Nov. 2 2016 02:06 PM

Our readers tell us what they think

OLANGO & RACE

Aaryn Belfer, you are a role model.

Thanks to you, once again, for another timely, well-written, gutwrenching column [“Police had no reason to dismantle Olango memorial,” Oct. 12] that crystallizes and shines light on the race issue (although “issue” does not seem a powerful enough word. National tragedy? Collective unconsciousness? Moral insanity?).

I have found myself remembering your columns and sharing them with friends for weeks after they run. I have had discussions about white privilege with people whom I’d never discussed such things with. I’ve been able to own the fact of my white privilege with the (relatively few) black people I know. Thanks for continuing to educate me and for keeping it real in a community that doesn’t always want to hear it. I appreciate you, and CityBeat for giving you a forum.

Suzy Perkins
La Mesa


RESCUING DOWNTOWN

Thanks for your well-reasoned Oct. 12 “Voter Guide.” With the exception of the stadium-convention center issues my views are in sync with your conclusions. Right on. Or should I say, left on.

I am still ruminating over the proposed football and convention center complex. The expansion of the meeting hall has been on the table for many a moon and apparently is needed to keep everlarger crowds of conventioneers coming to San Diego.

And there’s Comic-Con to consider.

I do wonder, however, about how many more tax increases the hotels of the city can stand. Taxes may eventually double or even triple the cost of staying here.

I might be convinced to vote “yes” for the new downtown venture if I could be assured that it would make it an exciting and viable place to experience for both locals and tourists, and that it would rejuvenate the dying Horton Plaza before it is too late.

Face it, the Gaslamp is shoddy. If you have a favorite restaurant you better trolley down to it immediately. Even then, it might be gone before you get there. At any given time there are a half dozen and more commercial sites sitting vacant. When the landmark Dick’s Last Resort closes, as it did recently, you know that things are getting pretty bad.

The lackluster Horton Plaza, once a bright and lively shopping center, has turned drab and obviously unprofitable for those estab lishments that choose to operate there. Gone are some of the better fast-food vendors in the food court. Flagship store Nordstrom closed recently. If you could find more than 20 shoppers in Macy’s at any given time I would be surprised. It’s sad.

The $11 million dollar park in the pit doesn’t seem to have improved business or enhanced the area in any way. What a bust. Just not very appealing. Surely some life can be breathed into that site without the help of football or conventions.

William A. Harper
San Diego


SCARE THERAPY

As Ryan Bradford artfully illustrates, horror films put a face on the very real fears and anxieties we experience [“Understanding anxiety through horror films,” Oct. 12]. Watching them to confront these fears, making them more manageable, is the coping mechanism psychologists call “mastery.”

When I volunteered in postearthquake Haiti in 2010, I found people living in hell on earth. The mass starvation, disease, gang rape, government attacks—along with the callous indifference of many nonprofits and churches— had created something more ghastly than any Hollywood director could imagine. The horror stuck to me like a filmy membrane. I couldn’t shed it, even after coming back to San Diego.

As soon as I returned, I found myself watching a string of bad horror movies—Italian gore, ’70s slashers, Cannibal Holocaust and all its ugly children. A fellow volunteer told me she found herself compulsively reading violent detective novels. When I researched Italian horror I learned that the genre exploded right after the Mussolini years, as an entire nation was trying to process the monstrosities of fascism. There’s something about fictional violence that makes it easier for us to digest real horror.

I still don’t have a philosophical explanation for the unfathomable suffering in this world. But I do know that horror films aren’t just a cheap thrill—they can also be part of a therapeutic process, helping us face the scariest parts of our own human experience.

David J. Schmidt, Author, Holy Ghosts: True Tales from a Haunted Christian College
La Mesa

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