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Speed Trap

Week of June 25. 2003

Speed Trap
The liberal blight: I am a police officer in Scotland. There are a couple of things that I find puzzling, to say the least, about Bruce Rushton's June 11 cover story, "Carnage." Is it not the case that the two offenders in the case that leads the story have been committed to lengthy jail terms for their part in a particularly horrible street crime? The driver admits to having his foot "to the floor -- I wasn't easing up on anything .... I was trying to stay calm and just get away." I would suggest that staying calm was nowhere in his mind at the time, that escape and evasion were the uppermost thoughts in his mind, to the extent that he ran a red light at 58 mph, in doing so unfortunately colliding with Ms. Fowler and her passengers in the Toyota.

Whilst every sympathy is due to Tyrica Fowler, surely by her litigating against the St. Louis police she is pursuing justice and reparation from the wrong quarter. The officers were clearly justified, even under the terms of the department's own reviewed policy on high-speed chases, in that their quarry had used or threatened deadly force to commit a felony. They had committed a street robbery for the total gain of $38 and a pair of second-hand shoes and then set off to make their escape through the busy city streets, with a blatant disregard for the safety of other road users or other innocent bystanders. A passenger in the getaway car has confirmed that warning lights and sirens were used in the pursuit. Surely Ms. Fowler would be better seeking compensation and justice from the perpetrators of the crime and not from those who were merely trying to bring the episode to as quick an end as possible before more innocent people were harmed.

I am disappointed that the Land of the Free seems to be as blighted with as many bleeding-heart liberals and disciples of the politically correct as my own country, that it appears to have lost its way somewhat, in the pursuit of justice. As long as they do so by obeying the law themselves, let your police department get on with their job.
Jane Stuart Jardine
Helensburgh, Scotland

Fast cars don't kill people, people kill people: When innocent bystanders are killed, it is a tragedy, but Tyrica Fowler's lawsuit against the police isn't the answer. When are we going to stop punishing the men and women who are trying to protect us and start punishing the bad guys? If Terrye Martin hadn't committed the crime and chosen to flee, the cops wouldn't have chased him. If Ms. Fowler had heeded the sirens and lights, she may have prevented the accident.

My sympathies go out to Ms. Fowler and her family, but all too often motorists are too preoccupied to be safely driving a vehicle. I'm afraid this sounds like what happened in Ms. Fowler's case, and now she's looking for someone to take the blame. Blame the man behind bars, the man who deserves to be punished, and thank the police officers for getting yet another criminal off the streets.
Amy Anderson
St. Louis

Good Wood
Can't keep a secret: I read with horror Roy Kasten's article about 89.1 FM, The Wood ["Triple Play," June 11]. The sinking feeling in my stomach reminded me of when the media spotlight hit my favorite bar -- wasn't long until the place was packed and the price of beer was climbing. Oh wait. It's okay if more people listen to KCLC and their outrageously human DJs. There are no long lines in Radio Land, no obnoxious drunks. Continue.
Dave Drebes
St. Louis

Record Time
Long may they spin: Great article on the fate of independent record stores [Christian Schaeffer, "High (and Dry) Fidelity," May 7]. I live in California and usually get to St. Louis two or three times per year. My trip is not complete without going to Vintage Vinyl and Streetside Records. They are both great stores and I hope they will be around for a long time.
James Knox
Oakland, California

Cauldron Bubble
Save Dennis some pinot noir: Dennis Brown's grumpy review of Macbeth was off the mark in a couple of important respects ["Toil and Trouble," June 4]. Brown complains at great length about Ron Krakovski's portrayal of Macbeth. While it's fine to argue over interpretation, the reader is left with the impression that the performance was boring and thereby led the play to a lifeless conclusion. This was far from the case. At the time, I was struck by the attentiveness of the audience. It was clear that they found the play and actors very compelling.

As for Mr. Brown's summary dismissal of the festival as "Forest Park forays ... signifying very little indeed," I would say that from our arrival at 6:30 p.m. for a picnic, through the pre-show, and until the play ended, our group had a wonderful time. So did everyone around us. We look forward to the festival each year. It brings a major work of drama into our lives in the most enjoyable of circumstances -- creativity in a beautiful setting, in the company of friends. (A picnic tradition has even started in our group: stuffed lamb chops, ratatouille, bread, cheese, fruit and chocolate with pinot noir!) The Shakespeare Festival has done an excellent job with high production standards, and I'm very happy to be sitting with thousands of others enjoying a free show every year.
Mary Reid Brunstrom
St. Louis

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