Should Get Over Himself
In response to John Cuevas' letter, I would like to tell him to get over himself. While I do not condone the vandalism on his door, I believe that he was being overly sensitive in requesting that the sign be removed. The case for separation of church and state is flimsy on this matter at best as the sign was posted by coworkers not the state, and contained no ultimatum concerning attending funeral services. Nowhere in the constitution are you guaranteed the freedom from being offended by symbols, statements, literature, or anything else that might just happen to piss you off. Personally, I think that John is just a whiner who, perhaps, likes to stir the shit a little for the sake of controversy. I sincerely hope that you are not taking this joker's side Cliff because this is the kind of petty bullshit that gives atheists a bad name.
"I'd call myself agnostic, but that sounds as if I'm nasally congested."
-- Jim Goad
From: "Positive Atheism" <email@example.com>
Subject: Re: Positive_Atheism_Letters_Section
Date: Sunday, June 17, 2001 9:41 PM
I am not taking sides, but am showcasing a few facts that very few people think about. I can see myself, at various times in my life, having issued this very complaint.
Had the vandals (the security personnel?) spray-painted a Swastika on his door, he wouldn't have needed to even file a complaint: the culprits would have already been dealt with by the time we saw it on the six-o'clock news. This is because the Swastika is universally recognized as the symbol of a group which exterminated their ideological opponents, and the Swastika is well-known to instill fear in the hearts of many. Unfortunately, the fact that the Holy Cross is indistinguishable from the Swastika in the hearts of many of us is not well-known. To complain about a Swastika brings swift action; to complain about the Holy Cross, which has similar meaning and instill similar terror, does not.
This holds true whether it's spray-pained or posted in an official capacity: the flyer featuring the Holy Cross, posted by workers, who, in their work represent the state, and more than a few of us recognize the Holy Cross to be virtually indistinguishable from the Swastika -- except that more time has come between us and the violence of the Holy Cross than has come between us and the violence of the Swastika. I can see the Swastika, 150 years from now, losing the stigma that it has today.
Nevertheless, anybody who would spray-paint a Holy Cross or a Swastika or some other symbol which has historically been associated with terrorizing and brutalizing a group's ideological opponents must be dealt with swiftly, sternly, and with all the fanfare we can muster -- regardless of the initial circumstances which prompted the hate crime.
Regardless of whether he was being "overly sensitive" in his initial complaint, nobody deserves to live in the conditions that are a Housing Authority project. Period. Part of the homelessness problem is that many consider homelessness preferable to living in a HUD project.
I was involved in HUD for over ten years. I though the fact that a meddling old woman had been officially issued a pass key (and was abusing this "privilege" by "checking up" on whoever she wanted) was a valid complaint. I was mistaken. (I ended her ventures into my unit by standing there, naked, in my hairy, tanned, athletic body, yelling at the top of my lungs for her to get out.) I thought pointing out that people continuously smoked in the elevator was a valid complaint. I was mistaken. (I used the fact that they refused to enforce the law -- and their own policy -- to get placed on the Section 8 program where I get to live in a regular, commercial apartment with my own entrance.) I thought the fact that a homeless cretin had finagled a copy of the pass-key from the old woman and later used it to attempt to enter my room after threatening to kill me (for snitching on him for continuously smoking in the elevator) was a valid complaint. I was mistaken. I thought the fact that he chased me through a stairwell on one occasion, feigning (or not feigning) having a firearm), was a valid complaint. No I thought the fact that he went after me with a tire-iron in the stairwell on another occasion was a valid complaint. I was mistaken. I thought the fact that he and a few others were attempting to launch rockets into my (closed) window was a valid police complaint. I was mistaken. I thought the fact that one of their building inspectors appears (very strongly) to have stolen 36 tablets of a prescription controlled substance from me was a valid complaint. I was mistaken. Pills stolen from the elderly was a common complaint in the project, so perhaps I should have known better.
With the Housing Authority, there is no such thing as a valid complaint. That's just the way it is, and all who work for HUD know this. It's almost as if they're doing you a favor, so shut up about it. Even though it's the taxpayers doing you a favor, all but a few of the front-line workers emanate this attitude.
The Housing Authority is one of the most brutal living conditions I can imagine (this side of prison -- and, in some cases, including prison). The law requires them to mix disabled people and seniors with youthful thugs -- because they cannot discriminate on the basis of age, so they cannot have "seniors only" buildings. The laws are such that the DEA could lay open a meth lab in one of the units and this is not grounds for eviction (rather, the appeals process renders them impotent to evict on these grounds).
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