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Reader feedback 7.10.02 

What if?

In response to Jack Bradigan Spula's "Just a Child: Learning the Facts of Death" (June 19):

            What if Craig Heard was "a wonderful little, smiling little (white) person"?

            What if officers Serge Savitcheff, Hector Padgham, and Mike Tymoch were people of color?

            What if we had a police force that was proportional to the population it is "protecting and serving" (2000 census: African Americans 39 percent, Latinos 13 percent) and not the 72 percent whites that it now has?

            What if we had a citizen review committee?

            What if we had a press that would not repeat [regarding a previous incident]: "[Edward] Jones had a long record of driving convictions and seizures --- and because he was judged guilty of depraved indifference --- he drew a long prison term," but would report, "Mr. Jones is black and would not take a plea. Officer McLaughlin is white and recovered from his injuries. Mr. Jones' family, friends, church, and Rev. Graves vouched and pleaded for mercy for Mr. Jones before sentencing and for him to be sentenced for time served, he had already served 1 year-plus in jail without bail. Mr. Jones was sentenced to 18 years. All Officer McLaughlin has to do is forgive Mr. Jones, and Mr. Jones would be a free man.

            What if we people of color had a forum to express ourselves?

            What if we as a community, people of and not of color, consider each other as citizens and not let politicians, press, or police divide us by dehumanizing some of us?

            What if we (Rochesterians) as a republic reconsider all of the aforementioned what if's, except changing Craig Heard's color or the fact that he was a child?

            Carl Smith, Hayward Avenue, Rochester

            Jack Bradigan Spula responds: An RPD source says Officer McLaughlin --- who was nearly killed by Jones' car --- is on medical leave and is still unable to return to work. And just to clarify: When I wrote about the Jones case early last year, I argued that the system had treated Jones much too harshly. I agreed with some justice advocates that Jones, who had been turning his life around, should have been charged (if at all) with criminal negligence, not assault. A conviction on the former charge could have meant a much shorter prison term.



More on Popick

Jon Popick is a trenchant commentator, a gonzo movie reviewer with a broad knowledge of movies and American pop-culture, a sardonic intellectual of the sort beloved by so many of us educated liberals.

            He is also a misogynist on a par with certain local rock radio personalities. I have been offended by his dismissal of women in his reviews ever since he came on board, but after reading mail responding to his review of Ya Ya Sisterhood (The Mail, June 19, June 26), I can't tell myself it's inconsequential any longer.

            Popick uses the term "chick-flick" to signify any movie pertaining to women's lives, interests, and stories. This idiom, he makes clear at every opportunity, equally connotes poor quality, shallowness, and inadequacy.

            Mass-market, brain-dead, testosterone-soaked Hollywood movies, action flicks, coming-of-age flicks, buddy movies, science-fiction, comedy, etc. do not get thrown into one big barrel under an equivalent moniker, such as dick-flick.

            Popick has little to say about great talents like Judi Dench or Jodie Foster, except to mention their presence as an afterthought, or to focus on gossipy, venomous little tidbits unrelated to the work they do in the film. His studied analysis of Audrey Tatou's acting in Amélie went thusly: she was "adorable." Generally, he seems to prefer to review movies about men's lives, interests, and stories.

            This is the same newspaper that regularly devotes excellent, insightful, respectful articles to ethnic, religious, gay, youth, elder, disabled, environmental, and animal issues. I thought City was an alternative weekly dedicated to exposing hypocrisy, greed, ignorance, and brutality. Apparently, the sexualization and trivialization of women and outright viciousness aimed at us is of a different nature and merits weekly publication.

            Cindy Gilchrist, Hemlock

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