Letters to the Editor (01/28/15) | Letters to the Editor | Seven Days | Vermont's Independent Voice

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Letters to the Editor (01/28/15)

Bear Essentials

Please tell me — and probably hundreds of others — why? Why in the world did the "Ursa Major" [Last 7, "Facing Facts," January 14] get a "sad face" icon? Tell me, make me understand what is "sad" about responsible wildlife management? Doing that was wrong. Plain and simple. Educate yourselves.

John Feldman


Space Invaders

Nice to see so many Seven Days letters lately regarding the impending land sale at Burlington College [Feedback: "A Matter of Priorities," January 7]. And it's great to have seen so many turn out for the Save Open Spaces meeting, literally almost all in attendance speaking out against the project [Off Message: "Land Lovers Speak Out Against Burlington College Development Deal," January 22].

In last week's issue a letter from Marianne Ward spelled out one of the most telling of problems we encounter, however [Feedback: "Listen to Goodkind," January 21]: a mayor whose ideas of development are simply not meshing with those of us who have to live with them. After all the emotional debate at the SOS meeting last week, Weinberger still expresses the desire to see housing built down there. Why, why, why? The mayor and the local developers seem to be playing a game of seeing how many single-family lots can be turned into multiple-unit apartment complexes that simply don't fit into the landscape. His concern for moving people into town over preservation of such spaces as Burlington College, and the inherent quality-of-life issues, is disturbing, to say the least.

I also share in Ward's feelings of alienation in my hometown. It is crowded now, hard to get around and a hell of lot different (in many bad ways) than it was not so many years ago. And the plan, it would seem, is to make it worse. The mayor is fighting for the developers and outsiders who want in, not for those of us already here. That's why I, too, am listening closely to Steve Goodkind as he makes his bid for mayor. Maybe Weinberger should listen, too.

Dave Parker


The Zen of Bicycle Maintenance

In "New Folks Buy Old Spokes," [January 14], Glenn Eames stated: "You only have one tank of gas. You burn a third of it figuring out what you're going to be when you're grown. The second third is trying to make that happen, and the final third is figuring out what you're going to be is — dead." I see this quote as a positive. Remembering the last line helps us reevaluate the first two and live the third as a most precious use of our time and abilities. It's the time to be what we really want to be. 

Bernie Paquette

South Burlington

Who's a Hero?

It's amazing to see Rick Kisonak giving four stars for a movie about a professional assassin, above Margot Harrison's review about a sniper's victim — a champion of civil rights and justice who was gunned down for being just that [Movie Reviews, American Sniper and Selma, January 14].

People who bother to look past the popular history of Martin Luther King Jr.'s assassination and into the civil trial that revealed the deeper truth know that King was killed by professional, government assassins, not the "lone nut" patsy who took the rap.

Chris Kyle killed a lot of people. He was a good shot — something Clint Eastwood admires. Ironically, he was shot by his buddy at the shooting range. Lived and died by the gun.

The last couple of paragraphs of Kisonak's review are easily disputed — "batshit fabrications," like that Jesse Ventura won his lawsuit against Kyle's estate for lying about him, for instance.

You will hear, right here, my single word suggesting Kyle was not a hero: Not!

As for Selma, maybe I'll see it, to see how it portrays King's anti-Vietnam position, which precipitated his assassination. I suspect it will justify Spielberg's dark vision of universal war, while manipulating our emotions and rewriting history.

Today we have no antiwar movement, and civil rights has been diluted into whining about every conceivable beef based on the fact that all people are not the same. Racism is coming back in style, and political polarization is stronger than ever. Hollywood's mass manipulation keeps us divided, and the war machine grinds along.

Mission accomplished!

Gordon Clark


Trials and Errors

[Re "A Distant War Haunts Accused Vermont Refugee," January 21; trial coverage on Off Message, January 13-23]: Edin Sakoc's guilt or innocence aside, I feel that it is worthwhile to point out that if every German who witnessed, participated, saw, understood and did nothing about the atrocities committed by the Nazis went on trial, virtually every one of them would have been justly imprisoned or swung from the end of a rope.

For the occupation authorities, a series of show trials of prominent perpetrators — that left a vast array of collaborators in civil administration safely in place — seemed a practical solution. In the case of Yugoslavia show trials, by far the most interesting aspect of Sakoc's case for Seven Days readers would have been his defense — not just the testimony of a social anthologist to explain ethnic tensions but a lesson in how the "globalizing" impositions of the International Monetary Fund and World Bank wrecked the political consensus so carefully constructed by Josip Broz Tito.

Needless to say, this analysis, best represented in Susan Woodward's book Balkan Tragedy: Chaos and Dissolution After the Cold War, has much to instruct us about contemporary policy. Too bad it was given such short shrift in Mark Davis' reports.

John Shaplin


Offensive Insert

It was with extreme disappointment that I discovered an insert in last week's Seven Days that perpetuates both dangerous misinformation and radical misrepresentations of facts. The Vermont Right to Life Committee has every right to explore its options for getting the word out about their beliefs and services; however, as a privately owned publication, the advertising you choose to include is at your discretion.

I am dismayed to see that you chose to include this insert. VRLC's "scientific facts" on page one are far from accurate, as any exploration of the National Institutes of Health information page on embryonic development will demonstrate. For example, all organs are not functioning at week eight; it is not until week 23 that the nervous system is developed enough to even provide minimal control of body functions, let alone "feel pain."

Furthermore, VRLC's statistics do not account for the greatly decreased rate of unintended pregnancies in the state of Vermont as a result of greater access to health care, birth control and sexual education.

Finally, their personal narratives, while wrought with emotions I can only imagine, paint an extremely narrow picture of the state of pregnancy counseling, abortion services and post-abortion care readily available in our state. Such inflammatory, inaccurate and one-sided advertising is an affront to the respectful journalism Seven Days was recently recognized for providing.

Sarah E. Mell


I was very surprised to find a Vermont Right to Life flier in the January 21 issue of Seven Days. As someone who values access to abortion and believes we shouldn't return to all of the fatalities associated with abortion, I find your position on abortion to be both irresponsible and misogynist.

Further, there are many species with less and less access to viable habitats because of the vast overpopulation of humans on Earth. Even if you think this is fine, you are hastening the end of all life as you promote a minor species over all others and make the environment untenable.

For the women in your organization, I would ask you to acquaint yourselves with the pre-Roe-v.-Wade death rate of women without access to legal abortion. If you support "life," then you need to deal with the reality of an abortion ban. For the men in your organization: When you give birth you will have a right to have an opinion on this issue.

Naomi Winterfalcon


Editor's note: Last week's insert was a paid advertisement, which is not to be confused with the fact-checked editorial content in Seven Days. Censoring ad content is a slippery slope, so we don't do it unless the client is promoting violence, hate or an illegal product. Seven Days is a forum for free speech — in our advertisements, letters to the editor and personal ads — and a reflection of the wide range of desires and beliefs in our diverse community. Sometimes that means being tolerant of views we might not personally share. Remember Paris?