Mail letters to Letters, Santa Fe Reporter, PO Box 2306, Santa Fe, NM 87504, deliver them to 132 E. Marcy St., fax them to 505-988-5348 or email them to the editor.

Adults aren't kids
Lucky for Sen. Phil Griego [D-Los Alamos] that he got away with drinking and driving so many times without killing anyone. I guess since "everybody does it," that makes it pretty normal to get into your car and not think about the lives of others.

In the first paragraph of the interview, Sen. Griego speaks to the need to educate the kids, but the last three drunk driving accidents in this area were caused by adults. Why talk about educating the kids when the kids were the victims of an adult drunk driver? Mr. Griego doesn't seem willing to even try to promote treatment for substance abuse, dismissing it completely as a money issue.

"Baby steps" will not cut it. Not everyone gets a second chance. Those four kids didn't. Your interview with Mr. Griego illustrates exactly why we have such a horrible drunk driving problem here in New Mexico. Legislators just are not willing to change the feeble DWI laws in this state.

But I do believe in my heart, Sen. Griego, that there are thousands of people in this community who will not forget those kids in "a couple months."
Gabrielle Petrissans
Santa Fe

More To Do
Thank you for your thorough coverage of the tragic dating violence homicides that devastated our community on May 22 and brought light to the extreme lethality of domestic violence. Esperanza Shelter for Battered Families appreciates SFR driving home the point that domestic violence is, all too often, an intergenerational cycle that, all too often, ends in murder. We also appreciate your keen focus on the breakdowns in the system that stymied the disruption of this cycle in the lives of the three victims and your encouragement for every one of us to step up rather than turn a blind eye.

As Santa Fe County's primary domestic violence service provider, we cannot verify whether we have served any particular client. But we can confirm that we, and our partner organizations throughout Santa Fe, are working diligently to stop domestic violence in its tracks. From establishing intervention protocol with law enforcement, the judiciary and even the county welfare office, to presentations on teen dating violence in schools to trainings for doctors' offices and beauty salons, we are seeking out every possible venue where victims, batterers and their children might be identified, screened and referred for services.

Are there serious gaps in services and breakdowns in the system? Clearly there are and, unfortunately, there is no magic formula for remedying such complex and pervasive dynamics overnight.

There is so much more that we need to do. Yet, when Esperanza was founded in the mid-1970s, most people could scarcely utter the word "domestic violence" or "abuse." Somewhere along the way, perhaps not in leaps but in small baby steps, we have made progress. And we have saved lives.
Kari Sullivan, Executive Assistant
Esperanza Shelter
Santa Fe

Call to Arms
I appreciate so much that you spent a cover article on the subject of the recent domestic violence tragedy. As part of Santa Fe's violence prevention community, I know what a devastating blow the murders were for each of us in the field. What hit us so hard was—exactly what you said—that everybody knew. It was great that this fact was the focus of the article. It was really a call to arms: We are the community that needs to say what we know.

Statistically, people are loath to intervene in domestic violence situations. But intervention doesn't mean risking your own safety to get in the middle of a fight. Calling to report it to the police is a tremendous way to stand against the situation. It is not useless or weak-willed to "just" call. It is also not being a nosy, busybody neighbor. It is being a responsible community member.
Darya Peterson
Program Coordinator
IMPACT Personal Safety
Santa Fe

Individual Actions
We applaud the Changs' decision not to pursue a liquor license for their Thunderbird Grill. They weighed the economic versus moral impact of serving liquor out on Route 14. They chose to do what they could to prevent further DWI tragedies. They chose to "be the change you wish to see in the world." They walked the walk despite the adverse economic impact on their business. We hope that their example will inspire other restaurant owners to make similar decisions.

Our community is devastated by the loss of four children's lives and the damage to the life of a fifth child. As we redouble our efforts to find ways to prevent further such tragedies, it is easy to become overwhelmed. Changes in societal systems take time and we don't have time. The next DWI tragedy may come next week or even tonight.

The Changs' decision is a reminder that each of us personally can make decisions about serving alcohol to friends or intervening when a friend should not get behind the wheel.
We urge everyone to support Thunderbird Grill. It is well worth the drive to Lone Butte for Thunderbird's excellent food, friendly service and beautiful setting.
Jenny and Pierr Johnson
Santa Fe

Don't Buy it
Simon Brackley's apparently successful co-option of the term "local" does a disservice to the Santa Fe community, the Chamber of Commerce he purports to lead and the brand-new "Buy Into It!" campaign. To say that buying stuff at Walmart is local spending is to claim a neighbor's tree is on your property simply because one leaf of one branch hangs over a tall adobe wall.

A huge percentage of dollars spent at locally owned businesses stays here indefinitely, while a super-sized majority of cash spent elsewhere leaves town overnight.

If Santa Fe becomes convinced that there is no difference between purchases made at a big-box and transactions made at independent mom-and-pops, soon we'll be stuck only with the former. If the chamber continues serving such baloney, its credibility will erode as quickly as Sarah Palin's after she claimed foreign policy experience could come from seeing a small part of one country clear across a shining sea.

Sure, most of us have to get some of our junk from our friendly neighborhood international conglomerate, but if "Santa Fe Buy Into It!" continues to adhere to such bite-me sophistry, we'll just have to imagine a few more letters stuck between the "Buy Into" and the "It," namely "B-u-l-l-s-h."
Nate Downey
Santa Fe

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