Bo Lozoff doesn't deny his sexual misconduct at Kindness House ("The two faces of Bo Lozoff," cover story, by Matt Saldaña, Aug. 27). He admits and excuses it.
Lozoff excuses his actions because, he says, he was overwhelmed by his spiritual energy—it wasn't his fault. There is nothing mystical or spiritual about what he did sexually with the women. It's evil, plain and simple.
Lozoff says he had to hurt the women to help them. This is a twist on the rapist's claim that "She really wanted it." In Lozoff's version, she needed to be violated by him to grow spiritually. Yet, Lozoff also denies that the women were hurt. His continued denial harms his victims further.
Lozoff had the perfect setup: captive parolees, a program that lured vulnerable, unsuspecting volunteers, private "counseling sessions," and an institution that covered for him and gave him legitimacy. One thing we can be sure of, there are more survivors than the brave women who have come forward so far. It's always that way.
One of the most disturbing aspects of this sordid affair is that Lozoff's defenders excuse his behavior toward these women because he helped other people. Do they mean it's OK for me to break your leg as long as I help other people to walk?
Lozoff doesn't think he did anything wrong, doesn't think he hurt anyone, and doesn't take responsibility for what he did. He is free to repeat his actions whenever the spirit moves him. I call on Orange County District Attorney Jim Woodall to investigate Lozoff and the Human Kindness Foundation board on allegations of sexual assault, practicing counseling without a license, illegal treatment of the parolees and mishandling of foundation funds, and if crimes were committed, to prosecute them to the full extent of the law.
Few human beings are perfect and very few have made the critically important positive impact on as many lives as have Bo and Sita Lozoff and the Human Kindness Foundation. To attempt to eclipse the invaluable and life-changing work of decades with the prurient reporting of unfortunate events out of context strikes me as misdirected energy.
As I read the recent very negative article about an individual and an organization for whom I have great respect and admiration (still), several things occurred to me. First, I've never heard anyone claim that Bo Lozoff is a mindreader. Apparently, the women (well after the events in question) decided that they were uncomfortable at the time of those events. How unfortunate that they were unable to communicate their discomfort to the appropriate person (Lozoff) at the appropriate time (then). Like most humans, I have done things that I later felt bad about. Fortunately, rather than blame whoever else was involved, identifying myself as a victim and seeking retribution, I've learned from my own mistakes and, if I truly felt wronged or used by someone else, I talked to that person directly. I found the tone and content of the whole article offensively hostile and judgmental.
Terrible trauma and among the darkest of human sufferings are what originally brought me to the teachings of Bo Lozoff through his books and the work of Human Kindness Foundation. There is no measure for the deep transformations and soulful healings I have experienced (as well as members of my family), that are attributable to his writings and these compassionate and dedicated people. My heart breaks that others have found only pain here.
My observation is that this article has not solved anything for anyone, including the woman who initiated it, though I pray that she and all who came forward find value in having raised their voices. In my experience, healing occurs in infinite ways, as wounding does. One's healing may even be another's wounding, as suggested by some of these stories. Some means are beyond our comprehension. Others are completely within our own power.
I agree that healing is what needs to happen now. Without discriminations, without claim to know who's right or wrong, may the divine ones remember us and bring peace to our hearts. Not just for Lozoff, but for anyone else who feels wounded and damaged by life's experiences.
Through grace and practice, all blessings.
Many, many photographers, known and unknown, all with their own vision, and all with their own reasons for doing so, have photographed, and are now photographing, in post-Katrina New Orleans.
Reading in the Independent and elsewhere about John Rosenthal's experience photographing in the Ninth Ward, one gets the impression that Rosenthal's images comprise the sole pictorial record, and that he is the area's lone "archivist" ("All the clocks stopped at 3:47," by Kate Dobbs Ariail, Aug. 27). It was "just me," he said in these pages; "As far as I could see, nobody else was doing it," he has stated elsewhere.
Rosenthal's fine photographs are unique because they're his own, of course. But the subject of the work is not unique: Rosenthal is one of a number of photographers to focus their attention on the Ninth Ward. The attention being paid to Rosenthal's New Orleans portfolio is well-deserved: He has long been a spokesman and a champion for photography. Neglecting to recognize the sincere work of other photographers is surely an oversight on his part.
I was stunned and appalled to read that Duke University is planning a holocaust against the deer in Duke Forest ("Deer hunters to take over Duke Forest this fall," Indy Triangulator blog, Sept. 5). It doesn't seem possible that one of the most respected institutions of higher learning in this country is advocating 19th-century means of creating a balance of nature, advocating a plan that amounts to little more than shooting fish in a barrel.
What is admired as a pastoral refuge will be turned into a killing field. A landscape known for its tranquility and beauty will be blasted by gunfire and smeared with the blood of peaceful animals.
Surely with all the resources—pecuniary and intellectual—available, Duke can do better than this.