Letters to the Editor

    Editor:

    I must say, I found Ryan Darby’s article on his Tijuana experiences (“”A visit to Tijuana exposes crooked cops,”” May 28) one of the most amusing adventures in pig-headedness I’ve seen in a while.

    A quick review of the story: Outside a nightclub in one of the poorest cities in the continent, Darby loses $20 to a flower girl, cusses out a bouncer, gets punched in the gut and lives to tell the story of police brutality and the violation of his civil rights south of the border. It’s very funny.

    Darby’s talents for humor are remarkable: As he explains how annoyed he is that this girl has stolen $18, he remarks, “”I work hard for my money.”” Clearly any stupid flower girl — who earns her entire livelihood (and possibly that of a family?) in destitute poverty, $2 at a time, selling roses to inebriated American teenagers during the small hours of the night — cannot appreciate the concept of

    “”hard work.”” The life of a Guardian staff writer is, I must concede, a bit more harrowing, especially when police brutality is involved.

    Police brutality! This is hilarious. A country in which an unarmed citizen can be riddled with bullets 42 times by police, a country in which an entire police district can be decimated by scandals of planting evidence, abusing confiscated drugs and brutally beating suspects — and a country in which, while all this goes on around him, a middle-class white male from La Jolla can get hit in the stomach by a nightclub security guard (whom he just called a “”fucker””) and call it police brutality — I say that any country in which all of this can happen is truly, as Darby puts it, “”so great.””

    Let this wordsmith’s jokes be a solemn reminder that those “”civil rights”” that we enjoy and flaunt as young college students are really privileges that the majority of people in this world can’t even comprehend. It is a privilege to insult policemen and get away with it, a privilege to live by Lockian tenets, a privilege to speak up when the state steals from you, and, above all, it is a fantastic luxury to say, “”It wasn’t about the money; it was, and still is, the principle.””

    Principles are the grand commodity of the well-off. Most people in this world can’t afford principles; indeed, even Americans must pay a steep price, since they close their minds and deaden their hearts to the intense poverty of a nation but a short drive south of campus.

    Some say a liberal is just a conservative who hasn’t been mugged, and others say that a Lockeian is just a socialist who was never hungry enough to steal.

    But let not such dismal thoughts haunt us while we drink and party our money away in TJ nightclubs, or pay laughably low prices for Mexican trinkets and flowers, or write funny articles in the school paper about how a Mexican flower girl and a Safari bouncer violated our Lockeian principles.

    — Ted McCombs

    Revelle College sophomore

    Ground religious article in religious understanding

    Editor:

    I would like to comment on Simone Santini’s article, “”Morals should not come from religions alone”” (May 28).

    I love it when atheists explain religion to everybody. They make it so simple that even a scientist could understand. It is especially entertaining to read an attempt to take down the big “”religion system”” in the hopes of a happier, more logical world. A fair example is given with Santini’s article.

    I read the article. While I found myself consistently needing my dictionary, it was interesting to see cultural evolution as the explanation for all morality in an anthropological tone.

    In other words, basic laws such as murder and incest arose for the survival of the tribe and nation. Because we are just like animals, we adapt to our ecosystem. Whatever works best ends up developing as a moral code, right? This is the explanation I’ve been looking for! Now I can leave my church, take up fornication and whatever works best for me will become my morals, right?

    I apologize, Mr. Senior Staff Writer, but my life is not as shallow as my pockets or this argument.

    Every human being is more important than we could ever imagine. Each of us carries the capability of self-knowledge, of self-possession and of freely giving ourselves to other persons. It is unique that we can question our very existence. It adds up to make us the most important animal on this Earth (sorry, dog lovers).

    Authentic morals should preserve the respect and dignity of the very important human species. How much do you respect your neighbor? Enough not to kill him? Great. Enough not to steal or cheat him? Even better. Enough to forgive him? Wait, you sound like a religious sort.

    The truth is, you don’t have to be religious to share in many of the morals held by world religions. You just have to know your own worth and that of others. From here all authentic morals can be derived (see the last seven commandments as an arbitrary example).

    I admit I believe in God and that religious stuff. But I would prefer that religion stay out of moral debate. If you want to talk morals, let’s talk philosophy. If you want to talk religion, first you need to practice it.

    — Benjamin Parcher

    Research scientist

    Stein Institute for Aging

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