Letters from the Issue of January 26, 2006

The first thing you learn to kill is your identity

Kill, Kill, Kill

But please, not the messenger: Emily Witt's January 12 article "The Few, the Proud ..." was interesting. I assure you, however, that the Marines did not show you what actually happens in recruit training.

Deprivation of the use of the first person is more than not being able to say "I." It's getting beaten for saying "I." It's watching others being beaten for wetting themselves after being denied a "head call" for hours (after being forced to consume a gallon of water). It's being forced to clean your feces with your hand because you are deprived of toilet paper. It's being forced to scream "kill" about 200 times a day.

I know the point of these workshops: They make parents' and educators' tails wag with the prospect of straightening out an unruly kid.

But don't be fooled. Boot camp is about one thing: learning to kill. And the first thing you learn to kill is your own identity. After that first kill, it's easy.

Christopher Spuches
Miami Beach


It's all black and white: I have a 22-year-old son who joined the Marines right out of high school. He was always a good son, an honor roll student, and on the dean's list. He was into various sports: football, wrestling, basketball, and weight training. He received a topnotch education at a private school, wore the best clothes, and enjoyed a good family life — church three times a week too.

But after serving in the Marines, going to war in Iraq and other countries, and seeing friends and others killed, he has come home as someone else.

Though he is bi-racial, he returned from Iraq thinking he is only a "black man" living the "thug life" — gold teeth, twenty-inch rims, baggy pants. He has been arrested, isn't paying his bills, and doesn't have a job. Basically he is a homeless 22-year-old who cares about nothing.

My son went into the Marines at age eighteen and returned with none of the good qualities he left with. What did they do to him? They took his "young man" life from him. He should have had fun going to college and enjoying life.

He now claims all of these bad things are happening to him because he is "a black man in a white city."

Why do the Marines or any of the military accept "children," especially while the nation is at war? They send these inexperienced boys out to another land, show them death, and then let them go off into the world — just as they did with Vietnam vets.

Diane Bernabe
Miami


Key Complaint

This ain't New Yawk: I'm the owner of Ad Gustum Deli Market Grill, and I want to respond to Pamela Robin Brandt's review, "Hurl of Sandwich" (January 12). If you want to have New York sandwiches, then go there. Ad Gustum never claimed to be a New York Deli, just a deli.

I recently returned from Manhattan. I must have walked eight to nine miles over four days, and I never found a good empanada, nor a good parillada, nor a good chivito, nor choripan at a modest price.

When we do sandwiches that are not local, we do the best we can with the ingredients available. And to be honest, I would much rather have many of our sandwiches (chivito, milanesa, choripan, empanada, burgers) than the best Reuben in New York or the best Philly cheese steak in Philadelphia. Just a matter of preference.

And the way we do our sandwiches must be quite good — because we have been voted the best sandwich on Key Biscayne two years in a row. We can always improve; I understand that. But nitpicking a particular product on a particular day is unfair when the core offering is unrelated to your picks.

I just wonder what New Times's motivation is. The review must have been made many months ago. We have not offered shrimp salad for a long time.

Your newspaper's views on a very partial selection of our menu is totally unfair to all of those who work very hard to serve Key Biscayne and its visitors on a daily basis.

Mark Godward
Key Biscayne


Double Discrimination

She gets it: The headline of Francisco Alvarado's January 12 article "Glass Shield" grabbed my attention in an instant.

I was captivated. It sounded as if it were taken from a Hollywood story line and made into a disturbing reality. That was my first, most solid impression.

I related to it on several levels. It's tough being a woman, even tougher being a woman when you are considered by society to be a minority. Everyone who is not "white" or "American" is considered a certain class by some people.

By the way, I love your Website and everything in it — never dull, always eccentric.

Patricia D. Ruiz
Miami


Corruption Central

Or should we say south: Regarding the letter by Maria D. Varela, "Managua, Querida" (January 12): So she and Francisco Alvarado think Nicaragua is such a great place to live, do they? I'm sure it is when you go there with American dollars in your pockets.

What about those poor families Mr. Alvarado witnessed hustling in the streets? Will they ever be able to enjoy the all-you-can-eat-and-drink buffets? Hardly. I am sure they would gladly trade places in a heartbeat with anyone here in Miami.

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