Why did The Blade give its Jan. 21 Saturday Essay space to the rantings of a very liberal Mike Ferner? No one wants to hear his excuse for defacing public property. We already know. His distaste for the American government is well known. He should be ashamed of himself. He is one of a few who are trying to demoralize our troops and giving hope to our enemy.
His images didn't mention anything about the World Trade Center or the Pentagon. If this fool thinks he can help world peace by his rantings, let him go to Iraq and practice his foolishness on the fanatics who blow themselves up to kill our people and their own people, or who chop off the heads of hostages.
While he is there, let the State Department pull his passport and they can keep him. Good riddance.
Well, isn't that special? Mike Ferner, a 50-something knave, tries to justify defacing public property in the name of civil disobedience. It appears as if he fancies himself a "Rosa Parks" in Toledo simply because he cannot get some images out of his head. Perhaps replacing those images with actual original thoughts of a grown man would help. Most adult citizens who engage in civil disobedience do not damage or deface public property. And there's the rub: Mr. Ferner is an adult, not some high school student.
He quotes from a Web site that apparently guides his actions in an attempt to justify his teenage behavior. He apparently can't, or won't, think on his own. The images in his head, as he relates them, are but a small part of the overall picture. Isn't it funny how he doesn't relate any of the images conjured up by thoughts of Uday and Qusay Hussein? Isn't it strange that of all the troops in Iraq, he just happened to be paired up with a couple who "think" the way he does?
Mike Ferner's essay wasn't worth the paper or ink used to print it. It's no wonder he served only four years in the Navy. Civil disobedience and defacing public property would never have been tolerated. What's next, burning down military recruiting stations to satisfy his need to be seen and heard?
I retired from a career in the Army in 1993 and worked in the medical field with countless veterans from the Vietnam War through the first Gulf War. Not once did I ever feel driven to damage public property.
John J. Schmidt, Jr.
I am a huge fan of well orchestrated civil disobedience; the more off-beat the better. Nevertheless I was surprised when Mike Ferner was arrested for defacing highway overpasses with anti-war messages. I don't know Mr. Ferner personally, but the activity in question seemed out of place for a man of his social standing.
What did he hope to accomplish? It's not as if a presidential motorcade was scheduled to pass by. The Blade let Mr. Ferner explain his philosophy in the Jan. 21 Saturday Essay. Comparing this civil disobedience to young lovers spray-painting a declaration of their eternal love and devotion for each other is an apples-oranges kind of thing.
When asked what prompted his civil rebellion, his response was: images, images, images, images - images of the lame, the blind, the crippled. Yeah, Mike, we get it. War is hell.
So his blood boils with indignation. Here the simile comparing his actions to those of young lovers may be apropos; neither entity can imagine anyone else ever feeling such deep passion.
To leave Iraq now would be a mistake. Imagine the adrenaline rush our withdrawal would give the insurgents. They would certainly view our pull-out as a victory; America the Great Satan has been slain, fueling the belief they are chosen by God to purge the world of infidels. We can help democracy take root in Iraq today, or our grandsons can try tomorrow.
Do my beliefs give me the right to spray paint "Stay the Course" on public property?
Overpass fascias do not belong to you or me; they belong to us. They are not our personal billboards. Let's leave the graffiti to the young lovers.
Good for Mike Ferner! In his Jan. 21 Saturday essay, he at least has described for us the side of this "non-war" that our government has kept so well hidden. I can recall instances when our leaders tried every way possible to prevent the photographing and publication of soldiers' caskets being shipped home from Iraq. So can you imagine how many American citizens' views might change if they were to tread Mike's path in Iraq and visit our maimed, disheartened, and suffering soldiers?
Rather than censure Mike for his style of civil disobedience, I, for one, think he should be commended for making the trip to witness for himself the tragic side of this invasion that we stay-at-homes will never have to experience.
VIRGINIA M. NICHOLS
I was surprised The Blade would give an acknowledged criminal a quarter page to make excuses for defacing public property and whimper about his treatment upon capture. Mr. Ferner seems surprised he was arrested, handcuffed, booked, and held on $3,000 bond. He should know this is what to expect when you commit a crime.
Most Americans, including many veterans, believe we need to stay in Iraq until it is able to handle its own security.
The overpass Mr. Ferner vandalized belongs to those Americans as much as it belongs to him. As with the case of most cut-and-run liberals, he thinks his views carry more weight than the views of the majority.
Maybe a hefty fine and some jail time will bring him down to earth. If Mr. Ferner wants to protest the effort to be successful in Iraq by committing a crime, then he shouldn't get his undies in a wad and go whine to the local paper about being treated like a criminal, which he is. He can't do his vandalism thing and expect to get special treatment.
A kid writing "I love Debbie" on an overpass probably feels as passionate about his message as Mr. Ferner does about his, but the kid is young and dumb. What's Mr. Ferner's excuse?
Mike Ferner's Jan. 21 Saturday Essay explaining his civil disobedience was on target. It's easy to dismiss a person like Mr. Ferner as one of "those radicals" or some other trite phrase. But we can't dismiss as trivial the terrible suffering that he points to.
And we all deserve better answers than the over-used explanations that our government uses to try to justify a war that did not need to be. Now they would have us believe that we did it all to spread democracy and that we have to stay there to see it through. Perhaps it's time to wake up and listen to a voice of reason. More war can only lead to more suffering and death for our soldiers and the same for Iraq's people, plus expenses that no one can afford.
Toledo is lucky to have a voice calling out in the darkness.
Poor Mike Ferner, he disgraced himself years ago in the Navy. The Navy got rid of him and he has thumbed his nose at America ever since. Mike has the right to speak his mind, but he is strangely like Jack Kevorkian in that only he can decide which laws apply to him.
The highway sign to our Fallen Timbers memorial on westbound U.S. 24 is also defaced with a similar message; it has not been repaired.
When Mike is commander in chief, the 3,000 deaths on 9/11 will never happen again.
Thank you for printing Mike Ferner's Jan. 21 Saturday Essay. I have known Mr. Ferner for 15 years as a man of conviction and integrity. Please place Mike in nomination for northwest Ohio Man of the Year. I am proud to live in the community where he provides provocative and forceful leadership.
Trudy Heintz Fails