Unwilling Victims

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I am writing in regard to the commentary [“Walking in Burque,” Aug. 16-22] and, wow, I can definitely relate to what that poor woman went through. When I first moved to Albuquerque, bus service was even worse—there were no routes that ran past 6 p.m. So, I was forced to either walk home or take a cab if I wanted to have something of a life. Often I opted to walk, waiting for up to an hour for a cab when I lived at Washington and Central, and attending an event at UNM seemed somewhat counter-productive. It wasn’t until I got east of Carlisle that things got creepy. I distinctly remember on one occasion a man shouting at me, “Hey, ho! Stop!" What was even scarier was how he got angrier and angrier when I didn’t. If anything, I walked faster. Reading that article brought home the fact that sexist stereotypes of a woman walking alone at night or even sitting/standing at bus stops in certain parts of town (I’ve been harassed in broad daylight) is so deeply ingrained that clearly there is very little safety. In another city I’ve lived in , there was strength, there was an unwillingness to be victims and "Take Back the Night" protest marches were organized. Maybe this can happen here?

Street Scowl

There were a few things about Jessica Carr’s "Walking in Burque" [Commentary, Aug. 16-22] that make me want to write. First, I’m a fairly large man who learned on the streets of Manhattan to walk with a scowl that made me looked pissed-off or even a little crazy, and never to make eye contact. My mother could walk by me and I wouldn’t see her. But what my "street face" and size do for me is I don’t have to put up with the bullshit that so many women have to put up with, and I want to say that right up front. Jessica, you have my sympathy, for sure, and I want to be clear that I know I don’t truly understand what you have to deal with.

I’ve worked and lived in downtown Albuquerque for 12 years, so I’ve seen a lot of stuff here. It’s a sad truth that hookers work Central, and a woman walking Central in the dark by herself may very well get propositioned. Not two weeks ago I saw a john pick up a whore right in front of the house I was at on High Street, just south of Central. I did what anyone who doesn’t want that trade in their neighborhood ought to do, and I called 242-COPS and reported what I saw, including the license plate number of the john’s car. That’s all we citizens can do, but we must do it. Sure, what happens is the cops come by and drive the trade to some other part of Central, then they drive it out of that other part of Central and it comes back to where it was before, but there’s only so many cops and they can’t be everywhere.

But what Jessica said about the city needing more beat cops and bike cops in high-pedestrian areas is right on the mark. Same with better street-lighting. Thing is, these have to be paid for, so if we’re going to have them we have to be willing—as a city, all of us, even those of us who live in the far Northeast Heights—to help pay for them. They’re investments that will pay off. Same for better bus service, though I want to say, I rode the No. 50 bus often this past year, and that puppy was always on time. Good drivers, too.

One more thing—people, leave on your porch lights, like Jessica said. Yeah, I know there’s global warming, but even a 40-watt lightbulb can make a big difference, and now there are those new (pricey!) compact fluorescents you can use.

Going Herbal With The Don

Although puncture vine’s fruit (the goatheads) are hard on our bare feet and on bicycle tires, the puncture vine’s flowers, stems, leaves and especially the goatheads are highly beneficial for our health.

Puncture vine stimulates appetite and milk flow, removes worms, lowers bad cholesterol, give slower, stronger heart function and lowers diastolic blood pressure.

For 5,000 years, puncture vine, know now as nature’s Viagra, has been recommended as the ultimate male tonic and sex stimulant.

Puncture vine helps anemia, back pain, cancer, coughs, diabetes, digestion, dizziness, gout, headaches, hemorrhoids, hepatitis, kidney stones, rheumatism, sore throat and venereal diseases. Puncture vine enhances the immune system, balances both male and female hormones, eases menopausal symptoms, increases stamina and endurance, builds muscle and revitalizes the liver, kidney and urinary tract. Puncture vine is a gentle laxative and a sensible diuretic. Puncture vine is one of the best herbs to flush toxins from the body. I have gleaned this wisdom from books and Ayurvedic medicine (from India) and other natural healing.

I gather puncture vine from unsprayed yards, cut it up, dry it in the shade outdoors and then bag it. Before eating it, I grind it to power in a small electric grinder. This powder is one of the ingredients of my main food every day—my blended all-raw vegan soup.

Why pay high prices for medicinal herbs shipped hundreds or thousands of miles—causing wars for oil, poisoned air and global climate change? I enjoy eating puncture vine and other free, local, healing wild herbs!

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