Letters for December 20, 2012

‘The people’s movement’

Re “Taking it nationwide” (Cover story, by Christine G.K. LaPado-Breglia, Dec. 13):

If you want to see citizens voting with their wallets, you should go to the Facebook pages of all the “organic” food companies whose parent companies funded the anti-Prop. 37 campaign. Naked Juice, Bear Naked, Cascadian Farms Organic, Glen Muir and Kashi, to name a few, are receiving a vicious backlash from ex-customers.

These are people who used to be fans of these companies who are mad and feel completely betrayed by a company they thought they couldn’t live without and are now screaming Boycott!

Big Food companies thought they could easily buy their way into the fastest-growing food market, and now they are finding out that organic food is about a lifestyle, not just a marketing strategy. It’s the people’s movement behind the scenes that is responding to the theft of their rights to simply know what is in their food.

Jeff Bague
San Luis Obispo

Labeling genetically modified food is the only way to help consumers make decisions that reflect individual taste and personal choice.

Yes, labeling was a fine first step, but it was just the beginning. For not only are crops being genetically modified, they are patented now. Unbelievable.

Please try again. Something has to be done to stop the stranglehold on individuals’ right to eat what they want and, call me crazy, use their own seeds to grow their own corn.

Cliff Switzer
Carroll, Iowa

Article misquotes release

Re: “Land trust leader leaves” (Downstroke, Dec. 13):

In its item, the CN&R misquoted a press release submitted by the Northern California Regional Land Trust. The correct quote is, “It has been especially rewarding to work with the ranching and farming families … who have helped make this region such a unique and extraordinary place.”

It is the landowners who, through their love for the land, make land conservation possible, thereby allowing this region’s agricultural heritage and uniqueness to remain for future generations. The transaction itself is facilitated by a large and dedicated group of land-trust personnel, board members, volunteers, supporters, title company personnel, county officials, attorneys, and state and federal agencies.

Aldo Leopold referred to it as a “land community,” and it’s what makes the work of the Northern California Regional Land Trust and other land-conservation organizations word-wide possible.

Jamison Watts

Editor’s note: The insertion of the word “me” after the world “helped” in the quotation was a typo that we failed to catch. Our apologies for the error.

Clarifying anarchy

Re “As the Crow flies” (Newslines, by Vic Cantu, Dec. 13):

Thanks to Vic Cantu for covering the talk by author/activist Scott Crow at Chico State. Unfortunately the article reinforces stereotypes that Crow sets out to break.

Cantu uses the misunderstood term “anarchy” but doesn’t explain Crow’s view of it. Every self-described anarchist will offer his or her own definition (as expected from an anarchist). Crow views anarchism as a guiding principle of “common sense,” when people come together cooperatively, without government involvement, to make their community better.

Common Ground Relief, discussed in the article, is considered the largest anarchist-inspired effort in modern U.S. history, offering free health care, food, legal aid, etc. to survivors of Hurricane Katrina. It is what people in our community do every single day.

With respect to the issue of vandalism as a tactic, the article focused on the sensational, not the philosophical. Crow’s discussion of vandalism centered on the question of a “higher moral principle.” The example, briefly mentioned in the article, is when a person breaks the chains of a slave, technically vandalism. The article stereotypically focuses at length on a brick thrown through a window.

The article’s focus on vandalism is itself an example of sensationalism. In a two-hour talk, the topic lasted a mere five minutes, at most.

Please accept these clarifications in the spirit they are meant, for further understanding of a complex topic.

Sue Hilderbrand

The killing of innocents

Our nation is rocked with grief and deep sadness at yet another mass killing of innocents. I too have wept with the rest of our country as I hear stories of the tragedy—those sweet children’s and their teachers’ lives cut short, so suddenly and inexplicably.

In the midst of this tragedy, I also think of mass killings in other parts of the world where such tragedies are not uncommon. Many, many deaths of innocents are caused by our own country’s warfare—with drone killings in Afghanistan and Pakistan, sent by U.S. military personnel who sit safely in front of computers in New Mexico; and with drone and “conventional” air strikes in Gaza, from Israeli Defense Forces, with weapons paid for by U.S. dollars—more than $3 billion every year!

Think of how we are overcome with horror and deep grief when such a tragedy strikes a small New England town. So too are hearts broken open, wild with grief, overcome with horror, in every town and village where such violence occurs.

While we consider tightening gun laws to protect citizens of the U.S.A., we must also insist that our government curb violence perpetrated by drones, and by U.S.-purchased air attacks, to protect innocent citizens of foreign lands. There will be peace in our world when we remove the tools of violence.

Emily Alma

How to control guns and so reduce the alarming death rate from them here? Something drastic must be done—but what?

Why do we not treat guns as we do cars and motorcycles and trucks, which are also potential weapons of destruction?

Almost all of us pay insurance on our vehicles, so if we hurt anybody or damage their property we at least attempt to compensate them. Why should guns and quasi-military weapons be any different?

I suggest that we tax each weapon (depending upon its lethal capacity) so that the owners recognize the danger they are to themselves and society. The government should then create a compensation fund for the families of those who are killed.

This puts the financial responsibility and compensation in place and the true cost of gun ownership where it should be—spread across the gun-owning community.

Alan G. Gair

Of course in the wake of this unspeakable act by someone for whom there is no obscene word in the English language foul enough to describe him (I will simply refer to him as @#$%&*!!):

All the gun-control zealots will now whine for all guns to be taken from law-abiding citizens—never mind the fact that if the law-abiding administrators and teachers in that school had not been shamed by those whiners out of carrying guns, at least some of those 26 people would still be alive. You want to stop school shootings? Train all teachers and administrators in how to handle guns safely and effectively in situations like that.

Think taking guns from law-abiding citizens will keep crazies and crooks from getting them? Think again. The gun crime rate skyrocketed in Australia after guns were banned there, and Mexico’s laws against guns don’t stop criminals there from getting and using them.

And: All the bleeding hearts who sympathize with the “poor misguided child” who commits such atrocities, and not with his victims, will likewise whine over poor misguided @#$%&*!! who had to be oh, so unhappy and misunderstood to do what he did.

Enough is too much already.

Chad Wozniak

Knives better than guns

Re “Spate of stabbings” (Newslines, by Tom Gascoyne, Dec. 13):

I’m saddened to be glad these assailants were armed with knifes, not guns. I also shuddered to see a homeless man arrested for the knifing of another homeless man.

Violence by the homeless is nearly always against someone in the homeless community, or the general public assaulting a random homeless person as a hate crime.

We need to view and treat everyone with kindness and love; unfortunately, many are incapable of this.

Bill Mash

Help the out-of-work, Wally

Without a new budget by Dec. 29, 2 million people will lose their unemployment insurance. Wally Herger’s district has some of the highest unemployment and poverty rates in this state, yet he has no problem accepting money from the federal government. Two million people will be left to wonder how they will feed their families, while Herger enjoys a guaranteed generous income provided by the taxpayers.

Unemployment, which by the way is considered taxable income, provides a basic level of economic stability to U.S. citizens (some of whom are veterans) that allows them to contribute to the economy, albeit on a survival level. While 2 million people are uncertain about how they will pay their bills in the new year, Mr. Herger will be planning his golden years.

I urge Mr. Herger to support Rep. Timothy Walz’s discharge petition. (A discharge petition is a means of bringing a bill out of committee and to the Senate floor for a vote without a report from a committee.) You’ve got yours, Mr. Herger, and your retirement is safe; why not be a hero to the many unemployed in your district? Do the right thing and sign the discharge petition.

Mark Brackett

Looking for reasons

Re “Déjà vu: Chico’s Greeks on notice—again” (Newslines, by Ken Smith, Nov. 22):

With the number of drug-, alcohol- and hazing-related fatalities rising each year, it’s become clear that these issues are no longer something we can ignore. But what are the issues, really? Is it a “Greek” problem, or are the problems within fraternities and sororities symptoms of something bigger?

At first glance, President Zingg’s suspension of all Greek organizations looks like a swift and justified disciplinary move, but I find myself wondering what this will accomplish, other than appeasing the Chico community for the time being. I wish measures would be taken to suss out the root of the problem within this generation in general, and our community in particular. To look into the reasons behind the 18-35 demographic drug/alcohol culture.

Without addressing these questions, and understanding the “why” behind them, we’re at the mercy of the mercurial shift of culture, rather than having an active hand in shaping them. I don’t have an answer, but as both a longtime resident and a student, I’m concerned for these unanswered questions.

Arielle Mullen

STOP says thanks

Chico State’s STOP (Stop Trafficking of Persons) would like to thank everyone who lent support to make our concert on Nov. 30 a success. Special thanks to the 20-plus local business owners who donated raffle prizes, the bands who donated their time and talents, Round Table Pizza on Mangrove, local media outlets, and our dedicated volunteers who made it all happen! With your support we were able to raise several hundred dollars to help fund our Second Annual Human Trafficking Awareness Week.

Austin Larsen and Diane Miller
STOP Event Coordinators