by Inlander Readers & r & Knights Who Say "Nay" & r & Usually I am very impressed with the content of The Inlander. But a comment in the college previews (9/1/05) has motivated me to respond. The tone that is conveyed in the "Avoid: The Grind" bit comes off as ill-informed.

I am a graduate of Gonzaga and am now working there as an AmeriCorps volunteer. I was a member of the "all men's service club." I'll be the first to admit that the Grind can be a little ... boisterous. But what you failed to mention is that the Grind serves as a fund-raiser so we can put on our classier event, the formal Charity Ball.

Every year at Charity Ball the Knights (together with their sister organization, the Setons) unveil a check that is to be donated to a local charitable organization. All told, over the last five years, the Knights and Setons have donated more than $50,000 (actually, the total is probably closer to $70,000) to organizations such as Cup of Cool Water and Changing Our Lives Together (C.O.L.T.). The Grind, along with hundreds of hours of work and other fundraising events, makes Charity Ball possible.

What your columnist either omitted or failed to uncover was that the all-men's service club, or the Knights, are exactly that -- a service club. Yes, it is a fraternal organization. Every year a new class of Knights steps up to the plate and performs hundreds of hours of community service work in the Spokane community. I think that that distinction warrants the title "service club" without the sarcasm.

Joshua Kurz & r & Spokane, Wash.

A Perennial Favorite? & r & Thank you for your focus on trees (8/25/05). Like the story about a child to whom the tree gave its fruit and shade and oxygen, and finally its body as lumber, most of us fail to recognize the gifts we receive from our community forest. However, the respondents to your call for photos and poetry beautifully illustrated the infinite number of connections we have to the trees in our lives.

As mentioned, the Urban Forest Council works with citizens, business owners, nonprofit organizations and government agencies to enhance community forests in the Spokane Region. Presently, the UFC is producing a CD, to be released next spring, about Tree Preservation During Construction. The CD will provide specific, technical information about protecting trees to anyone working near them.

Carrie Anderson & r & Spokane, Wash.

Terror on the River & r & The tragic events of Aug. 23 along the Spokane River will leave their imprint forever on the minds and spirits of the Native American children involved. They will, inevitably, be among those whose lives are scarred by the nature of hatred. They are not the first, nor will they be the last, and none will be alone.

Hatred hurts us all. It is a process for destroying what makes us human.

At the very moment two men with swastikas emblazoned on their chests began chasing and threatening with knives and rocks the innocently playing teenagers on the narrow beach of the river, I was reading about events of another hate crime, the last 102 minutes of the twin towers of the World Trade Center. Today it is clear to me how connected they are.

It remains now for each of us to look deep into ourselves and seek for seeds of hate. Do we laugh at racist or cultural jokes? Do we resist friendship with those of different religions? Do we feel superior to those with accented English speech? Do we vocally resent suspected advantages of other cultural groups? Are we reluctant to shake a hand of a different color, or to accept the sight or smell of poverty in others? Do our political differences cancel rational discourse?

Pope John VI said, "If you want peace, work for justice."

In Spokane Council Resolution 05-102, we said, "...this City is committed to the advancement and preservation of human rights, and equality for all its citizens."

Let us, its citizens, affirm that commitment. Only we can make peace.

Jack Poole & r & Spokane, Wash.

Burgers, Anyone? & r & On Monday, Aug. 15, the U.S. Department of Agriculture acknowledged more than a thousand violations of Mad Cow disease regulations by U.S. meat plants since January 2004.

Mad Cow disease, also known as bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE), is a degeneration of brain tissue leading to erratic behavior and death. It is transmitted through feeding of infected brain and spinal tissues to other cows. Human consumption of infected beef leads to Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (CJD), a deadly dementia frequently confused with Alzheimer's disease that affects millions.

Federal safety measures, including the 1997 ban on feeding potentially infected cow body parts to other cows, have lacked adequate enforcement. Through its reluctance to institute an adequate testing program for diseased cattle, the USDA has failed to assess the true magnitude of the threat.

The latest disclosure further undermines consumer confidence in the safety of our nation's meat supply. It provides one more reason to replace beef in our diet with a veggie burger or one of the other meat alternatives in the frozen food section of our neighborhood supermarket.

Sebastian Granger & r & Spokane, Wash.

No Exit & r & President Bush has, once again, misled the American people when he states that an immediate withdrawal from Iraq "would only embolden the terrorists and create a staging ground to launch more attacks against America ..."

Americans must surely understand by now that Iraq had absolutely nothing to do with the terrorist attack on the World Trade Center on Sept. 11, 2001. This is true despite the multiple deceptive attempts by the Bush Administration to link Iraq to 9/11. Iraq was not a refuge for Al Qaeda terrorists until the Bush administration created the chaos of war there. Bush's preemptive attack on Iraq has "emboldened the terrorists and created a staging ground" for them there.

We must also understand that it was the Republican Administration during the 1980s, under the leadership of Donald Rumsfeld, that turned a brutal dictator named Saddam Hussein into a powerful international threat by channeling weapons of mass destruction to his regime. And let's not forget that during the 1990s, the most efficient, complete, and verifiable WMD disarmament program ever implemented was completed under the United Nations weapons inspection program in Iraq without the death of a single inspector.

Nevertheless, President Bush diverted military resources away from our legitimate war on Al Qaeda terrorists in Afghanistan to preemptively attack Iraq under the false pretense that Iraq was a threat to our national security. The Bush Administration "fixed" the intelligence to deceive the American people in order to rouse support for his war. The Republican Party, and specifically the Bush Administration, is completely responsible for the multiple intentional and unintentional blunders that have left us with the debacle in which we find ourselves in Iraq.

Justin StormoGipson & r & Coeur d'Alene, Idaho

TPG Market @ Resurrection Records

Sun., June 13, 12-6 p.m.
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