Rick Berg wrote in Isthmus (Letters, 6/12/09) that he did not mean to endorse violence when he advocated "frontier justice" for those with whom he does not agree politically.
I don't believe him. Maybe I watched too many westerns when I was a kid, but I always thought frontier justice was just another synonym for a lynch mob.
The online Urban Dictionary defines "frontier justice" as taking the law into one's own hands regardless of the legal repercussions. And Ken Gonzales-Day's Lynchings in the West: 1850-1935 says the term "has been used to identify a wide range of extra-legal practices...everything from branding to summary execution."
We all need to be careful of the words we use. Otherwise people like Rick Berg risk being identified with the Big Hate that Paul Krugman described in The New York Times June 12 - the same day Berg's non-apology appeared in Isthmus.
Rich Eggleston, Fitchburg
Help with hygiene
It was great to see your article "Help Is on the Way" (6/19/09), and the broad spectrum of needs you addressed. But I'd like to point out one other area of need that's often overlooked: personal and household hygiene.
It isn't hunger abatement, but it's safer to eat if you wash the dishes occasionally. It isn't employment, but it's easier to get a job if you wash your hair and apply some deodorant. It's not housing, but the landlord will be happier if you clean occasionally. It's not education, but kids learn better if they're not being teased about their clothing or smell.
I'm the coordinator of the Personal Essentials Pantry at Zion Church ELCA on the near east side, and we focus on just that area: those nonglamorous but essential products like toilet paper, dish detergent, laundry detergent, etc. We currently serve some 2,000 households in the Madison area, which will gives you an indication of the need.
Check out our website: zionmadison.org/Personal_Essentials_Pantry.html.
Andy Moore: Your column "Goodbye, Mr. Gibson" (6/19/09) brought tears to my eyes. Beautifully written!
Miss Helen Dietrich taught biology at Lincoln High School in Manitowoc. She was my favorite teacher in high school. She challenged her students. She unabashedly shared her passion for nature.
Miss Dietrich had no favorite students; she seemed oblivious to student cliques. There were no "slow learner" labels. Rather, she expected the best from all her students, and she got it!
Miss Dietrich touched my life by instilling a passion for nature and learning in 1965. Amazingly, she had the same effect on my dad when he was her student in 1940.
A deep bow to Miss Dietrich and Mr. Gibson and all their colleagues.
Sharon Wachholz, Middleton
Found letter insulting
For Sashe Mishur to insult taxpaying, law-abiding, longtime residents who have the gall to complain [about unruly youths] is ridiculous ("Letters," 6/19/09). We have every right to expect more from this city. It is our city and county officials who created this welfare magnet.
Sashe Mishur should ride the city buses a few times or spend some time in one of our libraries or parks. Maybe drive or walk through one of these low-income areas late at night. The youths are loud, foul-mouthed and disrespectful, and a huge amount of our police resources are expended on these low-income areas.
The bigger menace
What makes Timothy Garrett believe he does not face exponentially greater danger from people outside of prison than if inmate Brannon Prisk returns to Madison (Letters, 6/19/09)?
For example, millions of early baby boomers have committed serious felonies: drugs, lying, fraud, battery, vandalism, burglary, arson, bombing, murder, causing others to die in their place in Vietnam, etc.
At UW-Madison alone, there are hundreds of faculty from this early baby boomer generation. Who knows how many of them are still displaying the same violence, crime and cowardice, by supporting President Obama, who is fighting wars galore?
And good luck finding the same level of humility and atonement in the Weathermen and other cowards as Mr. Prisk exhibits.