Living in a vacuum


Living in a vacuum

Your article on why paperless isn’t happening [“Between the sheets, February 26, 2008] reminded me of a story I heard about the introduction of the vacuum cleaner. The vacuum cleaner was intended to make keeping floors and carpets clean easier, more effective, more efficient, faster. Instead, it raised the standard of “clean”; because the vacuum cleaner could keep the floor cleaner, people expected floors to be cleaner…so they had to work just as hard, just differently. It seems to me that the computer and the printer are having the same effect: Because we can now, easily, get a perfect copy of everything, or because we can now have a copy of whatever we want wherever we are (no need to carry paper around), we DO it. Human nature.

Martha Dahlen
Campbell, California

Small-city hero

Thank you for your article entitled “Decade-old serial rape case comes to close” [Courts & Crime News, March 4, 2008].

Not ignoring the tremendous amount of work law enforcement officials and others did during the decade-long serial rapist investigation, a real hero(ine) in this case, to me, is the woman who gave the tip that led to Nathan Antonio Washington’s arrest. The $60,000 Crime Stoppers award is a token offering—the relief felt in this community is priceless.

In my imagination, I see this woman wanting to leave the area after being sexually assaulted and never coming back. I see her avoiding returning to the place of her contact with this man, to not have to relive the experience. Perhaps she and other victims did leave—their job, their home, their familiar surroundings. I see her as brave to either stay or return, thus being the one to spot him, get the license plate, report her observation, and ultimately be the one to provide the tip that, as the article states, “proved instrumental in linking Washington to the serial rapist’s seven attacks.”

In a weird way, I am grateful to the defendant, who took a high road and admitted guilt when he was caught, sparing “his victims the ordeal of appearing in court.”

Mo Nichols

Dying to clarify

I was very disturbed that your weekly newspaper elected to twist the meaning of my words in an interview I gave to Mr. Jayson Whitehead, “Tax hawks encircle county supes” [Government News, March 4, 2008]. The caption under my picture stated that “Peter Wurzer thinks government inefficiency is no more reasonable than murder.” Since I was the person who gave this 75-minute interview, I think I can best tell you what was meant. I made no comparison concerning “reasonableness”—that was your choice. My point was that in either case (murder or bureaucracy) neither is acceptable to me, but they have been with us for millennia. So that your readers have no misunderstanding, I certainly believe that murder is worse than excessive taxation and bureaucracy. I also believe that bureaucracy and the resulting over-taxation are damaging to our county and our country. I would appreciate a correction.

Peter J. Wurzer
Albemarle County