Todd Anthony's bold report of dung sniffing as the next psychopharmacological craze ("Cow Pie High," September 30) is raw, in-your-face journalism at its best. The fearless efforts of field reporter Anthony, photographer Steve Hlavac, and intrepid dungmeister John Detrick remind us all what Dorothy learned in Oz: the best things in life can be found in our own back yards (or at least in the Metro-Dade Police Department's). Such down-to-earth truths would be lost were it not for the uncowed, pioneering spirit of these men, trailblazers of alternative science, fearless squatters in the outermost fields of research.

Ellen Feehan
Coral Gables

First it was glue sniffing, next mushrooms, then banana peels cooked in the oven. Now "Cow Pie High." It does appear that the list is endless.

One wonders if these individuals are actually sniffing/inhaling or just fantasy prone. Are they trying to back out on society? Are they afraid of facing life from the frontal point of view? Perhaps they are not aware of aromatic bitters, which do a lot for a cocktail; is that what is next?

High road -- bull or not -- I never cease to be amazed at the lengths people will go to to feel free of the tensions life unloads on them. And I also wonder sometimes after reading such articles if Samson was the only one to use the jawbone of an ass in seeking a favorable end result.

Ronald C. Rickey
Miami Beach

Tom Austin quotes a Beach resident who said "most people here want to pull up the bridges to the mainland anyway" ("Swelter," September 30), to which my answer is: "Very well, in my case consider it as good as done."

I went through the same "outcasting" in 1969 from the elderly retirees, when we would walk from the bus stop to the ocean in broad daylight and they would stare at us from the hotel decks until I felt like a thief.

I would be stupid to go out and party there when that's the way it goes. I'm simply geographically undesirable, again.

Charles van Tuggle

Regarding Steven Almond's "Jails R Us" (September 16): Apparently Janet Reno doesn't have any kids, because anyone who has kids would not want their children hauled off to be tried and sentenced as adults.

By definition, children are irresponsible, inexperienced, and immature little people still in the process of physical and mental development. They are easily influenced to wrongdoing by their emotions, television, movies, misguided adults, even other children. Sure, they commit "adult" crimes. Give a gun to any child who has not yet learned self-restraint, and if given proper provocation he'll commit a crime. But it's doubtful that he would understand the consequences of his illegal actions in the same way as an adult.

It is sad to read that people entrusted with representing justice in our society would direct the system to condemn rather than rehabilitate our children. It's enough that some of our parents have given up on rearing our children, thus contributing to the rise in juvenile delinquency, but it now appears that the system is giving up, too.

As Stephen Harper (chief of the Public Defender's juvenile division) said, many of our children are salvageable. What we need are more adults like Harper, who still have faith and belief in the ability of a society to not give up on its children.

I hope Janet Reno reads this letter and redirects her thinking, for even she had to have been a kid at some time. I know she must see a lot of the dark side of man, but it's no reason to give up on our children by jailing childhood -- instead seek to rehabilitate it.

Terry Muhammad

In these times of economic depression, hurricane havoc, and general malaise, we as a people do not need to be reminded of the ignorant attitudes of those who choose to use their positions of public recordmaking to further divide humankind. Regarding Greg Baker's mention of needing to ask a "nigga" to translate what Ice Cube is saying, in his guide to Lollapalooza '92 ("If Ya Snooza, Ya 'Looza," August 19):

What, man! Is he mad? If that is a word people still use in private, unfortunately there's nothing the public at large can do about it. If it is a term that black people use to describe themselves in jest -- that is their business. But how dare he, a supposed journalist, think he is so "cute" or above public reproach to make a statement like that?

Rest assured that Baker's name has been firmly planted in the minds of South Floridians as a racist -- and he shall feel the effects of that categorization. He should take himself out of journalism. The world cannot bear those of his ilk any longer. Here we are blown apart physically and he attempts to widen the schism further. Stupid move.

Sydney A. Francis


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