Issue 292 | The Sun Magazine

April 2000

Readers Write

Crimes And Misdemeanors

A partner in crime, Walt Whitman’s Leaves of Grass, a double-dog dare

By Our Readers
Sy Safransky's Notebook

April 2000

When I’ve fallen under the spell, when I’m convinced that God doesn’t exist, that love is an illusion, how do I remind myself I’m profoundly mistaken — not just a little wrong, but as wrong as I can be? As wrong as Rush Limbaugh. As wrong as the Nazis and the Ku Klux Klan.

By Sy Safransky


If one is going to change things, one has to make a fuss and catch the eye of the world.

Elizabeth Janeway

The Sun Interview

Urban Renewal

The Resurrection Of An Ex-Gang Member — An Interview With Luis Rodríguez

Someone once pointed out to me that the word respect comes from the latin respectus, which means “to see again.” It’s a beautiful concept. We have to see each other again. We have to see the gang member again, and the poor farmer, too. As we see them again, we find they’re not that different from us, that a thread connects us all: the Indian on the reservation and the immigrant just arriving on these shores; the middle-class kid in the suburbs and the gang member in the inner city. The more we look, the thicker that thread becomes. Sometimes it may be invisible, but it’s there. We’ve got to make it more visible. There is no such thing as a separate reality. What we do here affects people over there.

By Derrick Jensen
Essays, Memoirs, & True Stories

Sitting In The Dark

Before I became a schoolteacher, I hardly thought about television at all, but a short time after I started teaching, I discovered that the kids in class who drove me crazy were always big TV-watchers. TV-addicted kids, I found, were irresponsible and childish, malicious to each other and chronically bored. They whined a lot, ratted constantly on other students, and seemed unusually dishonest.

By John Taylor Gatto
Essays, Memoirs, & True Stories


Bull City looks like Fidel Castro: green fatigues, engineer’s cap, and mule-tail, anarchist beard. He’s from Missoula, Montana, but he took his fall — a life sentence — right up the road in Wilkes County, North Carolina. He carries a Bible, a dictionary, a prison-issue loose-leaf, and two sharpened pencils. He wants to be a writer.

By Joseph Bathanti
Essays, Memoirs, & True Stories

Skeleton Woman In Seattle

When I was able to open my eyes, I saw lying next to me a young man, nineteen, maybe twenty at the oldest. He was in shock, twitching and shivering uncontrollably from being tear-gassed and pepper-sprayed at close range. His burned eyes were tightly closed, and he was panting irregularly. Then he passed out. The sidewalk was wet from the water that a medic had poured over him to flush his eyes.

By Paul G. Hawken

A Life Without Consequences

The psychiatrist wants to know if I have allergies, if I take any medication. I tell him I have hay fever. He rubs his bald head; I rub mine. His window is covered with wire mesh. Outside, it’s starting to rain. He pages absently through his manual with a large thumb, not really looking for anything. I can feel the rain in my bones. Since I ran away a year ago, I’ve spent a lot of cold, wet nights huddled under boxes, hiding in boiler rooms. Running, running.

By Stephen Elliott