Re: Edwin Decker's column about the police shooting of Daniel "Caveman" Woodyard in Ocean Beach ["Sordid Tales," Feb. 12].
I understand what you mean about Caveman having a special place in the hearts of OBecians. I've always felt somewhat comforted by the familiar homeless faces. I've spoken with and listened to many of them from the neighborhoods I've lived in and gotten to know them a little. Some were crazy and some were not, but seeing them around always made me feel like I was home in some weird kind of way. It's almost like, the few that stand out are mascots of some sort.
When I was 19 (1998), I worked in one of those little shacks behind the P.B. Promenade next to Taco's El Gordo selling cinnamon rolls, and I had to be there at 5 a.m. It was dark and scary being there all alone, but I started befriending the locals who crashed right outside the door every night and they would hang around and chat until the sun came up. I felt safer knowing that they were there with me.
It sucked because I had to literally wake them up at 5 a.m. every morning. I always felt bad about that part, but they were always very polite and would let me get through. I woke them up nicely by whispering. I didn't just start screaming or anything.
We'd listen to Howard Stern while I baked the first batch, and then I'd give them a couple hot cinnamon rolls. I doubt any of those particular people would ever become violent unless they were in danger of some kind. I do know that if a police officer walked by, they were out of there because they were afraid they would get harassed for loitering or trespassing or something of the sort.
Anyway, that really sucks about Caveman and the police were probably on some kind of adrenaline high and thinking nobody would notice or care if he was gone. If that had happened to one of my homeless friends, I'd notice and be really pissed off also.
Thanks, Ed Decker, for your column ["Sordid Tales"] on Jan. 29 titled, "Public service announcement: The date-rape drug and the insects who use it." The parody put forth the date-rape issue in a way that I think anyone with any level of intelligence can understand. I'm sure your advice as a bartender will be well taken by the readership of this paper.
Great. Just what San Diego needs-yet another "lowlifes of the world unite" rag. Yuck.
Donna Frye is great, and you are thanked for the great article ["Cover Story," Feb. 19].
World is watching
In the summer of 1999, I met someone who, to me, was an exceptional human being. A light shone forth from his life and he had an amazing ability to embrace the environment around him and anyone who entered it. The way he viewed life, his approach, his desire to have real connections with other human beings were so vital to me as I came to terms with my own human nature and how important and precious this existence is for all humanity.
A year later, I saw him again from across a crowded room, but didn't even have a chance to talk to him. Seventeen days later he was shot to death at a Halloween party. A police officer fired a few rounds through a window into the party when he mistakenly thought that a prop gun, which was part of my friend's costume, was real.
At first I wanted to blame the police officer for this horrible incident enacted because he unnecessarily feared for his life. How could a trained officer of the law do something so foolish?
I began to think about something that lay festering underneath this tragedy. I find it difficult to relate to the idea that we need weapons to defend ourselves from death and destruction. Every year we create more sophisticated weapons with even more devastating and powerful consequences. These weapons continue to cause more death and destruction-the exact thing they were created to deter in the first place.
Today, we in the United States are afraid of an Iraqi regime that may have chemical or biological weapons of mass destruction that were provided by the United States. By the end of the decade, the current administration anticipates the military budget to exceed $500 billion. I don't know if I'm completely out of touch here, but 500 billion dollars! To be spent on something that causes death and destruction-all in the name of stopping death and destruction.
Meanwhile we are decreasing the money spent on our education, our libraries, the arts, public streets and pretty much anything that adds to our general appreciation of life.
As the "leaders of the free world," we must take the first step toward global disarmament. Now is the time for this justification of our dependence on this crude life-or-death logic to end. If we truly represent democracy and the idea that all human beings deserve to be happy and free, we must use our ability and our power to move toward that reality. If we truly believe in the sanctity of life then we must focus our energies and resources toward the aspects of life that provide nourishment.
We have to start with education. The only way people can make conscientious, thoughtful decisions is if they are educated. This must become the highest priority of our nation. Then we have to create a viable nonviolent movement that represents the ideals that this great nation was built upon.
In the 20th century, we witnessed powerful nonviolent movements that silenced hatred and created freedom. The reason these movements succeeded was due to the fact that human beings understand that unprovoked violence is wrong. It goes against human nature. The destruction of innocence is the most evil of all atrocities, and this is understood throughout the world.
The world is watching now. What message do we wish to send them? For the sake of all human beings-past, present and future-we must disarm. This is the question we've struggled with since the mass destruction of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Will it ever end?
Disarmament is the only answer that ensures that life can continue on this giant blue marble we all call home. It is time for the United States of America to show the world what kind of leader it can be.
Wade M. Pavlick,