Along comes SF Weekly's George Cothran, takes one of these cards, lumps me together in his mind with people pasting rhetoric over memorial messages, never attempts to contact me, prints my name, phone number, and e-mail address in his column, and asks his readers to "contact Billy and tell him what an incredibly inappropriate and ignorant ass he is."
So far, three obnoxious men have responded anonymously to his incitement, two leaving somewhat threatening messages and one shaming me for callously promoting my "business." (Reality: The project is a labor of love. I donate my own time and money to promote dedicated urban bikeways for safer bicycling; a Web site will be up soon.)
Was it inappropriate to distribute the cards at the vigil? Maybe, maybe not. At best, Cothran way overreacted. At worst -- well, I'd rather not reciprocate his insults, but having experienced firsthand his apparent love of vitriolic cheap shots, I will take with a mountain of salt anything of his that I might accidentally read in the future. I suggest that his readers do so, too -- especially those inclined to pick up the phone to insult on command someone that Cothran doesn't have the guts or decency to contact himself.
Billy Ray Boyd
Apologies All Round
I was sad to see your columnist, George Cothran, lash out against those who gathered together in the wake of the tragic loss of a fellow cyclist ("The Politics of Arrogance," Cothran).
Cothran rails against the "unredeemable jerk" with a camera (me) for documenting yet another memorial. He derides the chalk-inscribed well-wishes, decorations, and art which blossomed all over that street corner as being "graffiti," although such offerings are legal, and he further attacks the one which stated simply, "Cars kill everything," totally insensitive to the truth of that statement and the pain from whence it springs.
I'd like to sincerely offer my heartfelt apologies to whomever was upset by our diverse and unrehearsed presence, although I don't know at all how to have done it differently. If we seemed callous at times, perhaps it is because we have been through this too many times already. But I think that if an apology is to be bestowed, Cothran owes us the larger one.
Guns Don't Kill Pigs. People Kill Pigs.
It is appalling that in a climate increasingly wracked by violence, much of it gun-related, SF Weekly would print a piece on killing for fun ("How to Stalk, Kill, and Cook a California Wild Pig," Sept. 2).
Surely, of the small percentage (estimated at 7 percent) of Americans who indulge in this so-called sport, extremely few live in the Bay Area. It is unfortunate that your seemingly progressive paper should have pandered to a tiny minority of individuals who take pleasure in aiming a weapon at a living creature in flight for its life. Such killers derive thrills from annihilating beings that are possessed of as many senses, including those of fear and pain, as we have.
The California office of the Fund for Animals is much in opposition to such an activity, which we regard as cruel. We suspect many of your enlightened readers are repulsed as well, if indeed they remain readers of a publication that pushes perversions in which they have no interest.
Virginia Handley, California Coordinator
The Fund for Animals Inc.
Gross, Stupid, and Cruel
"Unless I become a vegetarian," Thomas McGuane is quoted, "I'll get my meat by hunting for it" ("How to Stalk, Kill, and Cook a California Wild Pig"). I stood at that crossroads 32 years ago, but framed it oppositely: If I was no longer willing to stalk and kill, then I should become vegetarian.
You see, I was raised with the hunt. We killed for meat, and we killed for sport. While the hunt was exciting, the actual killing disturbed me. I learned that every creature values her or his life as much as I do mine, and that for me to cause unnecessary suffering or death was to do violence to something precious within me.
Both wildness and compassion are important expressions of who we are. If we try, we can find ways to touch our wildness that allow us to remain true to the voice within not to hurt, violate, dominate, or kill.
The wild pig hunt described in this article illustrates well the astounding capacity of the human mind to rationalize and even idealize that which is gross, stupid, and cruel.
Billy Ray Boyd
Meatloaf Is Murder
I AM CONFUSED BY THE RABIDLY NEGATIVE REACTIONS EXHIBITED BY SOME READERS TO YOUR WILD PIG ARTICLE ("HOW TO STALK, KILL, AND COOK A CALIFORNIA WILD PIG"), ESPECIALLY BY THE OPINIONS EXPRESSED BY LYNN SUNDAY, LAURA WILLS, AND NANCY SWANSON IN YOUR LETTERS SECTION (SEPT. 16). SO "ONLY ABOUT 7 PERCENT OF AMERICANS HUNT AT ALL"? MANY MORE AMERICANS THAN THAT EAT MEAT. YOU FOUND DESCRIPTIONS OF THE HUNT "BOTH HORRIFYING AND DISGUSTING"? THAT IS THE REALITY OF HOW ANIMALS ARE DESTROYED FOR PROCESSING AND CONSUMPTION.
AS A CULINARY STUDENT I AM SOMETIMES REQUIRED TO GRIND MEAT INTO SPECTACULARLY UNAPPETIZING PILES -- WHICH ARE LATER BLITHELY EATEN BY CUSTOMERS AS HAMBURGERS OR MEATLOAF. BUT IN THIS SAME GROUP OF CUSTOMERS ARE PEOPLE WHO WILL NOT EAT CHICKEN WITH THE BONE STILL IN BECAUSE IT REMINDS THEM OF THE LIVING CREATURE.
MUST EVERYTHING BE SANITIZED FOR OUR PROTECTION?
Bigots and Fascists, Oh My
WOW! I STILL CAN'T BELIEVE SF WEEKLY ACTUALLY PRINTED AN ARTICLE (THE COVER STORY, NO LESS!) ABOUT HUNTING WILD PIGS ("HOW TO STALK, KILL, AND COOK A CALIFORNIA WILD PIG"). I HOPE YOU ARE BRACED FOR THE INCREDIBLE ONSLAUGHT OF SELF-RIGHTEOUS HATE MAIL YOU ARE SURELY GOING TO RECEIVE.
I WOULD LIKE TO CONFESS THAT I TOO AM A HUNTER OF FERAL PIGS. "WILD PIGS" IS A MISNOMER, AS THEY ARE NOT WILD ANIMALS AT ALL, BUT RATHER THE HYBRIDIZED DESCENDANTS OF DOMESTIC SWINE WHICH HAVE ESCAPED INTO THE WILDS OF CALIFORNIA. THEY DO NOT BELONG HERE AND HAVE NO NATURAL ROLE IN OUR ECOSYSTEM, NOR ANY NATURAL PREDATORS OTHER THAN HOMO SAPIENS. IN PC-SPEAK, YOU COULD SAY THESE ARE "FREE-RANGE PIGS." HUMANS RELEASED THEM ON THIS CONTINENT, AND NOW HUMANS ARE RESPONSIBLE FOR CONTROLLING THEIR NUMBERS. AND IF YOU BELIEVE THAT IT IS ETHICAL FOR HUMANS TO EAT MEAT, THEN IT IS ETHICAL TO EAT, AND HUNT, THESE PIGS.
IF YOU DO NOT THINK IT IS ETHICAL FOR HUMANS TO EAT MEAT, I DON'T CARE TO DEBATE THIS WITH YOU IN THIS LETTER. JUST REMEMBER IT'S STILL A FREE COUNTRY -- FOR THE TIME BEING AT LEAST.
YOU WOULD THINK THAT IN OUR SELF-PROCLAIMED OPEN-MINDED CITY THERE WOULD BE ROOM FOR ALL VIEWPOINTS. ALAS, THIS IS SAN FRANCISCO, WHERE THE FREETHINKERS CAME TO ESCAPE THE OPPRESSION OF THE BIGOTS AND FASCISTS, UNTIL THE FREETHINKERS OUTNUMBERED THE BIGOTS AND FASCISTS, AND STARTED ACTING LIKE, WELL, BIGOTS AND FASCISTS.
AS A HUNTER AND CARNIVORE, I EXPECT LESS ACCEPTANCE OF MY VIEWS THAN IF I WERE TO CONFESS TO BEING A PEDOPHILE AND VIOLENT CRIMINAL. THEREFORE I AM COMPELLED TO TAKE THE SAME ROUTE AS YOUR TWO HUNTERS AND REMAIN ANONYMOUS.
THANK YOU FOR A MOST UNEXPECTED AND UNUSUAL STORY. I HAD THOUGHT I WAS COMPLETE-LY ALONE.
Intolerance by Any Other Name
In response to the letter from Nestor Makhno entitled "Yuppie Bastards: Caveat Emptor" (Letters, Sept. 16), one should look to other ways of correcting wrongs in today's society instead of adding to them.
I was quite disgusted to read that a group would actually preach intolerance in addition to the destruction of personal property. When I moved to San Francisco three years ago I moved here because San Francisco was a town that embraced differences -- or so I thought. I never thought that a group would propose and spend so much time on car-bashing.
Howard Feitel Jr.
Neighborhood Evoluntionary Theory
So what gives Benjamin von Ullrich and Nestor Makhno the right to set aside SOMA and the Mission as permanent reservations for underemployed, twentynothings to hang out in (Letters, Sept. 16)?
Every neighborhood in this city has gone through several different incarnations in the last few hundred years, and will continue evolving. SOMA started out as an industrial district. Because it was relatively abandoned at night, gay leather bars opened there in the late 1960s and 1970s. Now straight clubs are locating there. In the 1860s the Mission was a garden suburb. Later, it was a working-class, Irish-American neighborhood. And later still, it became home to immigrants from Latin America. Now, new money is finding its way back into the neighborhood.
And guess what? This is a good thing. Increased property values mean increased tax revenue, which pays for all the things that San Franciscans hold dear.
News From a Higher Plane
As admitted, and I respect you for that, you didn't speak to Lin Yun ("In the Money Corner," Aug. 26). If you had, and asked the right questions, he would tell you to seek your own path of feng shui and personal enlightenment as well as to seek your own spiritual evolution, which is the wisdom of a true visionary. He is a catalyst of hope, faith, and graciousness in one's personal capacity and the celebration of life rather than being part of a limited society whose only ridiculous concern is if a president "did it."
Author, Earth Design: Feng Shui Today; The Essence of Feng Shui: Balancing Your Home, Body, and Life With Fra-grance, Contemporary Earth Design: A Feng Shui Anthology