Letter of The Week
Mandatory Breeding

Re James Ridgeway's article "South Dakota's Genius Scheme to Outlaw Abortion" [Mondo Washington, villagevoice.com, February 24]: I am a rape survivor who resides in South Dakota. I am 26 and am thankful that this ban was not in place five years ago. I would not have been able to go to college, meet my husband, or have the opportunity to make my own choices on family. This is what the state wants for women in my situation. The South Dakota Department of Health reports that one in 10 women is raped in this state every year. Most rapists go uncharged due to insufficient evidence. I have testified in front of my legislators only to be disrespected in the media and torn apart by men and women in this state who believe that life begins at conception. Women in South Dakota are officially back to being seen as walking reproductive organs and no longer as wives, daughters, or mothers.

Heather Ziegenbein
Spearfish, South Dakota

Closet check

Reading all of the sanctimonious letters ["Readers Respond to Sylvester's Fabrication," Letters, March 8–14] calling for Nick Sylvester's firing was irritating. What a self-congratulating dog pile. I hope Doug Simmons and the Village Voice management aren't influenced by these smackheads or so cowardly as to make an example out of this kid. Jayson Blair, my ass. Whoever killed the fact-checking step at the Voice should fall on their sword, and I doubt they're 24 years old. It's funny that you don't hear much chatter from magazine and newspaper staffers regarding this. Most have regularly seen copy concocted or exaggerated, often to suit the demands of an editor looking for a specific story. Bad journalism? Sure, if the culprits were actually journalists. That word is thrown around way too liberally. Many magazine and newspaper staffers really have no specific journalism training, other than maybe a few college courses. They get jobs in their early twenties and follow the direction of their top editors and the practices at their pubs, which vary wildly. There are no formal licensing standards for journalists here, as in some countries. You can call yourself one (or be held accountable as one) even if you have no clue about, say, the actual codified difference between a paraphrase and a direct quote. Anybody in media or on the Voice staff who wants Sylvester fired—after getting the nastiest public ass-whipping of his young life—better have a damn clean closet. If this is his only big screwup, give him the chance to make good.

Ron Geraci

Aim, fire

I am really disappointed in the Voice's decision to suspend Nick Sylvester instead of firing him. Children are adorable when they tell lies, not adults who are "journalists" putting out information to the public. Truthfully, I don't really care about Sylvester's article. Everyone knows that straight white males are fucked questing for pussy. What sickened me was that the article was a cover story. Why was this news? Surely, the Voice could have run it in the People section of its website, along with Savage Love and Pucker Up. Furthermore, I wonder how adorable Sylvester would be if his name were Greg Tate.

Cacy Forgenie

Old-school excelencia

I loved Pablo Guzman's article "Ray Barretto, 1929–2006" [March 1–7]. It revealed that there is a true love for real salsa, not this monga crap on the radio. My friend and I started La Excelencia (a New York–based salsa dura/salsa gorda band) because we are tired of this crappy salsa from today. Barretto knew what it was all about; he captured the Afro essence of our music. His lyrics spoke about situations that mattered and brought awareness. We hope only to honor those like Barretto with our music, which follows in the same footsteps.

José Vazquez

Colonial ties that blind

Re Jarrett Murphy's "Libertad? Maybe" [March 1–7]: The February 10 FBI raids should not be used to lead Puerto Rico to the slaughterhouse of independence. The reality of the matter is that Puerto Rico's culture and infrastructure are intertwined with the United States'. Puerto Ricans have died fighting for freedom and liberty in U.S. wars. How will the American citizenship that Puerto Ricans currently enjoy be resolved in an independent Puerto Rico? How will Puerto Rico replace the $14 billion that the U.S. contributes to the Puerto Rico treasury? Independence is an ideal but is not as simple as some advocates make it seem.

Hiram Andrades
Centreville, Virginia

Funky crime stats

Thanks to Jarrett Murphy for exposing the truth about crime statistics in New York City ["Wanted: NYC Crime Numbers," Power Plays, villagevoice.com, March 6]. Nobody will touch this issue because it would do one of two unpopular things: show that Giuliani did not reduce crime in the outer boroughs, or indicate that the increase in the city's Black and Hispanic population could somehow be correlated with an increase in crime, something that has consistently happened in all cities. When Manhattan media types talk about the city, they should be talking about all five boroughs, as they elected Giuliani and Bloomberg.

Andrew Smith

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