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Going Postal February 13 2002

Go forth and multiply (In response to News, "Ben Hill bedevils community," Jan. 30): Many people pride themselves in being able to say "I stood up and said no!" But what are they saying no to? Is their saying no making them look ignorant because they are depriving their neighborhood of growth and new opportunities? Are they saying no to the kids who are looking forward to better facilities in the community?
Yes, I am a member and supporter of Ben Hill United Methodist Church. The neighborhood surrounding our church is afraid and they are basing their fear on things they may have heard from other communities. They want to complain about traffic now not realizing that when Ben Hill builds the new facility, there will be adequate parking and traffic will not be an issue. Metaphorically speaking, Ben Hill is squeezing 10 people into a room made for five. With the new facility it will be the same 10 people in a room made to accommodate them. I'm not saying membership will not increase because in all living things, growth is inevitable.

Why are we so afraid of growth?

-- Eboni N. White, Atlanta

Hypocritical review
Your review of Bob Dylan's Love and Theft got my hackles up (Vibes, "Idiot wind," Feb. 6). While Love and Theft may not be Dylan's most important work, I found your flippant dismissal of it too cynical. Of course, the fact that I enjoy the album does not mean you have to like it. But your critique buys into the same standards as the reviewers you so vehemently attack. It's foolish to compare Love and Theft to Blood on the Tracks, as the reviewer does. But it's just as wrong to compare it to the earth-shattering iconoclasm of the mid-'60s Dylan.

Why can't we let Dylan make the music he wants to without all this humdrum (which, despite your "St. Bob" comment, I seriously doubt he buys into)? If you're going to go to the trouble of reviewing an album, review the album itself, not what other people are saying about it, and not other albums.

Whatever personal grudge you have against Dylan or these silly reviewers, keep it to yourself and stick to the music, if you're even listening to it.

-- Chris Sharp, Atlanta

No redheaded stepchildren here
I attended the first decade of Dragon*Cons and enjoyed the early years. Eventually the event got too big to be any real fun, but ... there wasn't another outlet for my geekdom. So I've followed the Kramer out of morbid curiosity for years, waiting for it to blow up in his face. Now that it's finally happened, I'm not surprised there are fans out there defending him — they want to keep the image of fandom as a barely-law-abiding group of outsiders, and to keep the largest geek-focused party in the world moving.

But when David Robinson says, "I've seen him help people who he didn't need to help, who are now among those ready to string him up because of his physical appearance," you'd think he wasn't one of the founders of one of the few events on Earth whose constituents absolutely do not discriminate based on appearance. Ed Kramer is not being prosecuted based on his looks — I doubt any Dragon*Con fans care about how he looks. He's being prosecuted based on his alleged criminal behavior.

And until NAMBLA has the lobbying budget of Enron, molesting underage boys will continue to be illegal.

-- Frederick Noble, Atlanta

Innocent until proven guilty
I just read with great interest the article written by Scott Henry about Ed Kramer ("The wizard of Dragon*Con stands trial," Jan. 30). I found it to be one of the most balanced and comprehensive articles written about the situation, presenting both sides of the story without lending undue credence to either.

I was a director with Dragon*Con 1991-1997, overseeing special events for several years and then taking over as their media liaison, and have known Ed socially since 1988.

When I first heard of the arrest, I was simply stunned. I had heard the rumors, but had always shrugged them off as bad humor and outright jealousy from people who disliked Ed for various reasons. I had seen him with children on many occasions, and like Harlan Ellison said, had never seen any inappropriate behavior or body language.

On the same token, being in the news media as I have been for the past 16 years, I have learned that often things are not as they appear. So, while I personally have extreme doubts as to Ed's guilt in the matter, I have tried to keep an open mind.

I have told many of the people in the fandom community that the best thing to do is to wait until a trial is held. Up until evidence is presented by the prosecution, and the defense is allowed to respond, no one can truly know what is what.

-- Kelly Lockhart, Chattanooga, Tenn.

Drivers' ed
(In response to Flipside, "Should the state issue driver's licenses to illegal aliens," Jan. 30): As we all know, the events of Sept. 11 have brought to the forefront discussions on the need to implement new national security policies and immigration law reforms in the United States. We believe that by changing the state law to allow undocumented immigrant residents to obtain Georgia driver's licenses, Georgia will comply with and exceed federal recommendations. Undocumented immigrants can provide proof of residence and occupation because they have jobs and many are homeowners.

Also thousands of Latinos live and work here every day, and this country has become their permanent residence. Nevertheless many members of the Latino community face, on a daily basis, the decision to drive without a license and without automobile insurance in order to get to work, running the risk of being detained or incarcerated. With this document or without it, Latinos are driving anyway. Don't you think it's better to have well-trained drivers? This will assure safe transit on our highways.

-- Adelina C Nicholls, Kennesaw??



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