Letters for January 2, 2003

Foot by foot
Writer Anne Lamott wrote a little book on some instructions for writing and life titled Bird by Bird. She tells the anecdote of her 10-year-old brother sitting down to write a report on birds due the next day (having been assigned three months earlier, of course). He is at the kitchen table, surrounded by paper, pencils and several bird books, close to tears because he is “immobilized by the hugeness of the task ahead.” Dad sits down beside him, puts his arm around his shoulder and says, “Take it bird by bird, buddy. Just take it bird by bird.”

The Chico Community Shelter Partnership has jumped the planning hurdles, and it is good to see the shelter rising out of the ground. Now organizers are passing through the hard financial part of the process; it appears they have come up with a great concept. They are going to “just take it foot by foot.”

I am going to buy a square foot of the shelter in the name of every homeowner who buys a home from me. I would ask that all other builders and Realtors do the same and send a check from each closing in the name of the home buyer to the shelter partnership. For those of us who are fortunate enough to afford a home, it would be a small but very meaningful thing to do for those not as fortunate. If this challenge is met, the community would have funded its portion of the shelter in just a couple of years and, amazingly enough, it would have been done “foot by foot.”

Anthony G. Symmes

New school rules
The “Captive Classroom” article in the Dec. 19 issue of the Chico News & Review by Josh Indar and Devanie Angel is more important than one might realize. The phenomenon of girl bullies taunting other girl students in schools is just beginning to be studied in depth.

Girl bullies are different than boy bullies because the tactics girls use are different: note spreading, rumor campaigns, ostracism, etc. The ways girl bullies operate are more subtle than the methods used by boys and thus go undetected.

While boys account for most of the school problems (80 percent of high-school dropouts are boys; boys get 70 percent of the Ds and Fs; boys commit suicide at a rate of four to five times that of girls, etc.), girls also are subjected to trauma in our abrasive American culture.

The divorce rate in California is 65 percent, and 71 percent of our criminals come from single-mother families. Without the father around to provide a stabilizing influence, kids tend to get into trouble.

It is interesting to note that a fellow student got the girl to give up the gun. An important aspect of schools is close personal relationships among students. Modern, progressive education methods stress the interactive classroom, where students learn from each other and provide stabilizing influences.

There are three basic rules for students to learn to get through the maze of school: no weapons, no fighting, no drugs. If you can learn those three rules, kids, you’ll make it through school. It’s actually that simple. The teachers will spoon-feed you your education. All you have to do is sit there and listen.

Michael M. Peters
Red Bluff

Democracy’s troubles
Norm Dillinger says, “The United States should be the moral leader of the world” [“Hypocritical democracy,” Letters, Dec. 19]. I think it would be good to remind people that the United States is a mere corporation and has no flesh and blood, much less a soul, and that may explain some of what one reads in the news.

Norm says that a “moral country would not wage a pre-emptive war … should eliminate its own weapons of mass destruction … and … should not be the largest arms dealer in the world,” all of which is reasonable if the United States was a “moral country.” As I said, it is not a “country” and it is not “moral.” But, Norm also says that a “moral country … should have a democracy.” I believe that to be impossible because democracy is immoral as a form of government.

How can a government be moral if 51 percent of the voters can have their way? Isn’t that mob rule? We need to go back to basics and rethink what we’ve been taught in government schools and through the equally corporate media. If we believe that this nation was founded as a democracy, we need to re-read a few simple documents and ask a whole lot of questions about present reality. I understand that Norm, along with the majority of this nation’s people, are essentially good-hearted, and I would suggest that written on our hearts is the truth of law.

Those who would like a few clues should check these new sites on the Web: www.powerpolitics.com and www.americanaffidavit.com. Learn from the truth of the past to avoid reruns. Read F. Tupper Saussy’s Rulers of Evil. It’s now being published free on the web at www.tuppersaussy.com.

Frederick Earl
Host, Freedom’s Questions
KZFR, 90.1 FM, Wed., 5:30-7 p.m.

Missed opportunity
I commend Devanie Angel on a well-written and informational article on John Merz ["The ‘reasonable’ environmentalist,” cover story, Dec. 5] and his conservation efforts on the Sacramento River. It’s very important that a community like Chico, surrounded by so many of nature’s finest assets, be regularly informed of the environmental issues confronting its members.

“The ‘reasonable’ environmentalist” was great because it wasn’t too challenging for the general public and it dealt with a familiar and tangible object (the Sac River) that most of us have enjoyed in one way or another. But the CN&R and/or John Merz missed out on an important opportunity to promote the Sacramento River Preservation Trust and raise funds from the public. Nowhere in the article is there a “For more information…” prompt with a phone number to reach John or a representative at the trust, let alone a Web address.

These things are essential because readers like myself who are inspired by John’s efforts and would like to donate money or contact John for more information for whatever reason. In fact, at one point the article clearly discusses the trust’s financial hardships, and at another John even laments about how difficult it is to incorporate new members into the trust. What a perfect time to make a plug! Community involvement in non-profit organizations is essential, especially when everyone benefits from the organization’s cause.

Kyle Ahlgren
Senior, Graphic Design
California State University, Chico

Editor’s note: The Sacramento River Preservation Trust can be reached at 530-345-1865. It can also be reached on the Web at www.sacrivertrust.org.

Wisdom of youth
In this solstice season, when things are looking dark in more ways than one, there is a “point of light” shining in the window of the Peace and Justice Center at 526 Broadway. It is a poster made by a 10-year-old girl who is a member of a new children’s group called “Kids for Peace” that meets there weekly.

The poster is a drawing of the Earth with peace symbols on either side, bordered by flags of all the nations of the world, carefully constructed and colored appropriately. It took many hours of patient dedication to produce it.

There is a quote from the child that says, “I made this poster to make a statement. There are many nations in the world but only one planet. All 196 flags need to be honored if we are to have peace.”

That’s great wisdom for one so young, but that of course, is my bias because I am a grandmother for peace and she is my granddaughter.

Renee Renaud