Editorâ€™s note: The normal New Times letters policy requiring full name and city or town is being waived again this week in the interest of publishing as much correspondence as possible in response to â€œMeth Made Easyâ€? (February 2) and last weekâ€™s letters section and editorâ€™s column.
Here you go â€” finally a letter from a person who actually understood your purpose in publishing the article â€œMeth Made Easy.â€?
Iâ€™m a 17-year-old high school senior and I feel that most people who have decried the article really missed the point. I quickly read through it (all of it) and came away feeling you did a more than adequate job detailing the dangers and consequences of using meth. Despite the fact that this community seems to be very intelligent, it has fallen short in understanding the meaning behind â€œMeth Made Easy.â€? At no point did I feel you were stepping out of bounds.
People donâ€™t seem to realize that the information in the meth recipe is readily available to anyone who has enough motivation. Iâ€™m writing this from school right now, where the administration has put extensive Internet blocks on everything deemed â€œoffensive.â€? But all it takes is for me to type â€œmeth recipeâ€? into Google, hit go, click the first link that shows up (www.totse.com), and bingo! A recipe! Accessed from school! On protected servers, no less. Under a list of hot topics, the Website even says how to find the cleanest red phosphorous. There are even step-by-step guides to making other drugs, and there are naughty stories there, too. (Oh no!)
The fact is that, in our society, this information is easily accessible. Parents and other adults are totally blind. I can honestly say that they need more faith. I look around my classroom right now and I know that every one of these people knows where to get drugs. Any drug. Itâ€™s quite simple these days. The New Times article made this rather strange example of â€œprogressâ€? in society apparent to those ignorant about it. And I felt the use of sarcasm and irony was quite effective in teaching me that meth was a very dangerous thing to deal with. I would never try it. No one with half a brain would use a recipe printed in a newspaper to make an illegal substance.
The Website did have a small disclaimer: â€œNo lies here, folks. This recipe will manufacture methamphetamine. This will get you into trouble if you do this. BE CAREFUL!â€? Considering the fact that the Website had only this as a disclaimer, Iâ€™d go so far as to say thank you to New Times for printing â€œMeth Made Easy,â€? getting it widely distributed, and including all the dangers and consequences before people turned to the Internet for a quick monetary or illicit solution to their woes.
So thank you, New Times! I wish you luck in gaining back the understanding of your faithful readers, who so beautifully missed your point.
Â I am so ashamed that I live in a county where the mainstream media consist of biased bureaucrats whose version of news is neither insightful nor truthful nor thought-provoking. Bravo New Times for making this complacent county think! I thought your article â€œMeth Made Easyâ€? was repulsive, alarming, and interesting. It was surprising that you published such a detailed recipe for the drug, even though the information is widely available online.
Â However, I read the article in its entirety and was, amazingly, not inspired to go whip up a batch. I would expect other readers, including teenagers, would be able to glean from the recipeâ€™s toxic ingredients alone how detrimental this drug is to the environment, the maker, and the user. Aside from some misplaced irony, your article addressed this growing meth epidemic with daring and ardor.
Iâ€™m not sure how many positive responses you received in regards to â€œMeth Made Easy,â€? so I wanted to present you with mine. I found the message clear and I appreciated the candidness of reporter Alice Moss. Meth is a huge problem in this country, more than most people know. And just as with sex, not talking about the issue and treating it as taboo is only making the problem worse. People need to know how easy it is to make meth, people need to know whatâ€™s in it, and people need to know the effects it has on the individual, the family, and society as a whole.
I felt your article presented all this information in a frank and responsible manner, and I applaud you for it. I sincerely hope that your advertising revenue does not permanently suffer for this unjustified public outcry. Good luck.
Kudos to New Times for being a shining beacon for First Amendment freedoms, a rarity in todayâ€™s fascist dictatorship called the USA. Your recent â€œMeth Made Easyâ€? will do more to deter the use of this drug than the all-too-numerous and totally failed War on Drugs programs. Deterring the use of methamphetamine was the clean and obvious intent of the article. There may be a few readers who might be tempted to try the recipe as a result, but there will be hundreds more who will find the mere thought of ingesting this disgusting witchâ€™s brew of cold pills and brake fluid totally reprehensible.
Â Had the many folks who spewed their vituperative tirades even bothered to actually read the piece, we would have been spared their mindless inanities and disgusting profanities. Everyone owes a vote of thanks to writer Alice Moss and editor Jim Mullin, whose brilliant response to the attacks was summed up this way: â€œKnowledge is power.â€? That is something the lengthy list of complainers displayed little of and obviously donâ€™t care to acquire.
Thank you for the â€œMeth Made Easyâ€? sidebar article entitled â€œYour Neighbor the Meth Head.â€? People like the story subject, â€œJohn,â€? can hide their methamphetamine addiction for years. I personally knew someone who used meth for four years, starting in junior high, before we learned she was an addict.
It was a horrifying ordeal, to say the least. She is fortunate to be alive, as some of her old meth connections are not. Too often parents, family, and friends assume they would â€œjust knowâ€? if someone they are close to was using methamphetamine. As â€œNeighborhood Meth Headâ€? pointed out, you cannot always â€œspot a user a mile away.â€? Your kids, parents, co-workers, friends, or neighbors could be using methamphetamine.
People who have never used an illegal drug before will try methamphetamine to lose a little weight, to stay up and get work done, or simply because they think they can try it once and stop. You canâ€™t assume that only certain kinds of people use meth.
Â People who think you canâ€™t go out and buy meth a lot quicker than reading New Times are fooling themselves. Parents who donâ€™t know that their children have already seen the recipe on the Internet, or been shown a copy at school long before â€œMeth Made Easy,â€? need to stop worrying about New Times and start talking to their kids.
Kimberly A. Anderson
San Luis Obispo
Â I think your article was great and that people should be more informed about meth and other drugs. Last year my sister in-law got hooked on meth, and if we would have known more about the drug, it would have helped our family. I just wanted to let you know that there are people who think you are doing a great job.
Â I checked out â€œMeth Made Easyâ€? after seeing some KSBY news teasers. It was well written and made an excellent point: Meth is bad shit! Anyone thinks New Times is an advocate for using meth has a very low IQ.
Â To everyone who wrote outraged letters regarding the meth story: You people are idiots. Just as editor Jim Mullin pointed out, this information is already available to anyone who wants it. The point of that story obviously flew right over your heads, I assume because youâ€™re too damn stupid to get it. Here, let me spell it out for you.
Â Going through the manufacturing process step-by-step lets people know just how awful this drug is by seeing the ingredients. Brakleen is one of the most toxic chemicals you can use while working on a car, yet meth heads are out there gobbling it up like candy. Hopefully, if people know whatâ€™s in the drug, they will think twice about ever trying it.
Â I for one would like to thank Alice Moss for a well-written, informative story that I hope will help the community.
The writers who protested your articles on meth and on the Grover Beach bad cop (â€œCop Out,â€? January 26) might be more comfortable living in a country without freedom of the press and speech. Like, say, any Moslem country.
After reading all the letters condemning everyone involved in your meth story, now I understand why Muslims are burning Denmark! This is America, people, and we have a free press! I thought the article was interesting and well written.
Did anyone else notice that there were numerous references to the damage caused by meth usage and production?
Â Because of my affiliations, I have not always agreed with New Timesâ€™s attacks on law enforcement, but the article on the Grover Beach officer who committed suicide was important. Just because he is not around to defend himself should not mean his deplorable actions should not be reviewed.
San Luis Obispo
Â I just saw editor Jim Mullinâ€™s article explaining his reasons behind the â€œMeth Made Easyâ€? piece (â€œLetters,â€? February 9). I for one would like to say congratulations on running something with thought and determination. People nowadays want to skate through life with their heads wedged firmly in the sand, but having articles like that and â€œMeth Made Easyâ€? forces the ugly things into the open and makes people look at them. This in turn helps make people do something about them.
Â We cannot live in a purportedly free society and then restrict access to information because it is evil or bad. Information is numbers, letters, and words â€” thatâ€™s it. It is how people use information that leads to â€œbadâ€? things or â€œgoodâ€? things.
Â So again I want to say bravo! to you guys for having the guts to print something like that.
Â Iâ€™ve been following the explosive controversy over New Timesâ€™s decision to print instructions on how to make methamphetamine, but Iâ€™m not sure what the fuss is about. With all the outrage, youâ€™d think New Times printed a cartoon of Mohammed snorting crystal meth off the Dome of the Rock.
Â Iâ€™m feeling a might chagrined myself, though. I sat down with that New Times recipe and, after a brief shopping spree to pick up some extra hydrogen peroxide, a few standard lab beakers, a couple rolls of duct tape, and some over-the-counter allergy medicine, I fired up the appliances in my kitchen for the first time in months. A couple hours later â€” a pinch of this, a dash of that, Bunsen burner on high â€” I woke up on the couch to Wheel of Fortune. Too much trouble, I said to myself. From here on out Iâ€™m sticking to Guinness. It comes in a can.
San Luis Obispo
Â The outrage over your meth article is so ridiculous. Anyone who types â€œmake methâ€? into Google will find instructions. Itâ€™s like being afraid to talk about sex ed in schools â€” that people are so dopey theyâ€™ll run right out and have sex because you talked about it. I seriously doubt anyone ran right out and cooked up a bunch of meth.
Â I found the article to be very informative. The part about how to make it was unnecessary but certainly not worth the hissy fit it prompted. Whatâ€™s more important is that parents realize kids are getting it â€” and itâ€™s not just the ones you see smoking and hanging out on the corner. Itâ€™s the honor roll kids, too. Many think itâ€™s no worse than taking a NoDoz.
Â The phrase â€œDonâ€™t shoot the messengerâ€? certainly would apply here. Maybe instead of focusing outrage at an article, they should show that article to their kids and grandkids and discuss how harmful this drug can be.
Â Â I read the meth article, then read the outraged letters. Didnâ€™t anyone get the same message I got from it? It was horrifying to read the ingredients. Who, after reading that, would allow the stuff into their bodies? I didnâ€™t take it as condoning the making or taking of it at all. It was purely a look at what it is â€” a terrible thing that is laying waste to many many people.
Â Thank you.
Â Â Some questions for all those individuals who are mad at New Times for its article on meth: How come you arenâ€™t angry at our state legislature, which has refused to control the availability of the base ingredient (cold tablets with pseudoephedrine) that makes it possible for home labs to make meth. Other states have done much more than California in controlling its availability. Why arenâ€™t you organizing to control such cold tablets instead of venting your anger by stealing papers and advocating an advertiser boycott?
Â It seems you want to attack the messenger rather than deal with the message: Meth is available and dangerous, the Internet provides information that may be socially destructive, and the base ingredient for making meth is largely uncontrolled in California.
San Luis Obispo
Â Â I just have one simple question for all those irate readers who are never going to read New Times again and who are going boycott all the businesses that advertise in the paper: How will you know what businesses to boycott if you donâ€™t read the paper?
Â Â Thank you, Alice Moss, for writing â€œMeth Made Easy.â€? Although I could have done without the recipe, as a result of the article, a lot of discussion on an important subject is now open.
Â As a foster/adopting parent I have seen firsthand over many years what effect meth has had in our community, throughout the U.S., and beyond. We care for babies and children of all ages whose parents are using, and by court order need help with their addiction before they can be reunited with their children. Meth during pregnancy can cause certain disabilities in children. As an adoptive parent, I can tell you some parents lose their children forever because of meth.
Â In the sidebar article â€œNeighborhood Meth Head,â€? John (not his real name) seems to me to have been affected very much by meth. He is asked: â€œHow do you feel about people who have kids and use meth?â€? He doesnâ€™t have a problem with this. What kind of parent would think itâ€™s okay for little Bobby to perhaps share at school that his parents use meth and perhaps Bobby is having academic or social issues because his mother used meth during pregnancy?
Â Nothing good can come out of using meth except that there are families who can and will adopt children when birth parents continue to use. Working with birth parents over the years, I can say I have never met birth parents who didnâ€™t love their child. However, they couldnâ€™t care for the child if using meth.
Â As a parent, I deeply love all my children â€” adoptive, foster, and birth â€” and want more than anything for people to be educated on this subject, for it truly affects all of us.
Â So keep the meaningful stories coming.
San Luis Obispo
Â Â I want to let you know I applaud your article on meth. I feel it was the right decision to print it. San Luis Obispo readers are always too offended. You made a decision to run something I feel was well written and you should be given credit for doing so. The big problem with San Luis Obispo is this: The town as gotten so conservative that you canâ€™t write anything without someone criticizing it. In this country, we are so against censorship, yet look at the hype from Janet Jacksonâ€™s â€œwardrobe malfunctionâ€? at the 2003 Super Bowl. In Europe people run the football fields naked all the time, but here so much offense was taken.
Why are people so pissed? Meth stories are written all the time in London just as New Times did: posting the ingredients. Even in San Francisco there are some papers that would have done the same thing.
Â The problem is that the cost of living in SLO has become so expensive that even entertainment or getting a high is not affordable anymore. Look at downtown SLO: Having a drink now is outrageously expensive, and what is this paying for? Are people supposed to pay the high cost of booze to substitute for a cheaper high? A recent report from the California Real Estate Association said that only eight percent of local residents can afford to buy a house in San Luis Obispo, so that makes almost everybody a renter if they are new to town or havenâ€™t bought a home in the past six years. People just do not have dough to spend like they used to. Times have changed. The United States has become so expensive that this is not the land of the free it once was.
Â New Times informed you of the problem. It got the town talking. So what are you going to do about it now that you have been informed? I give New Times a lot of credit for publishing something that is really happening, because we are never fully informed about what is going on.
Â I believe New Times never had any intention of offending anybody. They were only writing about the extent of the real meth problem â€” which is true.
Â Â I just finished reading your article on meth. I have heard a lot about how bad meth is and how prevalent it is and why, but I really didnâ€™t know what went into it. So I really enjoyed reading â€œMeth Made Easyâ€? and getting all the facts. I donâ€™t know anyone who uses meth but I also think that is because I do not use it, so people know not to tell me about their meth dealings.
Â I am not surprised that the ultra-conservative San Luis Obispo County had a problem with the article. I think the general opinion is that ignorance is bliss. Iâ€™m happy I now know everything about meth without having to use it or make it or meet someone who has. I realize this sounds strange, but basically, thanks for the facts.
Wow. I donâ€™t always fully realize how conservative and narrow-minded this community can be. Anyone who actually read the supposedly scandalous meth cover story would have realized it was intended to dissuade meth use. The ingredients listed were shocking in exactly the way New Times intended them to be. Do most users or potential users know whatâ€™s in that stuff theyâ€™re putting in their bodies when they use this stuff? I doubt that many of them did â€” until now! (Not that it would stop current users, necessarily, but it might make potential users give a second thought to it, and that was the point, right?!)
Â Will people now run to their local stores to accumulate the messy, explosive ingredients to cook up a batch for themselves? Did anyone actually read how dangerous and complicated it is? Yes, easier than, say, making a nuclear weapon, but not as easy as most lazy suckers want it to be (or inferred it was without reading the whole article, which I suspect encompasses a large majority of the complainers).
Â In this outpouring of anger there has been more than a whiff of the right-wing tactic of spreading e-mail rumors about something â€œoffensiveâ€? and giving people just the barest information, enough to whip them into a frenzy but without all the boring facts, then giving them the e-mail address of the person to complain to and providing a â€œsampleâ€? of what the complaint might look like.
That generates a buttload of crap, just like New Times got. I think the paper got bushwhacked. This was not spontaneous. It looks a lot like a concerted effort to undermine a newspaperâ€™s story choices. Ugly.
Â Furthermore, Iâ€™m not impressed with this so-called community response. The reactions donâ€™t hold true for those of us with half a brain, those of us who appreciated New Timesâ€™s journalistic curiosity and daring to print the bald, uncoated, unprettied-up truth â€” which, as stated, can be so easily found elsewhere anyway.
Â Some people just canâ€™t handle the truth. If the community is suffering under the heavy hands of meth abuse (and it is), do people want to know this? Or do people want to hide under their comfortable middle-class rocks and ignore it? Choosing to look away from reality is symptomatic of a highly dysfunctional community. First admit the problems and face the them. Thatâ€™s the only way to deal with them. Meth is a big problem in this community.
Â â€œMeth Made Easyâ€? should win a fucking Pulitzer. Whatâ€™s to apologize for? Apologize for a community so dense its residents canâ€™t wrap their tiny minds around anything painful or complicated?
Â Iâ€™m sorry New Times got slammed. And Iâ€™m sorry the paper felt the need to apologize. I for one got it, so thank you. And thanks to Alice Moss. Good job.
Beverly Bavaro Leaney
Â I would like to offer my congratulations for providing definitive proofÂ that theÂ people of San Luis Obispo still have a pulse! Our elected leaders sold us on a phony war. No reaction! Our elected leaders violated the constitutional separation of powers. No reaction! OurÂ elected leadersÂ began spying on us in our own homes. No reaction! OurÂ elected leaderÂ tells us illegal immigration is necessary for the economy. No reaction! A cop sexually assaults underage girls in our town and receives a heroâ€™s funeral. Wrong reaction: Kill the messenger! But print a story about drugs â€” using a bit too much sarcasm â€” and burn them at the stake!
Â Please allow me to offer a few words of encouragement. I was one of the lucky few who actually got my hands on a copy of New Times as I strode down Higuera Street on Thursday afternoon, an activity I regularly enjoy. Little did I know that the paper would become such a collectorâ€™s item, because by the end of the week it was an Internet exclusive. If I had known, I wouldnâ€™t have discarded my now priceless copy after digesting the stories.
It was particularly interesting to me that members of the â€œlaw and orderâ€? political faction were quick to condemn New Times for the previous weekâ€™s cover story. While I agree that the â€œCop Outâ€? cover photo was in poor taste, the subject matter was fair comment, in my opinion. Little did I know the â€œpowerful wave in the setâ€? was just about to crest!
Â I enjoyed Alice Mossâ€™s writing in â€œMeth Made Easyâ€? and found the subject matter intriguing, since the meth problem has become so pervasive. I too am interested in knowing why someone would risk his financial interests, health, and life in pursuit of a meth high. I have seen things on television that would lead one to believe a meth head is a mindless sex zombie who seeks only his next high and carnal encounter. It has been said to be a major contributing factor to the growth in HIV cases among homosexuals and heterosexuals. These are frightening and interesting realities that are worthy of investigation by the media. Good subject!
Â I believe the content of â€œMeth Made Easyâ€? was not solely responsible for the uproar, but shared culpability with the graphic illustration and the â€œsidebars.â€? As I read the poorly configured heading â€œFun Facts,â€? I couldnâ€™t help but think: Where did that come from? The term â€œfun factsâ€? might be better suited to a discussion of the nutritional value of fast food or the averageÂ chocolate intake of a North American single female, but not the ingestion of a dangerous, addictive, carcinogenic, andÂ illegal drug. Bad choice!
Â On a more serious note, the cardinal rule of allÂ investigative journalism was broken â€” namely, never bury your lead. The long list of good and evil in the sidebar â€œWhat You Can Expect from Your Homemade Methâ€? began with examples that were far too complimentary. â€œJohn,â€? the user featured in the â€œNeighborhood Meth Headâ€? sidebar, made rationalizations about the â€œgood stuffâ€?Â and keeping his use in check so he could â€œmake it to work.â€? And the main story did not explicitly detail the criminal ramifications, the negative impact on personal relationships and society as a whole, nor did it detail the environmental damage caused by meth labs. These should have been at the top of the list in all three instances. To allow the drug user to rationalize without making a more searching inquiry into who he was, where he came from, what his family and friends thought, or the impact on his health and career was really a missed opportunity. So you buried the real story beneath the stuff that was more easily accessedÂ or could be found on the Internet.
Â All that said, Alice Moss is a very talented writer and will no doubt rise up like a phoenix from this these flames to become the next Jack Anderson,Â so she should give herself the chance to soakÂ up this wealth of experience. She must not become gun-shy now. It would appear the editor has her back, and no reporter could ask for anything more. However,Â she must take precautions not toÂ allow others to control the content and graphic presentation of her material. Itâ€™s herÂ career, after all. If sheâ€™s going to be great, she needs to assume ownership of her product! Best wishes on her continued success.
W. Scott Binns III
San Luis Obispo
Â Â Holy moly, what a fury over the meth article! I had to stop reading the reaction letters because they were so overboard. Get a life, Central Coast! New Times, editor Jim Mullin, writer Alice Moss, and her article â€œMeth Made Easyâ€? did the job if they got you to realize how many people are involved and how easy it is to ruin lives with this stuff.
Â Folks are all upset at New Times, but not at themselves and the culture that allows meth to keep the dys in their dysfunctional relationships and families.
Â Hang in there, New Times. You are making a difference.
Â Â You know what I love about New Times? Iâ€™ll tell you. I love the fact that you give people what they want: the truth! You report news uncensored and without sugar coating. People are always crying about how the media never tell the truth, or they spin it to make it appear a certain way. You guys donâ€™t. You tell it like it is â€” truthful and raw. Unfortunately most of the population isnâ€™t accustomed to getting what they ask for, and when they do...oh no! The shit hits the fan! Everyone has to hide their true opinions and real thoughts, and then bitch about it!
Â New Times, stay the way you are! Tell it like it is! The truth always hurts, but itâ€™s what we really want! I will forever be a supporter of the truth.
Â I applaud both New Times and Stacey Wardeâ€™s monthly Rogue Voice for talking against intolerance and in favor of the First Amendment. Stacks of both papers have been stolen and destroyed recently by self-appointed censors. Tolerance and freedom of expression seem threatened by fear in this winter of 2006 as I have never seen.
Â I find the theft and destruction of these papers appalling. I also find the parade of self-righteous guardians of public morality sounding off in last weekâ€™s extended letters section of New Times significantly more disturbing than anything in that meth article. The gleefulness of those letters! The adrenaline rush of their scolding rhetoric! Do the alarmed readers among us really find adult life in America so frustrating, so overpriced, so disappointing, so filled with hype and stress and betrayal, so empty of real spiritual content that they rejoice at any opportunity to discharge their years of resentment?
Â The offending article was about methamphetamine, but what was it really? How did it function? New Times printed it, but how did we, the people, make use of it? I say that â€œMeth Made Easyâ€? was a psychological septic tank for this community to let out the long-stored waste products of our sour anger. How many nasty days in paradise can we swallow before we throw up? Last weekâ€™s New Times was an actual public vomitorium, not a theoretical drug lab.
Â The â€œalternative pressâ€? doesnâ€™t have a lot of real political or economic power right now, except the power to point where many people would rather not look. You pointed at this countyâ€™s meth problem. Maybe you made a bad call by publishing the recipe, but hasnâ€™t our community made another bad call? Burning Stacey Wardeâ€™s paper and filling up yours with indignant clichÃ©s strike me as identical versions of killing the messenger.
San Luis Obispo
Â Â First of all, I would like to thank Alice Moss for writing â€œMeth Made Easyâ€? and New Times for publishing it. I thought it was brilliant in many respects. Second, you have probably received numerous letters saying, â€œYou just lost another reader.â€? Well frankly, with me you have gained a reader. I find it very disturbing that so many people cannot face reality, that the world is full of stupid people who do stupid things like cook and sell meth. The fact is that powerful drugs like meth are readily available to the general public, and no matter what is said or done, no one can censor that from todayâ€™s youth.
In fact, from my understanding now, the â€œcoolâ€? thing to do at parties is to grind up numerous prescription drugs such as Vicodin and Adderall and essentially snort them all. This is reality on the college scene and it cannot be censored, no matter how hard one tries. Eventually, whether we like it or not, societyâ€™s youth will be exposed to it.
Â Our best hope lies in education, and I felt that the New Times article did a more-than-fabulous job showing the inherent dangers of cooking meth. Thank you for writing such an incredible article, and keep up the good work.
Â Â I can understand why many people are angry at the meth article. Whatâ€™s not at all obvious is why it has taken this long for at least a smaller rebellion. Maybe the prior weekâ€™s cover story about Grover Beach police officer Brian Thomas (â€œCop Outâ€?) was a beginning, but at least there was some balance in the response from multiple viewpoints. But after reading the numerous letters of condemnation following â€œMeth Made Easy,â€? I learned something I hadnâ€™t really appreciated. It seems that people had somehow expected New Times to â€œprotectâ€? their children, families, acquaintances, and themselves. I then wondered what other content could be removed from the paper to head off potential controversy in your new â€œcommunity partnership.â€?
Â I really hate the style of letter that is full of questions, as if the writer were participating in real-time dialogue, but since it clearly is in vogue, Iâ€™ll experiment with it just this once. Do alcoholics really need to read ads for happy-hour cheap boozing? Do compulsive spenders really need to see ads for more junk they donâ€™t need? Do people need to be reminded where to get pornography, along with handy phone numbers for â€œadult servicesâ€?? Donâ€™t personal ads make it all too easy for someone to hook up with somebody â€œon the sideâ€?? Are all products and services advertised in newspapers and magazines certified to be healthy and safe? Havenâ€™t many of these things caused pain, ended relationships, and destroyed lives? Doesnâ€™t much of the content in New Times expose children to potential adult problems all too soon? Potentially yes on all counts! The meth problem is indeed serious, but it is not necessarily the most serious problem for all individuals.Â
Â I found the meth article to be unique, informative, well written, and interesting enough for me to read thoroughly. Now that we all know how to make it and how dangerous it is, maybe more positive steps can be taken to help control this terrible epidemic. The outrage toward New Times would be better applied to the slow social progress in combating meth.
Â If many parents could have controlled their outrage for a few moments, they may have been able to benefit (yes, benefit!) from their newfound knowledge to recognize the significance of the meth ingredients in their homes. Some may have prioritized a break from their busy lives for a much-needed chat with their children explaining that there is nothing cool about meth. Instead letters were written hoping it was all just a bad dream or a temporary lapse in editorial judgment.
Â I feed my daily information appetite with the Wall Street Journal and the Tribune, among others. New Times is obviously different from those papers (by design!), and for that I am grateful. My fear from this backlash is that New Times will begin to change for the worse, selling out in a sense. If the paperâ€™s editors alter their time-tested approach in an effort to appease some readers and some advertisers, will they have the ability to report the next controversial story? Will they now have to ask someoneâ€™s permission? Will a new, kinder and gentler Shredder (probably will need a better name than that) arrange group hugs for those with hurt feelings? Will I first have to remove a Tribune-style Post-it note on the cover notifying me of â€œpotentially controversial contentâ€? inside?
Â I like my New Times just the way it is. If it has to be locked up from vandals, Iâ€™m prepared to put money in a machine to purchase it â€” that is, until it ceases to be the quality publication it has been to date. Please continue to tell us the tough story the New Times way.
Â Â I think this sense of outrage over â€œMeth Made Easyâ€? is sorrowfully misdirected by a community unwilling and unable to take a good hard look at itself. Where is such outrage every time the county finds a meth lab within its borders? Why arenâ€™t people out burning down houses that serve as kitchens for the stuff? If a thousand people get off their asses to write a letter or take steps in protest over an article, Iâ€™d say: â€œNice job raising awareness!â€?
Â I didnâ€™t read the article. Nothing about meth interests me, and I avoid all aspects of its discussion for good reason. But at my work place this past week â€œMeth Made Easyâ€? was the only thing people spoke about. It trumped the Super Bowl at the water cooler. All I heard was how deplorable and despicable it was to publish the meth recipe. Â That may well be true, but you can bet it put a lot of parents back on their heels. Those same parents would best take this opportunity, now more than ever, to be aware that this drug is present in their community. In accepting that fact, they must also make it a point to be active participants in this drugâ€™s extinction from their community.
Â Iâ€™m thinking that the outrage expressed over this article is a result of the challenges it now presents. Sure, having the recipe out there in the open makes it all the more dangerous. But I sincerely hope the furor it has generated sparks the Central Coast to take action. This should be a moment when people come together to strengthen the foundation of their community. Focus on the cracks destroying its structure and repair them. Doing this now will only make the community stronger in the future. Ignoring it will only hasten the ever-present problem of social disintegration.
Stacey E. Lowman
Â Â Norman Mailer once said the problem with Americans is that â€œthey are outraged by the wrong things.â€? This confusion about priorities is clearly apparent in the overwhelming and collective knee-jerk response â€œMeth Made Easy.â€? If New Times had published a similar article such as â€œBeer Made Easyâ€? or â€œFun Wine Factsâ€? or â€œAll the Wood a Woodhead Needs to Get and Give Cancer,â€? would there have been the slightest interest? How many county residents would have worked themselves into the moral fervor necessary to write letters of condemnation? Would there have been threats, boycotts, â€œmenacingâ€? bricks? No. There would have been silence.
There would have been, as someone described inattention, â€œa dialogue of the deaf.â€? It is easy to become outraged over something you donâ€™t do, but much more difficult to acknowledge the harm you might be doing. On a scale of harm, alcohol is the obvious winner. It causes more deaths, more child abuse, more rape than all other drugs combined. The not-so-obvious winner, but more lethal in the pervasiveness of the harm done, is the moronic practice of burning wood. The entire county on most evenings (warm or cold) is enveloped in some of the most toxic pollutants we can breathe. Whereâ€™s the outrage? Where are the concerned parents worried about the health of their children?
Â Could New Times redeem itself by providing comparative articles on harmful substances? I doubt it. Easy to attack tweakers and not so easy to castigate oneâ€™s neighbor or the local tavern. Or ourselves.
M. Power Giacoletti
Â I have a relatively positive comment to make about the meth article â€” at least itâ€™s positive in comparison to the many comments already printed. I made time to read as much of the fury as I could. Okay, New Times, so you pissed off a bunch of folks. I applaud you! Wasnâ€™t it Voltaire who said (and here I paraphrase): â€œI may not like what you say, but Iâ€™ll defend to the death your right to say it.â€? I agree with Voltaire! His words are timeless.
Â Some would call me a liberal, but I see myself more as someone who actually has faith in humanity and in the evolution of human consciousness. I try not to be frightened by people who have beliefs or lifestyles different from mine. I realize this is a view that many New Times readers here in SLO County would probably view as â€œalternative.â€? I am glad there are alternatives and that I have a right to voice them!
Â I commend New Times for making people think, for stirring it up, and for getting people off their asses. I will continue to support your advertisers and read the New Times.
Great job on the meth article!Â No one gets it because most people in San Luis are, well, stupid, which is why we left. The meth epidemic is huge. Thank you for trying to make light of a horrible situation. We had a good laugh.
Editorâ€™s note: Owing to an error in editing last weekâ€™s letters section, we published a letter incorrectly attributed to Karen Carswell and containing a profanity. New Times regrets the error. Here is Ms. Carswellâ€™s letter:
In regards to your â€œMeth Made Easy,â€? all I can ask is what the heck are you thinking over there? Apparently you arenâ€™t thinking at all to print something as irresponsible and inappropriate as that. There is absolutely no defense for an article as dangerous and frankly unbelievably STUPID as that. I for one will never pick up your magazine again and plan to call every one of the companies that place ads in your paper. Shame on you. You are not fit to print anything.
PULL QUOTES IN ORDER OF APPEARANCE
â€œThis outpouring of anger was not spontaneous. It looks a lot like a concerted effort to undermine a newspaperâ€™s story choices. Ugly.â€?
â€œWill I now have to remove a Tribune-style Post-it note on the New Times cover notifying me of â€œpotentially controversial contentâ€? inside?â€?