Opinion, June 25: “Love Not Gore”
In Defense of Sport
Mixed martial arts is often characterized as pure brutality, and as having no benefit for our society. I attribute this to the public's ignorance of the sport and ignorance of physical combat in general. As a fighter, I see at least two ways in which MMA benefits our society.
Firstly, it encourages an egoless approach to challenges. When a beginner enters a MMA gym, they discover how inadequate their understanding of physical combat is. To progress is a constant and grueling journey, one which the ego cannot survive. They worry less and less about how they will be viewed and instead focus on self improvement. This carries over to other parts of their lives.
Second, almost every mixed martial artist I have met is nonviolent outside of the ring. This may seem odd, but these men and women are usually the first to attempt to defuse a dangerous situation. Because they have a deep understanding of physical combat, if a situation becomes violent, they can almost always end it without someone being seriously injured.
As for brain damage, I fight and I played football. After every football practice, I had a headache from bashing my head into things. Not so with MMA practice.
I agree with Schrader that it would be good for our society to support young men showing more signs of affection. I would, however, like to point out that one of the first things to happen at the end of an MMA fight is that those young men, or women, usually hug it out.
Don Schrader is a colorful character with often insightful letters. Yet his recent missive equivocates male heterosexual affection and (presumably) homosexual "affectionate hot sex," displaying a deep misunderstanding of American male heterosexual culture. In my experience, American homophobia is rooted in male sexual insecurity. The least homophobic men are generally very secure in their sexual orientation and preferences, while the most homophobic seem to live in eternal fear of "catching the gay," constantly questioning their own and others' sexuality.
Like other early adolescent insecurities (body image, social status), homophobia is immature. But refusing to acknowledge someone else's sexuality is similarly immature. And sowing doubt among those who are already insecure? That's just stupid. Here's a more appropriate message for insecure straight men: If you enjoy sex with women, you're not gay, no matter how many man-hugs or man-snuggles you get.
News, July 2: “Verbal Judo”
I recommend exposing the general public to the same kinds of potential use-of-force scenarios officers encounter every day in which they must make a split-second decision as to whether or not to use deadly force. Perhaps some exposure to decisional shooting technology and simulators would help. If the public was able to see what kind of training officers must go through, they'd have a better understanding about how tough it is to make those kinds of decisions.
News, June 25: “40 Years Alt”
Your 40th-anniversary issue opened the floodgates of memory as I recalled my three years running an ornery Compugraphic typesetting machine in the basement of SFR's former digs on Montezuma Street.
Who would have thought that staying up until the wee hours to get out the definitive story about the riots at the State Pen or Dick McCord's David-and-Goliath battle against Gannett would now be so cherished in my heart?
Today I find myself editing, writing and being the webmaster of the website at the department of electrical and computer engineering at the University of New Mexico—truly a one-man band if there ever was one. And, until they make me change my ways, I'm using exactly the same time-honored crisp layout and clean writing style that Dick and his loyal editorial staff taught me way back in the '80s: Our tools back then may have been primitive, but they put our flashy modular, responsive websites and content management systems to shame.
Thanks for the memories, SFR, and thank you, Dick McCord, for helping me making me the writer and the stodgy designer/mensch that I am today!
A&C, June 18: “Barrel Racers, Blood and Broncos”
I love animals. We should not be cruel to them. Please don't go back to the Roman days. Lions in the arena. Bullfighting. Whale harvesting. Shark fin soup. Chains. Electric shock. Cages. Let's coexist with all the wonderful species. Love them. Treat them with kindness.
I am writing in response to your recent coverage of the rodeo. The rodeo is one tradition of Santa Fe that makes me ashamed of my city. Hearing that Mayor Javier Gonzales participated in a team roping event makes me angry. How can humans think it's okay to bully defenseless animals in front of large crowds simply for our pleasure? It is sickening to read about. Just because animals cannot verbally communicate with us does not mean they don't feel pain.
I urge people to think before they support this so-called "sport," which is blatant animal abuse. Only we have the power to make the world a place of kindness rather than cruelty for our fellow earthlings.
Anyone who has ever heard the terrified bawling of calves being "used" for roping practice cannot ignore the suffering, abuse, and terror that many rodeo sports cause animals. If we believe that rodeo's systematized violence stops at the rodeo grounds gate, we are deluding ourselves. Glorifying the violence in these competitions make violence commonplace and acceptable, hardening us to violence in our lives—in our homes, schools, families, and communities.
Domestic abuse is rampant and underreported: It is social disease that continues generation after generation, perpetuated by the belief that violence, control and force are acceptable ways of communicating.
How can a healthy society enjoy the cruelty involved in roping a running calf so it flips over backwards? It's time that we replace the unnecessary shows of "cowboy prowess" and feature only competitions that exemplify the noble and honorable qualities in human and animal relations. What inspires us more than the magical collaboration between horse and rider or handler? This is a true thrill, true evidence of mastery, and exemplifies the best in just and peaceful human and animal relations upon which a health society is based.
Executive Director, NM Chapter,
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