Minor infractions

Regarding Bill Jensen’s cover story on Steve Simmons and Sam Manzie [A man among boys, Dec. 9]: Simmons’ last line, “I stayed with him from the beginning to the end,” should be true.

I feel that he should be convicted of criminally negligent homicide, endangering the welfare of a minor and sexual misconduct with a minor. Steve Simmons’ life should be kept behind bars at least as long as Sam Manzie’s, in an environment that frowns on his behavior as he frowns on society. And hopefully justice will be done to Simmons as it was done to Eddie Werner.

T. Holmes
via e-mail

Team spirit

I took exception to the tone of the article “Grateful for the Dead,” by Ambrose Clancy [Dec. 2]. I have been a Spiritualist for many years and I am personally acquainted with some of the persons mentioned in this piece and I do not appreciate their two-dimensional depiction by the writer. The author portrayed these people and their activities in a derisive and disrespectful manner. It seemed to me that Mr. Clancy was more intent in exercising his imagination to create a mocking style than simply to report some of the facts about Spiritualism. Perhaps the writer should try his hand at writing works of fiction instead of reporting.

Vincent Guglielmo

Beyond belief

Although I am not a member of the Ethical Humanist Society headed by Arthur Dobrin in Garden City, I must commend Bill Jensen and the Long Island Voice for this rare positive feature on a humanist group [Above & Beyond, Dec. 2]. It is pretty much the popular wisdom in the U.S. media that nonbelievers do not have a basis for moral behavior and in fact have no morals, making this article on this admirable group all the more remarkable and helpful.

It might be estimated that on Long Island anywhere from five to 10 percent of the population is non-religious and that a good portion of them are humanists, perhaps without knowing it. It does not take much to be a humanist, since no special revelation, ritual or blessing is needed, just a belief that ethics spring from concern for one’s life and the lives of others and a commitment to reason in solving life’s problems. Despite this natural and positive philosophy, no other group is as reviled as nonbelievers, and for many religious fundamentalists, non-theistic humanists are a particular target. Your coverage of the Ethical Humanist Society and, at other times, of my group, Long Island Secular Humanists, is deeply appreciated.

Gerry Dantone
President, Long Island Secular Humanists

Bewitched, bothered and bewildered

I would like to know what sources Kathryn Riviello [Barbarians at the gate, Letters, Dec. 9] is using in her letter regarding Stacy Albin’s Awe in the Family [Exit Zero, Dec. 2]. Where are these “Holocaust-like mass graves”? I haven’t read of any so far. And although Caesar refers to “barbarity” among the Celts, this is tantamount to accepting any invader’s views about a native people who are trying to defend their homeland. I also wonder if, given the general bloodthirsty nature of the Inquisition, the Crusades and the many witch burnings in Europe and America, if she feels we should also throw Christianity out the window? Christianity itself does not come from a pure theological wellspring, although trying to point this out is often fruitless.

I would be interested to see Ms. Riviello “investigate and discern” her own “loose associations” as regards history, other religions and laymen’s psychological assessments of conditions like schizophrenia. For at this time, I can only conclude that she has merely jumped on a witch-bashing bandwagon that would not be tolerated if it were aimed at any other religion.

Kellyanne Donnelly
Denver, Colorado

I am not a schnook!

I would like to let Long Island know that I do not practice racism, although at times I might be as careless as anyone else growing up in ignorance. My comment [Calling us names, Letters, Nov. 25, answered by Sherry Taub in Snide whiplash, Letters, Dec. 9] was to be taken as a dark humor. But in this “politically correct” age, I guess it could hurt some people. My own family consists of members who are both Jewish and Hispanic. I wouldn’t want to hurt them or anyone else. I am against people who like to dress up in white pointy hats and burn crosses in the night. I never painted that dreaded 1940s symbol on my notebooks nor did I ever stand up and cheer at the end of Schindler’s List.

I just hate when people make false accusations against me. To those I have offended, I would like you to hear what I stand for in truth. Go to and ask for a free CD; I offer a gift of peace, Sherry.

Joey Salvia
via e-mail

Sorry, but our “staff hack” position is already filled

Okay, okay, I think I’m getting it now. Somewhere there’s another, more content-filled issue of the Long Island Voice, it’s just that no one knows where the hell it is! Do you folks even have a copy? Can I get a copy? What the hell was that recent issue supposed to be? [Above and Beyond, Dec. 2] Have any of the writers heard of the word “research” or is it that the editors having not yet researched their yearly edited-word quota acted like ticket-hungry traffic cops and did it all at the end of the month?

Kudos to Stacy Albin. Her gift for misrepresentation and shallow reporting knows no bounds [Awe in the Family, Exit Zero, Dec. 2]. I’ve seen her at work. I was one of the students in the standup-comedy class she recently ridiculed [Class Clowns, Nov. 4]. And here she is in one of the most uniquely populated areas in the Free World and the only “witches” she can find are those afraid to admit their beliefs to even family members, having learned their craft from reading some books!

I, having lived and worked with women and men who are traveled the world to study the ancient and current practices of witches, shamans and mystics, can attest that the women in this content-empty article are as clueless about what they are “practicing” as are most followers of these so-called traditional spiritual practices. There’s more to it then reading a few books and declaring oneself a witch, much less a teacher. The fact that I’ve read the complete works of Shakespeare, more than once, makes me neither a scholar nor teacher.

Basically, these are just bored, underemployed people latching on to radical eyebrow-raising behavior in order to support their feelings of being different. It gives them a “look-at-me” image, filling in the gaps their jobs or otherwise empty lives leave barren. They’re textbook examples of the people who end up dead in places like Jonestown and Waco. But in reality, who really cares? What I care about is the fact that Ms. Albin and this publication call this journalism. It’s just pathetic. It’s not even humorous. I imagine Ms. Albin, who despite her own inadequacies, which I guarantee includes a poor body image, is quite simply one of those people who enjoys making fun of people. Why not? It’s just so much easier to poke fun at people like these women, then attempt to perform any real research into a very interesting topic.

Reading this publication is like touching one’s tongue to a nine-volt battery. You know it’s gonna make you feel funky, but you do it anyway. It boggles my mind that you can’t find more talented writers. For goddess’ sake, give me a column. I’ll do it for almost-free.

Thomas Evans