Jarvis Deserved Better
Tristram Korten's "Death of a Warrior" (February 11) was a heartfelt story. What is even more depressing is that these tragic incidents take place every day, predominately affecting the children of the black community.
One can clearly see a vicious cycle, but no one is there to help stop it. A lack of counseling, medical intervention, and education will keep the cycle going like the plague. It's quite obvious that Jarvis Hilbert's family could have benefited from family therapy and medication to cope with the series of mishaps. How can people like this, struggling to make ends meet, have a positive outlook on life?
My heart goes out to our future black teenagers who resort to selling drugs and risking their well-being. I truly wish there was a way to help them realize their potential. They deserve a safe and promising future. It's time these children realize they can achieve a rewarding life. They are entitled to it. May God bless them.
It's All About Making a Buck
As the case of Jarvis Hilbert shows us ("Death of a Warrior"), incarceration is no more a deterrent to drug-running than the death penalty is to capital crimes. (In Hilbert's case it may have even encouraged it.) Incarceration merely displaces drug-running.
Replacing drug-running, on the other hand, entails the substitution of a more lucrative trade. Real reform requires that one look at drug-running not just from the criminal aspect, but from a realistic economic perspective as well. The fact that self-sufficiency is the trademark of our materialistic society doesn't make things any easier.
The American Revolution was as much about money (thanks to the Boston merchant class) as it was about the French Enlightenment. An appeal to altruistic ideals and self-esteem will only go so far when one's survival is at stake. Jarvis Hilbert's death should not only serve as a lesson to young kids who are toying with the idea of dealing drugs, but to greedy capitalists and ostentatious politicians, too. They must stop pointing the didactic finger at our youth. If this society is to survive, law must be more than just a method of containment. Ultimately it must bring autonomy, beneficence, and protection to those who rest under or flee from its formidable umbrella.
If the effective curtailment of the drug trade is to become a reality, we must work twice as hard at helping the criminal become self-sufficient (in the legal sense) as we do at incarcerating him. But this is going to take a miracle, inasmuch as most of our major institutions are engrossed in the same kind of activity that Jarvis Hilbert was engrossed in when he got killed -- that is, surviving and making money no matter what the cost.
The Writer with Strength in Her Words
Congratulations to Kathy Glasgow for her well-written article "The Man with God in His Mouth" (February 4). She is a great writer. Her descriptions of Eugenio Sensio, self-styled high priest and wizard, were truly amazing in every detail.
I lived in the Dominican Republic for almost eighteen years and visited Haiti three times, witnessing different vodou rites. All I can say is they are scary, primitive, bloody, and at times, highly sexual. Occasionally they go beyond the rational.
I respect religions no matter where they come from and no matter what their followers do to practice them. But where is the evidence of Sensio's power? What can he do? One thing I do know is that his practices are quite far from Cuba's Yoruba legacy, no matter what similarities might be found.
What can one believe? I leave that to the readers. My main purpose as an avid reader of New Times is to give credit to Kathy Glasgow for this strong article. She is wonderful!
Joette's Lonely Journey
I am writing regarding Joette Lorion's departure from Friends of the Everglades and Jacob Bernstein's article "Resignation Indignation" (December 31, 1998). At the November 12 meeting of the South Florida Water Management District governing board, when Joette Lorion resigned in tears from the environmental movement, she put every so-called environmentalist in the room to shame. It took a lot of courage to do what she did.
Her insistence that decisions concerning the attempt to restore more natural water flow to Everglades National Park be made on facts and not on emotional rhetoric has cost her the respect of people she worked with for twenty years. Not many people have the fortitude and strength of character to do what she did. I'm proud to know her.
And when their beliefs are questioned by someone who has been a respected member of their community for so many years, what do they do? Do they re-examine the foundations on which their beliefs are based? Not on your life! The environmental community is vilifying her! This says a lot about the character of the people who call themselves environmentalists.
These people seem to have made their decisions based in large part on the sloppy, inaccurate crap that passes for journalism in the Miami Herald. For twenty years this paper has been printing rhetoric-laden garbage about the 81-2 Square Mile Area and calling it news.
Both the Herald and the so-called environmentalists should read up on the McCarthy era. It won't be long before they are being compared to the committees that spawned that bleak period in our nation's history.
81-2 Square Mile Area
Collision Course at Krome
Jacob Bernstein's article on the Krome detention center ("Cleaning Up Krome," December 24, 1998) was very informative but lacked certain facts. Many of us who work at Krome try to do the best job we possibly can. But I have never worked in an environment with such disorganization, such a lack of intelligence by supervisors, such a lack of communication among the ranks, such a lack of security, and such favoritism. The worst, though, is when supervisors do not back up their officers.
All these things add up to what is plaguing operations at Krome. Many people have the misconception that Krome is full of poor refugees waiting to be deported. There are many such illegal aliens waiting to be deported, but their numbers do not come close to the aggravated felons (murderers, rapists, child molesters, drug dealers, et cetera) we hold at Krome. These people have just come out of prison and cannot be classified as poor aliens waiting to be deported.
These criminals yell at you, disobey orders, verbally abuse the officers, fight, and escape. As officers we have to work with them, but treat them like poor deportable aliens. If you do have a problem, don't worry, you can call on a supervisor and he will pat them on the back, give them a smile, and all will be fine.
We have many new managers and supervisors who I hope can change the old guard at this facility. I have a suggestion for them: Get rid of all the reject supervisors detailed here from other facilities. These people come in and want to change everything, mess it up, then leave us with their mistakes.
I would also say: Do not treat your new officers the way you treat officers who are in the midst of disciplinary action. This only adds to the stress and makes the new officer give up and want to find another job.
I hope this new year will be better for Krome and the low morale of its overworked, undertrained, stressed-out employees.
Name Withheld by Request
Chewing on Natacha
I take umbrage at letter-writer Errol Portman's thinly veiled attempt to defame my character. Commenting on the prospect of a county-operated strip club, Mr. Portman wrote, "But who could say no to a five-dollar lap dance from Natacha Millan?"
Yes, I had been drinking. And yes, there was a "dental encounter," but I certainly did not draw blood, nor did I leave any lasting marks.
In the future I hope New Times will make a better effort to corroborate the credibility of those scandal-mongering letter-writers who populate your pages. This unfortunate incident would most certainly have been avoided altogether if Miriam Alonso had not been concurrently engaged in the Champagne Room.
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