Letter writer P.J. Lunny also makes his/her plea for animal rights by attacking New Times restaurant critic Sue Mullin for liking meat. Lunny is apparently unaware that a restaurant review column is a forum for opinion. If Mullin were a vegetarian, we would be treated to weekly praise-singing of tofu. She is not. That is life.

At the other end of the political spectrum, we find Craig W. Geary, who bemoans the defacing of his wife's car and the theft of her jewelry. Listen, pal, I've had more than $2000 of vandalism done to my car in the past two years, and somehow I've managed to survive it without making veiled racist comments.

A few observations are in order: 1) Car thieves do not hit '81 Citations as a rule. Geary observes that his wife's car is a convertible. In today's market, that makes it at least an $18,000-$20,000 car, unless it's a Geo. Given the opinions expressed in his letter, I'd bet on a Beemer. My heart bleeds.

2) Geary has apparently never heard of preventive measures, such as car alarms, house alarms, pull-out car stereos, safe deposit boxes, et cetera. To me anyone who experiences such a paralyzing wave of crimes committed upon his property and does nothing about it gets what he deserves.

3) The "conspicuous" police who are "safeguarding the profitability of CocoWalk" are off-duty police officers who are paid by the merchants of CocoWalk, myself included, out of said profitability to insure that said profitability remains intact.

4) If Geary is that dissatisfied with his neighborhood, he is welcome to move out and find a place to live where his wife's rag top and diamonds will be safe. In the best of all possible worlds, he will choose whatever northern pest hole whence he came, where, I'm sure, there are no felonies committed and people leave their homes unlocked at night. I've had enough Yankee bellyaching about Miami to last me a lifetime.

5) If he's determined to stay here, Geary could drive his wife's rag top a little way to the west of his home, where, according to his Holmesian deductions, his wife's stereos are currently financing crack smoking. Perhaps he will see the conditions that lead people to attempt to escape through desperate acts. Perhaps he will register to vote, and become involved in his new hometown, trying to improve both his own life and the lives of his neighbors, so they will have something greater to strive for than "five-dollar rocks." Nah, it's too much to hope for.

Mark Cleary
South Miami

The recent spate of anti-gay activities at Florida International University and President Mitch Maidique's ostensibly self-serving "political correctness" in this connection are frankly appalling ("Stonewalled," November 27). As former honor students at FIU who also hold graduate degrees from Harvard and the University of Miami, we are ashamed that our alma mater is becoming a hotbed of homophobic hatemongering and that the state university system has yet to adopt nondiscrimination policies providing equal protection for all, regardless of sexual orientation, similar to those already published by Harvard and the University of California at Berkeley. The state's opinion that it might be "vulnerable to charges of favoritism" if it conferred protected status on a group exhibiting a specific type of behavior is both provincial and specious. De facto discrimination demands vociferous and immediate redress on the part of administrators genuinely committed to initiating "legal precedent," not merely waiting by the sidelines until those of greater pluck and conscience succeed in bringing matters to the point of resolution -- or litigation. If FIU's response to such a fundamental civil rights issue has been so feeble, what quality and conviction can we expect from its projected law school?

No institution in which political and fiscal concerns expressly take precedence over individual freedoms and human dignity is worthy of the name "university." The board of regents would do well to consider the possibility that if gay students and sympathizers -- which, by conservative estimates, account for at least ten percent of campus enrollments -- collectively decide to spend their tuition dollars at more hospitable, progressive institutions, the already economically strapped state university system may have still greater cause to regret the consequences of its inexcusable moral inertia.

Joseph Ford
Susan Alonso

Why can't that student at FIU read? He's too busy putting on the condom that was just passed out in the classroom. He is afraid of getting AIDS or some other sexually transmitted disease. But he hasn't been told that in almost twenty percent of the times he uses a condom, it is not effective.

Why isn't he pledging allegiance to the American flag? Because the past United States Supreme Court said it was okay to burn the American flag -- that he has the right to do it -- so he figures pledging allegiance to it is silly.

Why isn't there a prayer being said in the morning before class? Sorry -- at FIU we don't allow prayers in the classroom any more. And besides, he's too busy learning how to use his condom.

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