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Best Offense

Week of October 16, 2002

Best Offense
Is a good defense: I read with horror the story of "Karen" and her abuse at the hands of Walter David Kemp [Jeannette Batz, "Fail Safe," October 2]. I realized a doubling of my commitment to do what I do: I volunteer to help teach a self-defense class at the South County YMCA aimed at women and teens. My love and empathy for victims like "Karen" and my anger at people like Kemp inspire me to drill students with simple, devastating, even deadly techniques from a variety of martial art styles. A small woman is definitely capable of breaking bones, shredding ligaments, strangling or simply breaking the grip of a much stronger man if she is properly trained. This form of empowerment has resulted in a more confident, fearless ability of many women to enjoy their lives more freely. The St. Louis area is full of instructors of similar classes that are as good as or better than mine. "Karen" and any other women who are tired of being defenseless should avail themselves of our services.
Dennis Keith
Leslie, Missouri

True Terror
Avoid the stereotype: I write to you after four days of pondering why this cover made me feel uncomfortable [October 2]. The first two days the figure in the foreground of the drawing did not register. The third day I was able to see it was a white woman with blonde hair. The "terror inside" seems to be the black figure in the background of the drawing, but when the reader turns to the story, there is the mugshot of a white man -- the real "terror inside" it seems. Long story short, the cover art perpetuates a stereotype and care should be taken when choosing images to represent a story. Stop portraying the black figure, the dark person, as evil, criminal and undeserving of trust, which is what the image on the cover of the October 2-8 issue silently suggests to me.
Lillian Hodges
via the Internet

Best of St. Louis
Thanks for the alternative: This is random. Thanks for the fact that you exist, that we have something intelligent to read in St Louis, that there's an alternative to the main newspaper ["Best of St. Louis," September 25]. I haven't read much of the Post-Dispatch, so I'm not knocking it. I'm just saying how wonderful it is to have such a good independent newspaper that reports on important city news, details good restaurants and city happenings. What would life be like if you didn't exist, if you didn't work so hard? Thanks very, very much.
Stephen Potts
St. Louis

Stylish Crab
No fault with faux: I read with pleasure your article about the Plaza Shops in Creve Coeur [Jill Posey-Smith, "Coeur Project," October 2]. I have worked with Zoya of Taste of Europe since we opened her shop. It warms her little Russian heart to know you enjoyed Taste of Europe. It's quite funny that Zoya asked me what to call her crab salad, since it is indeed made with faux crabmeat (although the best quality she can find). I told her to call it faux crab! I enjoy your writing style.
Bob Willier
Relish This, LLC
St. Louis

Subcontinent Style
Jewel in his crown: I would like to thank Mr. Zentner for his recent review of India Kitchen [Alexi Zentner, "India Kitchen," October 9]. What I especially appreciate is his advice for Indian-food newbies. I always enjoy trying different foods but on occasion fear venturing too far into unknown territory. As I have not yet sampled Indian cuisine, but desperately want to, his information in the "Side Dish" section was exactly what I was looking for. I have already clipped out his valuable advice and can't wait to use it.
Dave Pace
via the Internet

Busted Bust
Extended disbelief: I can't believe that the theater mentioned in your article has been construed as a public place, considering that you had to buy a membership to even enter the store and also prove that you were over 18 [Bruce Rushton, "Sucker-Punched," September 18]. It is very distressing to know that the police in your area have wasted their time and efforts to stop sex in a closed building that has no windows but merely offered a place for people to exercise their sexual urges. What's next? Are they going to go bust up the local seedy motels that people go to? Those are public places, and I'm sure party to many more sexual transgressions than the local porn store. It sounds to me as if the local right-wing politicians are trying to cater to their idea of decency, regardless of the rights of adults to their privacy. My question is, why aren't they focusing their efforts on something worthwhile, possibly going after rapists and murderers?
Name withheld by request

Correction: Big Sexy Kool DJ Kaos is a DJ for 100.3 The Beat. The station's frequency was incorrect in the October 9 issue.

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