Hate crimes are typical here
Regarding: "Victim no more" by Linda Sickler:
I was also beaten in City Market, a few years back, with many of the cityís finest being two blocks away. My friend and one other were walking when we were attacked for what seemed a hate crime as well.
I went to SCAD and graduated in 1997 and have moved back to this city in disappointment. After living here for nearly four years, since 2001, I would never ask someone to move here.
I think that the city is focused too much on what "entertainment" and money that can be made off its alcoholics than what can be done to secure the integrity of the history and charm that makes Savannah a once-good city to live in.
People seem too bored in the city, with way too much alcohol in their system to sustain from violence. You can see trouble coming and the trouble is all around this city...
Take action against hate
I read your article about the hate crime against Travis. I don't know him but I am hurt and saddened that someone would attack such a gentle looking young man just because of his appearance.
This story, in addition to the state knocking out the hate crimes bill, has been getting a lot of attention in Atlanta. I am hoping that I can help it get more and that we can get the attention of the city and police department in Savannah.
I have created an online petition to boycott tourism to the city until they rectify the issue. If you are willing, please pass this on.
Here is the e-mail I sent out to my circle with the petition link:
"I am not sure how many of you are aware of the recent hate crimes that occurred in Savannah, GA. Two of the crimes were against gay men and one was against an African American man. The response by Savannah and their police department has been appalling. To add salt to the wound, the great state of Georgia just struck down a hate crimes bill that was presented to the state senate.
"Yes, Georgia, the home of Martin Luther King Jr. and Rosa Parks, struck down a hate crimes bill that would have made crimes motivated by hate carry stiffer penalties.
"I am just one person who is saddened and angered by the recent happenings. I am hoping that my friends and family feel the same way. I have created a petition to boycott tourism to the City of Savannah in protest to the lack of response to the recent crimes. My goal is just a small number: 100,000 signatures.
"I am asking you guys and girls to do two things: 1. Sign my petition; 2. Pass it on to as many people as you possibly can. There is no place in this world for bigotry and hate towards innocent people. I hope you feel the same way, too.Î
Cops had no excuse
After reading the recent cover story "Victim no more," I had to respond to the appalling level of incompetence and apathy displayed by the responding officers.
As a former law enforcement official from Arkansas, I know first-hand how stressful the job can be, but there is NO excuse for treating the victims of a crime in such a way. An officer shouldnít need three days of sensitivity training to teach him how to be a decent human being. If he does, I question whether such a person belongs in ANY position where he is responsible for the safety of another human being.
Unfortunately, I also know that slaps on the wrists and coverups are status quo in departments strapped for employees, resources, and cash.
Do not be surprised if nothing more is done to those who responded so poorly than a few days off without pay and a reprimand. Itís disgusting, but it happens on a regular basis all across this country, not just in Savannah.
When this city gets serious about paying officers reasonably for the job they do, it may see a rise in the quality of the enforcement. Until then, expect more of the same. Some office workers for the department have larger starting salaries than the men and women risking their lives every day on the street.
The old adage is true. You get what you pay for.
Speaking of abuse...
We've, for a long time now, been saddened, sickened and frustrated by the awful, terrible and horrible way in which gays and blacks have been treated in our "fair" city. Now, another sad event has raised its ugly head.
What event, you may ask? Well, I'll tell you. And, no, itís not as bad as the above mentioned happenings, but still, itís worth mentioning.
Long time, hard working, loyal and faithful poll workers such as myself are being shoved aside so that those who've not worked nearly as long as we have can be put in our places. Now, if weíd been unworthy, one could understand, could condone these actions taking place. But, we've been true blue, yes indeed we have.
I don't think 'tis proper, 'tis right to do us this way, no, not after all the years of hard work that we've put in. But, I suppose that such is the way of all flesh.
Cindy C. Brown
Canadian reader weighs in
As you might imagine we do not Connect with Savannah very often here in Manitoba. However, a student of mine from the University of Winnipeg) returned from a St. Patrick's vacation in Savannah and brought a copy of your publication back for me to peruse.
In reading Matt Brunsonís article about the Oscar upset with Crash I found myself intrigued by his contention that homophobia may well have undercut Brokeback Mountain's chances of taking Best Picture. However, that would not explain Philip Seymour Hoffman's Best Actor award for Capote.
Letís face it, Truman was no closet homosexual. He was flagrant and flambuoyant. Certainly, I am not arguing that Hoffman did not deserve the award. Having had the privilege of observing his work on set, I was impressed at how he never let go of his character even on the down time between takes.
Of course, because the majority of Capote was shot in our province and used local talent in secondary roles there was a lot of local interest to see not only how the film would appear in its finished state but how it would fare in the eyes of the critics and the public.
So you'll forgive my wondering at Mr. Brunsonís failure to mention the film in his theory about Brokeback Mountain and homophobia. Surely, he was not worried that Capote's success would contradict his theory about the academyís conservatism, which I would say has been proven over and over as he so rightly illustrates by example.
On another topic, I noted you had Lunasa and Dervish playing over the St. Patís Day celebrations. Congrats, you had two fabulous traditional bands to hear in one week. And Bela Fleck too! Let alone all those blues legends.
(My daughter at two years old had a conversation with Pinetop Perkins, then in his late eighties, backstage at the Winnipeg Folk Festival, which none of us understood but the two of them thoroughly enjoyed. That man is amazing.)
Dismayed at symphony piece
I was a full-time Savannah symphony musician for almost 19 years. I was also associate conductor for the SSO Civic Orchestra. I read Jim Reedís article ìAccelerandoÎ with great dismay.
The musicians were not responsible for the demise of the Savannah Symphony but they and their children have suffered more than anyone. This college student orchestra is, and your article will contribute to that.
It's troubling that so many people in this community have forgotten what we had here. My colleagues and I put our heart and soul and indeed the substance of our working lives into contributing to this community. If there had not been an orchestra of professional union musicians they surely would not have come here, and could not have performed such demanding programs as they did.
These musicians performed in the schools, in churches in city parks and eldercare facilities. We taught and continue to instruct hundreds of Savannah's children, some of which are now enjoying careers in music. The professional union Symphony musiciansí activities included community out reach, lectures, scholarships a "Messiah" sing a long. The list goes on and on.
Would you want a college student police force or college student doctors?
Most of the professional musicians I know haven't been asked to play for this student group and to my knowledge the professional musicianís union has not been approached by Georgia Southern.
I've been a professional musician for about 30 years. I have high expectations of myself and those I work with. I wouldn't play for an amateur group. Those so-called professional musicians that are willing to may be in need more training in an orchestral environment with lower expectations than a professional organization, or maybe it's time for them to enter a new kind of work.
Savannah is growing in so many ways the performing arts should be a part of that. Why must Savannah be a cultural second class city, should it be considered a suburb of Statesboro in that regard? A great city deserves a great symphony orchestra.
Many say that Savannahians would not know the difference. I think they are more discriminating than that. I think they would know the difference. The concert-going public should not have just make do with a college student group.
David L. Warshauer , Bassist