mr. Grant!

[Re: Opinion, Gene Grant, “1-800-Adopt-a-Haitian,” Feb. 25-March 3] Oh, Gene! Why not turn your attention to breaking down barriers when it comes to families of color adopting/fostering children of color! To paint white people who adopt children of color as trophy hunters is a bit obscene.

Yes, when we see stories of white missionaries coming to town and scooping up Haitian children, it is alarming—but this is a tiny story in an ocean of misery, disease, and mental and physical agony.

The urge to help should not be diminished into a shallow, race-based attack on people with good intentions. And while you mock "Americanization" there will be no greater advocate for the poorest country on Earth than a family extended with the addition of a Haitian child—whether that family is white or black.


UNM English Professor Hector Torres and graduate student Stefania Gray were killed on Sunday, March 7. We asked our readers to share stories about Hector and Stefania at alibi.com. Visit http://bit.ly/HectorTorres to leave your own.

I remember being so angry writing Professor Torres’ final criticism and theory paper because I couldn’t explain why metaphor was beautiful. I went to class basically in tears before turning in the paper because I wanted to understand it so badly and I felt like I was going to fail his class. During class he explained that the amazing thing about language was that there was an infinite amount of ways to describe love. He wrote "Love is a pebble laughing in the sunlight" from a Lacan text on the board. I just remember him being so happy and peaceful in his explanation about how meaning was everywhere and waiting to be discovered. When I went to his office to turn in my final paper and thank him for being so patient and helpful, he thanked me for being in his class and trying so hard because his students’ appreciation what was most important to him.

Professor Torres, you were one of the nicest most caring professors I have ever had. Your instruction is the only reason why I love critical theory, and I’m so blessed to have learned from you. I still think about your class whenever I read poetry. Thank you.

Letters: My Friend Hector My Friend Hector

In the six years I worked with you, you earned my respect, and in the 20-plus years I’ve known you, you’ve earned my love. We played cards together every week; we lost equally well and often. We talked for hours about minutia; we tripped through Juarez like characters from some modern day Satyricon . We slept on each other’s couches, we shared our stories and our dreams; our hopes and our histories. Never took a class from you, but you taught me; never got to tell you some things, but I know you know ’em, anyway. Like Grisman and Garcia, we were challenging each other to try new things while we shared our love for the people, the land and the art. Still don’t know Noam Chomsky from Norm Crosby, still don’t know my Derrida from my derriere … but I know the world is a lesser place for your not being in it, carnal. Say "Hola" to mi Angelita, Big Daddy, Louis, Jon and the others … I’ll be showin’ you guys my mad new poker skills soon enough.

Letters: Aye, Aye, Aye, Doc-Torres! Aye, Aye, Aye, Doc-Torres!

Hector and I shared a very special friendship when I was a lowly English Dept. undergrad. Back when I was writing poetry for Pat Smith and David Johnson, learning about the ’60s from David Jones and trying hard to pass Chaucer with Professor Gallagher, Hector was my friend and compadre. He wasn’t my teacher until later, when I took a linguistics course to fulfill some post-B.A. credits in order to become a teacher. (Damn, that class was hard, and his lectures were dense and sometimes incomprehensible to me.) But Hector ("Doc-Torres," as we called him) as a friend was the best! My memories range from having a fabulous birthday dinner with him at Il Vicino, to driving around blasting U2, to him presenting me with an inscribed book of mythology after I’d told him that mythology was boring and those gods are too hard to remember, anyway. Hector would have none of that! He always inspired me to think harder and to imagine more deeply. He was a damn good friend and he was very passionate. He’d make us speak Spanish and then he’d be so delighted in the fact that we could discuss stuff in his first language. We had some good times dancing, drinking, listening to R.E.M., talking for hours about the absurdities of our lives. He was not of my generation, but he explained mine so well to me. It hurts so deeply to think of him gone and what occurred. But … Aye, aye, aye, Doc-Torres, we miss you and will hold you in our hearts for the duration!

Letters should be sent with the writer’s name, address and daytime phone number via e-mail to letters@alibi.com. 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. Word count limit for letters is 300 words.

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