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Letters to the Editor - Peace, man June 17 2004

I am an activist quite frustrated by the circumstances surrounding the G-8 Summit. Those of us who had heard of G-8 before the beginnings of plans for it hit the coast of Georgia oppose what the summit stands for and how it operates for numerous reasons. Contrary to the image of us presented in mainstream media, we are not a bunch of ignorant slackers looking for an excuse to exert violence on coastal Georgia ("Obedience school," June 3).

We not only know what G-8 is, but we know how the people of the world are affected by the discussions held at the meetings. We have valid concerns and a desire to express them, which has been met with ridiculous amounts of fear and hostility.

I have tired of news reports on "violent protesters" highlighting what the dear, sweet, innocent security forces have planned to maintain peace and tranquility. I like peace and tranquility as much as the next person and would go so far as to wager that most of those protesting G-8 are so supportive of peace that finding one who has NOT attended a demonstration to end the current war would be nearly impossible.

We oppose the G-8 and deserve to be able to demonstrate our opposition. This meeting of leaders must be held accountable for their actions. Likewise, those who provide security for the event must also be held accountable. Instead of speaking about "violent protesters," let us look at the other party: the security forces. Protesters come armed with Nalgene bottles, bullhorns and poster board, while those in charge of security bring guns, tear gas, shields, bobby sticks and rubber bullets. One side seems a little focused on getting a message heard, while the other appears to be ready for a fight. I speak for myself when I say, "I'm not trying to throw my plastic water bottle at you; I'm thirsty and keeping hydrated. I'm not going to throw my bullhorn at you because in my life, bullhorn = big-ticket item. And finally, if my poster board and the threat of a paper cut proves too much, well, then, we are really screwed when it comes to national security." I imagine that sentiment is shared by many.

So when newscasters flash an image of a confrontation between security forces and a protester, I hope people will see it for what it is instead of accepting the title of "violent protester."

-- Leigh Craigmyle, Atlanta

Editor's note: See our coverage of the G-8 Summit on p. 24, 25 and 27.


br>?Proven wrong
I just want to thank you for your coverage of the recent Libertarian National Convention (News & Views, "Spoiling for Bush," June 3). I like the humorous tone of the article and appreciate your inclusion of some of my remarks. The only correction I would make is to state that Michael Badnarik is actually the "no-compromise" nominee. Gary Nolan and Aaron Russo were indeed better funded and much more outspoken, but Badnarik's stances are truly "hardcore," based on solid libertarian principle, and are more in agreement with the Libertarian Party's platform and statement of principles than those of either Nolan or Russo. If "traditional" Libertarians like myself supported either Nolan or Russo, it was only because we thought Michael had no chance of gaining the nomination. I am very pleasantly surprised to have been proven wrong on that point.

-- Dave Dellinger, Roswell

press secretary, Libertarian Party of Georgia


br>?Hands off
The anti-sex league that is going around is strictly a diversionary tactic (Headcase, "The new American way?" May 13). Between the war and the porno front, people are confused. And since they are confused, they will turn to the item making the most noise.

Personally, I don't like porn. I don't view it, and I wish that CL had a better way of accommodating the adult entertainment advertisers. But different people prefer different things. I don't want some dingbat in D.C. making the decision for me.

-- Christopher H. Mitchell, Chamblee


br>?Remembering Reagan
Today I not only remember the 60-year anniversary of D-Day, but I am saddened by the passing of former President Ronald Reagan.

While serving in the U.S. Navy, I was blessed to be stationed at the National Naval Medical and Dental Command in Bethesda, Md., during the early to mid-1980s. During my tour of duty at Bethesda, I had the privilege of watching President Reagan's helicopter land in front of the Bethesda Naval Command where he arrived for his medical and dental check-ups. I remember the thrill and excitement when President Reagan visited Bethesda. The exhilarating rush I felt during those years at Bethesda is something I have not experienced since.

Reagan truly transformed my way of thinking where I felt a sense of excitement, a sense of hope, promise and patriotism for my country that I had never felt before. Reagan was to me a man of conviction; a man who meant what he said; a man who stood his ground; he was a man who believed in America and how precious our freedom really is.

The 1980s were, in my opinion, the beginning stages of what we know today as terrorism: the 1983 bombing of our Marines in Beirut; the bombings of American passenger planes; and the American hostage crisis (which former President Carter was faced with) were all signs that terrorism was rearing its ugly head. Yet Reagan remained, in my mind, a very strong and determined man who stood for keeping freedom alive around the world.

My days while stationed at Bethesda National Command were a turning point in my life and I owe so much of that to President Reagan. Before my military days, I took my freedom for granted. My sense of patriotism was hidden somewhere in the background and something I never really thought about — until I joined the U.S. Navy.

Today I looked through old photos of President Reagan as he emerged from the helicopter on the White House lawn and how in complete awe I was able to be so close to him and to feel so very proud to be an American. The sense of hope, excitement and American patriotism I felt during the Reagan years was the same excitement my parents told me they had during President Kennedy's time in office.

America has lost a great leader who inspired and transformed so many. A man who inspired me to be the best person I can be; to be a proud American where I have strong convictions and a strong will to keep freedom alive; to stand up to evil and not back down; to say what you mean and mean what you say. President Reagan transformed me at the young age of 21 and I am so grateful I had the chance to serve on active duty during his presidency.

-- Joanne Consalvo-Mulvaney, Stockbridge

U.S. Navy veteran