Neighbors Are Concerned, Despite Showing at Rally

I am writing in response to "The Mourning After" introduction written by Scott Bass (Cover Story photo essay, Aug. 23). I am a resident of Woodland Heights, and I'm very frustrated at Mr. Bass' allegations of black-on-black crime apathy in our neighborhood. Why does he use one unannounced, poorly attended "rally" to make this conclusion? Why is it that when we don't stop and listen to one man screaming into a PA, suddenly the residents of Woodland Heights are (a) all white and (b) don't care about black-on-black crime? That is a giant leap, sir. And very unfair. The residents of Woodland Heights have rallied, marched en masse and taken steps to get involved individually since the events of Jan. 1 (and many of us have been active against crime well before then).

Had Mr. Bass done some real investigative reporting, he would have met members of Big Brothers Big Sisters, SCAN, ACORN and parents involved in Richmond City Schools, as well as financial contributors to The Community Fund, just to name a few examples. Getting worked up and yelling at a rally is just one preliminary step toward fighting crime. Many people in this neighborhood are committed to hard, slow, behind-the-scenes work of fighting crime — where real change happens. Much like the Harveys, the residents of Woodland Heights are active, involved pioneers determined to make this city a better place to live. It's too bad that Mr. Bass is too busy building vicious stereotypes to notice our efforts.

R. Lowry
Woodland Heights

Flying Is Getting Worse
I read your Back Page and it really hit a chord with me ("Crowded and Tired," Back Page, Aug. 16). For some background, I am a U.S. citizen, from Richmond, and have lived abroad in Munich since 1987. I fly frequently worldwide, which I am grateful for as I like the work I do and am involved in social service. That said, I do not fly business or first class, so I have experienced what you wrote in spades.

Prior to terrorism and to some extent commercialism, flying was a great experience. I recall flying when I was young (1966) and it was really awesome. Now, if you are not in first or business, forget it, and even then there is the chaos of check-in, late arrivals, delays, airports with noise pollution to beat the band, etc.

Fact is, money talks, and the airlines are going to squeeze what they can where they can. I have not seen it yet in the European airlines, but the standards in the U.S. airlines are terrible — from service to seats it is like having teeth pulled. As you alluded to, first and business are tolerable, however those with the cash and wherewithal do not even bother with that; they simply charter a flight and be done with it. I understand security, but I was in Heathrow in June and it was terrible. Now, with the latest terrorism I suspect it is even worse.

What can be done? I am not sure. Somehow I always have the feeling that despite everything I am not safer (certainly not because of the present administration, but that is another subject). One must go through a lot of hassle to be protected from you or a grandmother or the person next door. Maybe if there was some way to do a background check on folks two weeks before and then have them go through a special line that is less intrusive. I think that it can only get worse.

Gerald Bowman
Munich, Germany

UR Lovebirds Stay in Competition

Thank you for your coverage of Chauntee' and I in your recent article "TV Wedding Battle: A Couple of Spiders Throw Down Gauntlet" (Street Talk, Aug. 9). We are excited and blessed to be representing such an amazingly supportive community.

Our experience on "Today Throws a Wedding" has been a colorful and at times challenging one, but with the kind messages and votes we have received thus far from each of you, we are looking forward to pursuing our dream wedding for a little bit longer.

We have no idea where this journey will take us, but it has already been a wonderful and positive event thanks to each of you. Thank you for your continued support and votes!

Chauntee' Schuler and Joshua Walker

Editor's Note: At press time, Chauntee' and Joshua were still in the running for an all-expenses-paid, televised wedding. They were scheduled to compete in an obstacle course Sept. 6, airing on NBC 12.



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