There's room for private paramedics

To the editor:

I have served this valley for almost 20 years as a private sector paramedic and I am completely disgusted by the firefighter union's attacks upon myself and my co-workers (John Smith, Thursday column).

The 911 system in Las Vegas is a model of how well dual response works in a busy urban 911 system. This model allows for rapid response and overlap to ensure somebody is always on scene to provide patient care. But tactics by members of the firefighter unions to beat their chest and try to take control has compromised patient care,

Medic West and AMR serve this community at no cost and our transport fees are set by the county and are the same fees the Fire Department charges.The issue at hand is the extreme firefighter salaries that are breaking city budgets.

The fact the unions are flexing there muscle is absurd. Antics by members of the firefighter unions over scene control and who will transport are going to cost lives.

Brett Olbur

Las Vegas

Opt out

To the editor:

I believe the only reason the national opt-out protest of the new TSA full body X-ray machines failed was simply because travelers wanted to get home for Thanksgiving with the fewest delays possible.

The real way to end these obtrusive, unconstitutional, unwarranted searches is for everyone to opt-out and demand the even more demeaning pat-downs from now on.

The TSA will eventually get rid of the X-ray machines when the public stops submitting to them.

I also think the best way to protest the pat-downs is for all males to wear kilts and all women to wear skirts, all without wearing any underwear. Let the TSA screeners really "touch your junk" and see how they like it. Perhaps eating a pound of guacamole before going through the security lines will make an even "fresher" impression.

Anyone who gropes and molests me deserves a "tip."

J. Collier


Nothing there

To the editor:

It is people like Roger Witcher who show how far our once great country has declined (Tuesday letter, "Quit whining about security and take it").

To give up your constitutional rights and your dignity for a false sense of security is truly pathetic.

One day, I promise Mr. Witcher that the government is going to come after something he does care about and there won't be anybody left to stop them.

Until the American people stand up and say "Enough," the government will continue to make a mockery of our Constitution. Benjamin Franklin's famous quote, "Those who would give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety," was directed at those such as Mr. Witcher, people who don't worry about the government groping their crotch because they have nothing there.

Bill Edwards

Las Vegas

UNLV faculty

To the editor:

As a UNLV faculty member, I want to thank you for running responses corrective of colleague William Epstein's negative piece on the university.

I also want to remind you that in fact many UNLV faculty are indeed actively involved in the community, to a degree much greater than almost any other employer or industry in the region.

I could point to myself, as head of the Nevada Faculty Alliance, which actively involves itself in the civic life of the region and state, and as former president of the Southridge Neighborhood Association which has been actively involved in the civic life of the residential downtown.

But there are so many others, beginning obviously with Rep. Dina Titus, and including (just to pick a recent example) the faculty who started a community food bank on campus to collect donations from faculty to support students and classified staff in need.

I would suggest that your readers would be well served to look into the active role of UNLV faculty and staff in the community as a basis for further reporting. What you will find, I believe, would lead readers to question Geoff Schumacher's assessment in his Friday column.

Lastly, I'm quite surprised by Mr. Schumacher's comment that few faculty are interested in Las Vegas or that many are concerned with events "halfway around the world." First of all, I expect that if you were to compare the proportion of UNLV research conducted on the region with the proportion conducted in that same area at other major universities -- such as UCLA or Berkeley or Yale or Harvard -- you'd find that there is much greater interest in studying our region here than there is elsewhere. I do think that much of this work is under-reported (unless it focuses on prostitution or gaming) but that's another story for you to consider covering.

Moreover, I think its unfair and incorrect to assert that faculty who study topics "half a world away" are not contributing to discussion of local issues. I am a scholar of Europe and teach European and world history, and I consider this research and teaching to be absolutely essential to and in no way at odds with my personal involvement in the community.

After all, so many of our problems come from the limited horizons and perspectives of our fellow citizens, many of whom have little awareness or interest in events and policies in other times and places that shed light on our major problems.

One actually shudders to think how more constricted our public discourse would be if UNLV did not provide one of the only, if not the only, window onto the wider world and wider scope of human experience and limited itself to the hic et nunc.

Thank you again for your attention to the UNLV community, and I urge you to follow up that attention with a closer look at the role of the UNLV faculty in the community and local culture.

Gregory Brown

Las Vegas

The writer is a UNLV history professor and president of the UNLV Faculty Alliance.