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Week of September 18, 2002

A campaign against the exotic-animal trade: You did it again! You walked behind the opaque veil to look into the face of the animals forgotten behind our culture's elaborate network of denial [Jeannette Batz, "Wildcat Strike," September 11]. I applaud your bold words about Sandra Smith and her Wesa-A-Geh-Ya compound. As director of Kinship Circle Letters for Animals, I recently issued a letter campaign regarding the Captive Wildlife Safety Act [pending before Congress]. Initiated by U.S. Representative George Miller (D-California), this federal bill would prohibit interstate traffic of lions, tigers, leopards, cougars and bears for the exotic-pet trade. As you know, private citizens who harbor wild animals are typically unsuited to care for them. While numerous states specify laws to ban ownership of exotic animals as pets, they are rarely enforced. Consequently, this trade is flourishing, with an estimated 5,000 tigers presently in nonpublic sites throughout the U.S. This number accounts for more tigers than are presumed to live in the wild!
Brenda Shoss
Kinship Circle

Already Gone
He's moved on: I just read your commentary [Jim Nesbitt, "Move On," September 11] and could not agree more with your observations related to the ridiculous hype and hysteria surrounding the anniversary of 9/11. True "watershed events" or "turning points" in our nation's history such as Pearl Harbor, World War II or the Depression had and will continue to have an infinitely greater impact. I offer my sincere thanks and admiration to Mr. [Russell] Dunham and the courageous men and women who served and sacrificed in World War II. These individuals certainly know a great deal more about dangers that threatened all of humanity if not for their brave actions. To those who lost loved ones or were directly affected by the 9/11 attacks, I offer my sympathy. But for the rest of us, it is time to move on. I know I have.
Rick Stemler
via the Internet

Hooker Hook
A telling admission: I found your story on the city-court prostitution program [Geri L. Dreiling, "New City Trick," September 11] excellent. As a criminal-defense lawyer, I was floored by Warren Thomas' quote: "Sometimes the police will arrest women they know as regulars even though they aren't doing anything." This is the sort of thing that defense lawyers know and argue to juries all the time. The fact that a court official admits this shows you how it really does occur. So much for the Constitution! Mr. Warren's quote is a cover story in and of itself!
Kenneth R. Schwartz
via the Internet

Paddle Up
Studs R Us: I found the story about table tennis [Mike Seely, "The Battle of the Paddle," September 4] entertaining. I thought it might be nice to add a few bits of information. At 100 members, the St. Louis Table Tennis Club is not big -- by almost any standard. Several U.S. cities have clubs that are open 24 hours a day, with resident full-time coaches. In Europe, our club might be typical for a town of about 20,000 people. In addition to the very old men, there are plenty of young'uns (male and female) who also play here. Maybe the "Pizza Hut manager" doesn't look like a "stud athlete" because he isn't one. He's good by Missouri standards, but he'd struggle to win single points against world-class players (who, incidentally, generally do look like "stud athletes"). George Hendry's "clay-court tennis" game is attractive but outdated. The modern game is more similar to tennis players facing each other at the net but taking full swinging volleys and adding spin that nears 10,000 rpm.
Kagin Lee
St. Louis

Do you have to use the dirty words? I was curious why Mike thought his good article on pingpong (table tennis) had to contain the words "shit," "fuck" and "piss." I am not a prude, but it seemed as if ... he could have used different words to convey his thoughts. Furthermore, that one of the editors did not make mention of this to him appears as though writing of this kind in a publication like yours is encouraged. Considering that the article describes a preteen player who would probably want to read and keep the article and that the two centers in St. Louis would post it on their bulletin boards makes the use of these words even stranger.
Eric Finch
via the Internet

Full Count
Grab your Webster, bud: I would like to respond to Todd Swope of St. Charles ["Letters," September 4]. It's obvious he knows nothing about baseball, or he wouldn't have made the idiotic statement about Mark McGwire. He should have looked up the phrase "flash in the pan" before he tried using it in a sentence. Someone [who] has hit over 550 [home runs] doesn't qualify for that phrase. [McGwire] didn't live in St. Louis but donated $1 million to abused children. While he wants a street named after a player (Marshall Faulk) who grew up poor, don't the Rams have another player who used to bag groceries in Iowa? Do research before you write a letter.
William Barrett
O'Fallon, Missouri

Maybe not: Don't you think that [Mike] Guzy's column would be an asset to the RFT [D.J. Wilson, "Big Boot," September 4]?
Charles A. Lane
St. Louis

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