In her letter [Feedback: "Wild Things," October 19], Dr. Peggy Larson stated that she has removed limbs from pet cats that have been caught in leghold traps. I am neither a hunter nor a trapper, so I have no skin in that game, but I have a cat. Question about those free-roaming cats: How many local and migratory birds do you think they may have killed in their travels? Are the birds' ends any less pleasant than the trapped cats'? You want your cats safe from leghold traps? Keep them inside, where they belong.
I would like to thank Adam L. Alpert for his article ["View From the Cockpit," October 19]. I was interested to read that, while using the F-16 to destroy an enemy nuclear plant would put 40 to 55 service people at high risk, using the F-35 would involve only four pilots at medium to low risk. As a South Burlington resident, I wonder why the same logic has not been used to compare the risks of basing the unreliable F-35s in our highly populated Chittenden County, where the population of the towns surrounding the Vermont Air National Guard base exceeds 161,000 residents.
Col. Patrick Guinee, VTANG wing commander, is quoted in the article as saying he "would be happier today knowing the pilots I am responsible for were in the F-35 aircraft doing the current mission than an F-16." What about the thousands of local residents at risk on a regular basis once the F-35s operate over our homes and businesses? Even the Pentagon "has acknowledged reliability problems with the engine."
The F-35 simulator may have been fun for Alpert, who "felt like [he] was playing an elaborate video game," but for those of us contemplating living near the aircraft base, this is no game. The F-35s can travel at 600 mph, have a maximum loudness four times greater than the current F-16s and have unreliable engines. Are the potential dangers of this undependable technology worth risking our community for?
Budbill, We Hardly Knew YA
It has been wonderful reading the tributes to David Budbill ["Tribute Words," October 5]. I wanted to add a note about his excellent young adult fiction. As a middle school teacher for 40 years, Snowshoe Trek to Otter River and The Bones on Black Spruce Mountain were always in my emergency kit. I could count on these books capturing a reluctant reader's interest. I never knew an adult who didn't enjoy them as well. I recall urging David to write more books for this audience, but I realize he had many stories to tell. What a loss for all of us.
Insensitive Suicide Story
It is difficult to describe how deeply disappointed I am in the coverage of Darshana Bolt's death ["Too Soon," October 26], so I'll just spell it out.
Instead of writing a provocative piece about the devastating lack of adequate mental health services in Vermont and how the deficit contributes to mortality, Molly Walsh exposed the most private, agonizing final moments of the victim's life like the reporting of an everyday crime.
She used the phrase "public meltdown," a phrase appropriate to describe a kid having a tantrum, to refer to the emotional state of a woman who soon after ended her own life.
She wrote of the state of the victim's body upon discovery in vivid detail as if it were any other blasé weekly feature.
Walsh seemed to report without the empathy that is so very necessary to write about the horrible struggle of a person in crisis. There is reporting from an objective, journalistic standpoint — and then there is being a human being. It is possible to write about suicide and be an advocate without diminishing that suffering. It is possible to write about suicide in a way that contributes to mental health awareness without exploiting the tragedy that permitted your story to run.
Please learn how to do this before attempting to write about suicide loss again.
WTF Halloween Cover?
I always appreciate the cover art on each issue of Seven Days. The one on October 26 had me very intrigued, though. I would love to understand the symbolism of the Eggos and why Donald Trump is a big Eggo. Can the artist share the thoughts that went into it? I am more and more impressed with Seven Days as each year passes. Congrats on being a part of something so important.
Art director's response: You aren't the first person to inquire! We have a tradition of doing a politician "monster mashup" for our election-year Halloween issues. Admittedly, this one, inspired by the popular Netflix show "Stranger Things," was a little out there. The cover featured Hillary Clinton as the character Eleven — a young girl with psychokinetic powers — and Donald Trump as her favorite food, Eggo waffles. The "missing persons" flyer on the tree substituted Sen. Bernie Sanders for Barb, a teen who vanishes without a trace. Read into it what you will!
Across the Aisle
My aisle's a walk across the road I have
to walk. My neighbor's stripping
his bumper-peeling decal off.
We've had little to say
to each other these past twelve months.
Guessing where each other stands,
by the flags we wave. By now we've had
enough of this, our barely talking.
We have to get back to the work of
neighboring. Our poet on the mountain
is likely to have said. By noon something
written on the frost is gone. Who won, who
lost. Every four years we come to this
and cross the road again. Not looking
for a hand-out or ways to spend
what we don't have. Not wanting
to fuel another war in our deer-hunting,
Thanksgiving's a few weeks away.
So we can wave the way we've usually
done. Not have to care what a bumper
sticker said. Say if that deer
has enough points or any points at all, to
be taken down. If one of us is here to let it
run away, back into its winning woods.