I first met Stu Hedley (“Grenades, rockets, bombs, machine gun fire in San Diegans’ ears,” Cover Story, August 29). some time in the early 2000s on/around Pearl Harbor Day when my wife and I visited the Survivors Association to learn what we could firsthand, for an article in a local college newspaper.
Stu told us much the same story as recounted in your article. One thing I still recall is how when he was allowed back on the West Virginia to gather personal belongings he was glad to find his locker still intact. When he opened it there sat his clothes and personal effects neatly folded as he’d left them. Then he touched them and they crumbled to ashes. The intense heat of the burning ship had incinerated everything inside without disturbing it. After the war, Stu met former Imperial Japanese Navy Capt. Mitsuo Fuchida, who gave the command, “Tora! Tora! Tora!” to lead the attack. Fuchida originally had no regrets about Pearl Harbor because he had a low opinion of Westerners. He later learned of the good treatment of Japanese prisoners by American captors, and met American prisoners who had been tortured and forgiven their Japanese captors. This was part of Fuchida’s journey to becoming a Christian evangelist and befriending Billy Graham. Stu told me he and Fuchida became good friends during post-war friendship tours.
Twenty-two years ago, North Park was one hundred years old (“When one door closes, another opens”, Neighborhood News, August 27). A new “organism” which was supposed to assist with revitalization was brought to the community by a phony financial planner. When I realized he was not a real financial planner I called my girlfriend in La Mesa who is one and Don Bauder. We found out that they were disreputable. They claimed that they had revitalized Times Square in New York City. I had a friend who worked for Ed Koch at the time. Ed Koch said Hell no! It was defunded by the federal government fifteen years prior. That was twenty-two years ago! The phony financial planner embezzled from local non-profits and enjoyed taking local politicos to lunch and breakfast at local restaurants. He chose to end the music by his own hand. Back where I come from this could never happen. We would escort the “tapestry-sided luggage” people to the town edge. But I did not just get off the bus from there with hay in my hair, boys! I had to stand up for the Redwing Restaurant twenty years ago. No one stood with me. I stood alone.
So, if you want to quote the right-wing talking points of homophobes in a value neutral way, without commentary or analysis, that’s unfortunately the standard style of journalism (“Does sexual orientation change go only one way?” News Ticker, August 23). But the choice of headline, either by the author, Eric Bartl, or your editors, suggests someone is about 30 years behind the times in their attitudes toward sexuality, and trying to sneakily editorialize.
The title presupposes everyone is born straight, and that when they come out that’s the “One Way” they “changed” their sexual orientation. That it was a spur of-the-moment lifestyle decision, like a new haircut or workout regimen. If you can switch once, why not twice, right? Repeat after me: No one “changes” their orientation and straight is not the default. If it weren’t for the influence of homophobes, kids who are born a certain way would feel free to grow up as gay, bi, asexual trans or anything else as they hit puberty, the way straight kids are allowed to.
That people come out later in life is due to them fearing they might lose their friends, their family or their lives, because of homophobes. Some probably don’t come out because they’re worried they’ll get sent to these camps to be tortured by homophobes. This isn’t some cola wars-style marketing battle. This is about outlawing the sexual torture of children, and someone at the Reader is either sympathetic to the torturers, or so oblivious and disinterested in the experience of a huge part of San Diego’s population as to make no difference.