To Shoot or Not To Shoot

That isn't a question unless you're packing heat: Mario Barcia may or may not have known he was shooting at a police officer (based on the witnesses and circumstances, he probably didn't), but what Steven Dudley's article "A Shot in the Dark" (December 18) does make crystal clear is the need for citizens to be armed.

When Barcia approached local police with knowledge of who broke into his house, one officer advised him: "You live here, you have to deal with your neighbors afterward." Another detective reportedly added: "You're lucky it wasn't a home invader. They usually come in here and gag you up." If such sage words from police officers aren't enough to make you an advocate of the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, nothing will.

The police are admitting they are pretty helpless against the bad guys until something really bad happens. In other words, you're on your own, kid. The police and prosecutors should stop wasting taxpayers' money prosecuting Barcia and make the streets of Cutler Ridge safer by making life a little more difficult for the Goulds' Boys.

Emiliano Antunez

Miami

My Hialeah, Paradise Lost

For that you can thank our tyrant of a mayor, Raul Martinez:After reading Rebecca Wakefield's article "In Hialeah Every Vote Counts" (December 18), I agree with the claim of foul play made by losing Hialeah City Council candidate Adriana Narvaez.

Being a Hialeah native, I have strongly opposed the Raul Martinez political machine and longed for the day when my fair city would be rid of Martinez once and for all. It isn't a coincidence that in the late Eighties he beat his opponent Nilo Juri by a small margin of absentee ballots. This has been his modus operandi for years. He preys upon senior citizens who do not speak English and have little understanding of the electoral process. Of course most of these folks live in Section 8 housing and feel they "owe" their vote to Martinez. They fear retribution if they don't comply. (I am also sure that if someone were to look deeply into those absentee ballots, you might find some deceased voters.)

I could go on and on about the atrocities Raul Martinez and his so-called councilmen commit in Hialeah. Just drive down my block; my house is the only one without an "efficiency." These subdivided homes are legal only if your area is zoned for that type of construction. My block, however, is strictly for single-family homes. But of course the mayor benefited from the gratitude of those folks who were graciously allowed to build small apartments, and so he turned a blind eye. He couldn't care less that it has caused serious overcrowding, terrible traffic, and the erosion of property values. Who is going to want to buy my house when they see my neighbor's house with eleven cars parked all over the place?

It makes me sick to see where this city is going. I hope Ms. Narvaez is successful in her quest to reveal fraud in the November election and we can finally have some objectivity in Hialeah, not just the will of Raul Martinez. My family will assist anyone opposing the Martinez machine.

My parents always laugh at the irony: They left Cuba to escape a tyrant yet now find themselves under the thumb of another one here in Hialeah.

Arlene Rouco

Hialeah

Articulate Cops?

Yes, that's not an oxymoron: I would like to thank New Times for publishing the views from both sides of the FTAA protest controversy -- the demonstrators and the police. I found this very enlightening, especially the letters from Miami police officers David Magnusson (December 11) and Kenneth H. Nelson (December 18).

For me this is the most valuable thing New Times has done in reporting on the FTAA meeting. It makes the paper and its reporting credible.

Matthias Muenzer

Brookline, Massachusetts

In the Best Tabloid Tradition

The anarchists are coming! The anarchists are coming!While Miami Police Chief John Timoney and his officers must bear most of the blame for the uproar attending the FTAA conference, the media, including New Times, must also acknowledge that their sensation-hungry preconference coverage went a long way toward creating an atmosphere in which violent confrontations seemed likely, if not inevitable.

John Gorman

North Miami

I Know Savage Violence

But I've never seen anything like the FTAA: As a 30-year resident of the City of Miami, I was shocked and saddened by the behavior of the police storm-trooper assault on law-abiding citizens at the FTAA meeting. I was doing independent reporting on the union march, having been a field producer for Geraldo for seven years, a film producer, and a historian. I have lived through riots from Pittsburgh to Los Angeles, from Miami to Kansas City, and I have never seen this type of violent, savage police brutality. Naked aggression at its worst. It was not a police action; it was more akin to Nazi Germany. They beat young college students with ferocious anger, while at other times it looked like sadistic pleasure.

As I let the camera roll, one police officer swung his baton like Barry Bonds and hit my leg. The blow felt like it had broken a bone, but as my anger rose I dared not speak or ask for a badge number.

It was no coincidence that Chief John Timoney was brought to Miami; his reputation preceded him. His Gestapo policies, however, will not be tolerated by citizens of the United States. Our Constitution and Bill of Rights are in place to ensure our freedom and protect us against tyranny. Chief Timoney, of course, did not act on his own. Gov. Jeb Bush, Mayor Manny Diaz, Mayor Alex Penelas, and other government officials were in on the plan to violate citizens' and reporters' rights. Congress should investigate.

Leo Casino

Miami

Mother Nature's Way

It's reassuring to know that all of Florida will disappear: I think Miami sucks. In fact the whole State of Florida sucks. You seem to be so antidemocratic. First you put that moron George W. Bush in the White House, then you re-elect his moronic brother as governor, and now you suppress free speech at the FTAA meetings.

I think it's great the ocean is rising. Maybe it will eliminate Florida from the U.S. I will never visit your Third World state and will boycott everything I can that comes from Florida.

Michael Sabo

Tacoma, Washington

Critiquing the Critic

Two thumbs up for Mangravite: I have never written a critic in reaction to a review, but I had to tell Ronald Mangravite how lucky Miami is to have him here to provide such insightful theater criticism.

As an example, I'd already seen Edward Albee's The Goat or Who is Sylvia? at GableStage before reading his review ("Top Goat," October 23), which added a sense of completion to the experience. He touched on elements that really made sense but which I'd not thought of on my own. Reading his review gave me the satisfaction of not only enjoying the production but of rounding off the experience by providing a lucid and thoughtful understanding of what I had seen. That is not only superb criticism, it is also providing his readership with an education.

David Kwiat

Kendall

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