Strippers, freedom's front line: The supporters of the "Stripper Bill" are despicable and bigoted ["Save Our Strippers!" June 15]. You're supposed to judge people as individuals, not blanket them as groups. Unfortunately, the conservative Republicans who made this bill are torch-carriers in matters of discrimination. To put "dancer" in the same sentence as "prostitute" is an outright lie. To try to limit dancers' working hours and freedom of movement because of a fearful myth that they have the potential to spread diseases is about as racist as limiting the movement of white males because they have the potential to be serial killers. If dancers wanted to be prostitutes, they would be! They'd be on a corner, instead of clocking into a respectable business establishment where there are health, food, and fire regulations.
It is this type of bigoted conservative attitude that kept African Americans at the back of the bus for so many years. The argument that these women can just go work elsewhere is as ignorant as saying that black people should just have taken another type of transportation. It defeats the purpose of Americans' freedom to be consenting adults.
Would this same group limit the number of masses that Catholic churches have, since priests spread diseases to underage boys? There is no proof that STDs have come directly from dance bars, but there is proven evidence concerning the Catholic church.
Unlike roofers, musicians, and steelworkers, dancers are picked on because they have no union. It is time for these women to fight this bill and proceed immediately to form a union. As a Christian, I am appalled that hate is coming from a community that is supposed to teach love and tolerance. As far as having sex on the job goes, it looks as if the dancers feel that priests are much more qualified.
Clubs need saving too: Don't title your article "Save Our Strippers," when it is clearly the clubs that are in need of saving. You hypocritically attest that strippers are not traumatized or weak, yet plead a case against the "Stripper Bill" by shallowly victimizing them, both in your article and on the front cover.
If anything is clear in your article, it is that these women have consistently and creatively found financial backing to support themselves and their families, whether through stripping or other pursuits. Your article is nothing but a thinly veiled promotional ad.
Judge not the smelly: I was a dancer for a few years. I quit last year, but I did achieve my goal: braces.
I was taught never to judge a customer; an old, smelly guy could be the one that has the money, while the businessman may have none. Why do lawmakers feel they can judge? I'm a barmaid at a regular bar now, and I've seen more at this bar than I've seen stripping -- more drugs, more sex, and more violence. My boyfriend and I will continue to go and see strippers. Who knows? Maybe I'll see a few lawmakers too.
Under the Bridge
Residents have rights: "Suicide Bridge" [June 8] hit very close to home. My brother Mike committed suicide a year ago. He jumped off the bridge over the Metroparks by Fairview Hospital. The detective told us that many people kill themselves by jumping off that bridge.
The mayor of Fairview Park is trying to get a fence up, but I have mixed feelings about it. I think if people really want to kill themselves, they will find another bridge or building, or find another way to do it. But I do think the people who live under the bridge have a right to be protected. They should not have to see such a thing on a regular basis.
Jumping could be contagious: This story is devastating. In 2001, my son, Joey, took his own life. Suicide kills not only the person who dies, but all of us left behind.
Putting up a fence would save countless lives. Every time someone sees another person die, the parents, friends, and people who see the bodies are exposed to the possibility that they too will one day be jumping off that bridge. What is wrong with these people that they see it as "just another body?" My son was just another body. My life ended the day he died.
Goose Creek, South Carolina
Blame the Rust Belt: I lived in the suburbs of Akron for 30 years. This is a Rust Belt phenomenon. Far too many depressed people are working sustenance-level jobs in a region that never truly recovered from the recessions of the 1970s and early 1980s. Reagan's policies may have been great for the Sun Belt, but he was poison for Ohio and Pennsylvania.
It takes a village: It's nice to see that suicide is being talked about in the newspapers rather than ignored, but I am horrified by this article. The writer portrays people who commit suicide as freaks who are there as a nuisance and good for making bets on.
She offered no compassion or insight into what it might possibly feel like to be a person who has contemplated suicide or is a survivor of a loved one who committed suicide. I find it appalling that the community refuses to look into ways to help with the situation and help prevent future attempts.
Although I feel very sympathetic toward people who are affected by the jumpers, I don't know how they can expect a change, if they don't understand suicide and try to prevent it. Prevention strategies are the key, not selfish bellyaching.
Las Cruces, New Mexico