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Letters to the Editor (8/21/19)


Published August 21, 2019 at 10:00 a.m.
Updated August 27, 2019 at 5:25 p.m.

Firearms Facts

[Re Feedback: "Fact-Check, Please"; "Not-So-Great Guns," August 14]: Yes, fact-check. Recent writers have made quite a few misstatements about guns. I suggest that the anti-gunners educate themselves before deciding where they stand.

Some of the misstatements:

• Military assault weapons. The AR-15 pattern rifle is not military; it just resembles the M-16 and M-4 military rifles.

• Military-grade weapons. This is just a term to convince folks that guns are bad. 

• Weapons of war — another buzz term to confuse folks. In our long history, rocks, bones, sticks, hammers, knives and axes have been used in war. Should we ban all of these? 

• One cannot purchase a gun from a licensed online dealer without a background check. They are required to send it to a local dealer who will do the background check. If you fail, no gun.

Where is the proof that more guns equal more deaths? Vermonters have always been well armed, but the state has almost no gun deaths.

There are enough gun safety laws on the books, but they're just not enforced. We should demand that the U.S. Congress release funding to fully enforce existing laws before enacting new ones. 

John Houston


Best Vegan?

With a steady increase in the number of people choosing to eat a plant-based diet, I find it disappointing that Seven Days does not have a category for "Best plant-based/vegan fare" as part of its Seven Daysies awards [All the Best, 2019]. The "Best vegetarian fare" category includes restaurants that serve dishes that contain eggs or dairy — foods that those with a plant-based diet choose not to eat for a variety of reasons. It is no longer 1994, and vegetarian and vegan do not mean the same thing. There is a wealth of eating establishments offering excellent vegan food in the Burlington area, as well as in Vermont as a whole. Readers deserve the opportunity to be able to give these restaurants the recognition they deserve.

Michael Phelan


So Many Signals

It was great to see the feisty independent spirit embodied by WDEV Radio highlighted in your story "Meet the News Boss" [August 7]. One small correction; WDEV sister station 101 The One is not only available in Rutland at 101.5; it is also available on 102.5 in Montpelier and Barre, and from the top of Mount Mansfield on 101.7 for Burlington and much of the state.

I recently joined the station as morning host and program director after years at another station and am having a lot of fun, so any interested readers are invited to join me on any — or all three! — of our signals. 

Zeb Norris

East Calais

Words to Live By

[Re "Proud Pictures," July 3; Feedback: "The Right Words," July 10]: As one who has been studying — and writing — in the Abenaki language for many years, I was startled by Susan Ohanian's claim that the Oxford Junior Dictionary has removed such words as acorn, clover, dandelion, heron, wren, etc. and replaced them with such words as blog, celebrity, chatroom, broadband, etc. in order to "make room" for the latter. I was shocked by this shameless attack on the English language, as well as on the much neglected, almost extinct Abenaki language, of which the editors of the Oxford Junior Dictionary presumably know nothing.

Remove such natural-world terms as heron and wren, and we are all deprived. What are youth supposed to call these birds and plants, etc. when they see them? And if we delve into the Abenaki words that describe these creatures, our investigation is rewarded. Dr. Gordon M. Day's Western Abenaki Dictionary, published in 1994, is now out of print but can be accessed online. It gives "spigwôloasiz" as the equivalent of wren, meaning "little high tail (bird)," which in itself is a very charming term — more so than the English word. "Siz," the equivalent of "little," is at the end of the word, and at the beginning "spigw" indicates "upward rising" which blends into "active" — as in runs, ruts, feeds — which is certainly indicative of how a wren typically acts. The equivalent of "tail" isn't in the word, unless, as "ozogena" — tail — it is combined with a word for "active" by way of the letter "o."

Brenda Perretta-Gagne's Abenaki dictionary project is badly needed. As we can see from the example above, the restoration of words in English (especially of the natural world) can lead to the understanding of words in Abenaki (for those willing to interpret, such as myself), thereby enriching our lives, both mentally and spiritually.

George Peskunck Larrabee


Larrabee is a tribal council member of Totem 'ua Siomo, an Abenaki band headquartered in Brownington.

Don't Mess With Nature

Thank you, Seven Days, for your illuminating coverage on the plight of Vermont's coyotes in your "Tracking Coyote ... Killers" article [August 14]. 

When confronted with such abuse and gratuitous violence inflicted upon coyotes, Vermont Fish & Wildlife Commissioner Louis Porter says it's a way for sportsmen to "connect with nature." Since when does beating a coyote puppy with a tree branch or allowing packs of hounds to tear apart a cornered coyote equate to connecting with nature?! Is that the future of hunting he intends to sell to the general public? If so, watch even more land get posted.

Holly Tippett


Stick to Science

[Re "Tracking Coyote ... Killers," August 14]: After attending several board meetings, it is obvious to me that the Vermont Fish & Wildlife Department prides itself on making policy decisions based on data, while eschewing any emotional "bunny huggers' agenda." How, then, can it justify the policy of year-round coyote killing when absolutely no science supports this as a meaningful way to control the coyote population? In fact, science shows that such killing actually causes coyotes to increase their breeding. There is also no science indicating that the population needs controlling. Fish & Wildlife are guilty, in this instance, of pursuing an emotionally driven agenda of myth and pointless savagery, and ignoring hard science.

Melanie Finn


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