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Wednesday February 7, 2001

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Letters to the editor

Underage drinking inevitable

I am writing in response to a letter written in Monday's Wildcat by Dave Heacock of the UA security. He says he has seen "first-hand the destructive nature effects" of alcohol, and would agree to even a raise in the legal limit, which prompts me to ask: how many 18-year-olds has the age limit stopped from drinking? Can you honestly say that the legal limit, which Heacock himself calls arbitrary, has stopped a single 18-year-old from getting a beer if he really wanted one? And if so, why do so many end up on the Dean of Students diversion program?

Another point Heacock seems to imply is that the big problem is the 18-20 year olds, as if you become a responsible drinker from scratch at age 21. What percentage of those "incidents involving alcohol" are comprised of 'legal' drinkers? Is there really such a tremendous drop off? If there is any increase in responsibility from 18 to 21, a lot of that is likely due to the fact that the kids learned their limit from their 'crazy freshman days.'

I'd be fine with 12-year-olds buying a glass of wine or a beer with their allowance, because they'd still be under their parents care, they'd be too young to drive and they'd get a head start on learning to drink responsibly. The problem with the legal limit is that it gives people too much freedom all at once. The learning curve is zero-to-belligerent as soon as you move away from home - since most 18-year olds can get anything they want from older friends.

I agree with Dave Heacock's disgust at the level of irresponsibility in today's youth culture concerning drinking. I just don't think that promoting grounds for rebellion and the thrill of doing something taboo is the right way to teach responsibility.

Todd Arena

philosophy freshman

Latney an inspiration to all

I was moved to write after reading Professor Jim Todd's tribute to Renee Latney in the Wildcat on Feb. 6. I too met Renee last year about this time. She came to see me about some legal issues and we became friends. As Professor Todd said, Renee's dream was to become a lawyer, and we talked about that and what she wanted to do with her law degree, help the elderly. We also talked about our children, the university and life in general. I enjoyed her intelligence, her kindness, her irreverence and her sense of humor.

Even when she told me that her breast cancer had recurred, I was sure she would be able to beat it. She had such strength and will and such a love of life, I could not imagine that the disease would win. She fought it to the end, for herself and for her daughter, who she desperately did not want to leave. Renee's life was not easy, but despite or perhaps because of that she took nothing for granted. She did not believe she was owed anything, and she was grateful for all that she had.

The last time I saw Renee was just 10 days before she died. She knew by then that the cancer had spread, and that she wouldn't make it. She was hoping for six months or a year, but that wasn't given to her. Even at that point, knowing that she was going to die, she told me how lucky she was, how much she had, how rich she was in the kindness of others. I have never met anyone quite like Renee, and her death is loss to us all-to the legal profession, to the University community, to her friends, and especially to her daughter. She inspired me while she was living and she continues to inspire me now that she is gone-to take nothing for granted, to be grateful for all I have, and to laugh.

Susan Ferrell

Student Legal Services advisor

Pizza Hut ad not a big deal

I don't think that a majority of the people really gave a damn that Penn and Teller did the knife sketch for Pizza Hut. Remember, Penn and Teller have been doing bits like this since they formed. If five people get really offended by this, then they are reading into a commercial way to much. This type of free time really disturbs me.

Of course, there are going to be people who are naturally going to say, 'Aren't you sensitive to the people who this really affects?' Well of course. A loss of human life is really sad. But, when people are going to get upset over a commercial, it's out of hand. Dan Quayle did a commercial with potato(e) chips. A complete offense to anyone who ever spelled potato(e) correctly. I'm sure right now there are people of Visi-Gothic descent that are really pissed off by the Capitol One ads. Kids who get things stuck in trees are crying foul, speaking of trees, and I'm more than sure that firefighters around the country are in an uproar over the latest credit card commercial. The Devil must be fuming right now because of the PT Cruiser ad. Really, would the Devil trade a soul for a PT Cruiser? And we men should be pissed as can be over's ad about our shopping skills. Christ, we don't buy 90-packs of toilet paper. Though we might if they sold it at that quantity.

Penn and Teller have been doing magic/comedy since before the Pizza Hut killings. So, if they do a commercial which depicts some violence in Penn and Teller taste- well then damn, I think it might be high-time someone pulls that stick out of their ass.

Casey Ontiveros

political science senior