Letters for November 19, 2009

Hunting: good or bad?

Re “Tracking the big ones” (Cover story, by Shannon Rooney, Nov. 12):

A few years ago, Jim Ledgerwood wrote a piece for the Paradise Post, bragging about flying all the way down to Argentina to shoot little birdies. The appeal of Argentina was that down there he could kill to his heart’s content, blasting the life out of some 600 birds each day without the government interference so hated by Republicans of Ledgerwood’s stripe.

Down in Argentina, Ledgerwood was able to engage in the proud tradition of those American pioneers who wiped out the whooping crane and passenger pigeon populations on this continent.

Sustainability? Perhaps we can manage that so long as only very wealthy Republicans can afford to hunt the world’s harried wildlife.

But, when Ledgerwood bruits his courage in facing down dangerous critters with his big-caliber rifles, he neglects to mention his various scrapes with the bloodthirsty birdies of South America.

Jaime O’Neill

After reading your article, I realized that I have a unique perspective regarding hunting. Although I’ve never met Mr. Ledgewood, I did work at the Farm Sanctuary in Orland for almost two years and in New York. I’ve met the founder, Gene Bauer, and I lived with the Farm Sanctuary’s rather idealistic agenda the entire time I was employed there.

Farm Sanctuary’s mission statement is noble in its attempt to protect farm animals and animals in general from the cruelties of “production” farming techniques used today. It has lobbied to have important positive legislation passed.

Unfortunately, it stops there for me, as I feel that the group’s idealistic viewpoints are somewhat unrealistic and a bit over the top when condemning the use of any animal for food or animal products.

It doesn’t stop at animals. Eating honey is stealing a baby bee’s food? Come on. Humans are part of the food chain too. I could go on, but I’ll take the high road on that one.

Prior to moving to the Chico area from Los Angeles, I hunted for years, and like Mr. Ledgerwood for all of the right reasons—providing needed funds for game management through my licensing and fees, population control of a species and eating everything I harvested with nothing going to waste. There are rogue hunters who do give the responsible ones a bad rep. The answer to this problem starts with education and then stiff penalties for the offenders.

It’s true that in today’s world, especially in America, we have an abundance of food options. They are exactly that, options, and people should have the right to choose their own path, which should include responsible hunting.

Robert O’Neill

Why in a story about hunting do you feel the need to add a section talking about Farm Sanctuary and PETA? I am sure if you were doing a story on Farm Sanctuary you wouldn’t include a section on the benefit of your local butcher or the positive effects of hunting.

Your readership would increase if you would stop the bias and just report. No need to always try to interject the liberal side.

Todd Merrill

Sorry, but this Ledgerwood guy is sick. To derive pleasure out of murdering these majestic animals and then justifying it by twisting his dirty deeds into acts of charity—sick. No surprise he’s a Republican, as many (not all) members of that party are insensitive and domineering gun nuts.

Jim Coyle
Forest Ranch

Coal, fossil or nuclear?

Re “Pollution or solution” (Newslines, by Robin Huffman, Nov. 12):

The author of this article writes: “[T]he Clinton administration cut its [the integral fast reactor’s] funding suddenly in 1994, just before full proof of the reactor’s safety was achieved.” That’s not accurate. In fact, the safety features of the IFR had been fully demonstrated. The funding was cut just before the recycling unit was tested on a commercial scale, after having long been used on a smaller scale during the course of the research project.

As for [Shasta College instructor Divan] Fard’s citing of the Scientific American story from this month’s issue, I would refer readers to a critique of that horribly flawed “study” that can be found at http://tinyurl.com/yaqr52d.

The article also states, “Accidents at Chernobyl, Three Mile Island and the Hanford Site in Washington state were cited as environmental catastrophes …” And just how does Three Mile Island qualify as an environmental catastrophe? Not a single person was injured, the melted fuel was entirely contained, and the only loss was to the bottom line of the utility company that owned the reactor.

As for Fard’s suggestion that more research needs to be done before building more nuclear power plants, that’s nothing but a transparent stalling tactic. It’s either coal or fossil fuels, for renewables alone aren’t going to cut it. If you’d like to look at actual data from countries that have pursued the all-renewables route, visit bravenewclimate.com and read my guest posts on Germany’s and Denmark’s solar and wind programs.

Tom Blees

The real obscenity

Re “F-bombs for the environment?” (Newslines, by Christine LaPado, Nov. 12):

It seems incredibly sad that Ms. LaPado and those few who left due to the “offensive” nature of the word “fuck” can’t get beyond themselves and such a trivial thing as this to focus on the bigger issue, which is the environment and how we are depleting it of its natural resources.

If you want your own opinion of Derrick Jensen, pick up one of his books and read it for yourself. Furthermore, those two people who left did so because they were offended by his personal views on Christianity and not for the word “fuck.”

Kristin Schroer

I value and respect Christine LaPado’s writing and her many contributions to the community, and I concur with her point that Jensen’s language may be alienating to some.

Jensen recognizes the futility of “winning hearts and minds.” If you are more concerned with “the F-bomb” than the underlying message, this message may simply be lost to you. I speculate that nothing Jensen did to make it Disney-friendly would compel you to heed this message; or is your preoccupation with profanity a buffer for a message that you may be hesitant to receive?

Jensen’s purpose is not to garner public support, or gain acceptance; his purpose is to illustrate exactly what’s at stake. The destruction of the natural world is a perfectly appropriate occasion for strong language; offensive language to condemn infinitely more offensive acts.

Jensen’s work, as I see it, is geared to push people (not cajole or woo them) toward recognizing exactly what this culture is, and who it serves. And his question “What do you want?” is a starting place for us to make conscious, informed decisions about how to resist the truly obscene acts that make up the workings of the so-called “real” world. The real world, the natural world, is exactly what’s at stake.

Julia Murphy

More on ‘Heather’s hell’

Re “Heather’s hell” (Cover story, by Jaime O’Neill, Oct. 29):

The article covered one Paradise teenager’s hellish experience, the issue of funding for domestic-violence shelters and important information from Anastacia Snyder, the director of our local Catalyst shelter.

I would like to add that there are many people, mostly women, who do not get help from shelters. Fear and shame keep them from calling a shelter for help or even telling anyone that they are being abused. There is an excellent Web site, domesticviolence.org, that will help abused people find help when they are taking the first steps in getting help.

Some people are not sure if what they are experiencing is abuse—this Web site can help you clarify what is going on in the relationship.

Support from family, friends and shelters is extremely important in helping a victim of domestic violence. But if a woman is afraid to tell anyone, a Web site may be the first link to get help.

Susan Shafsky

Thanks very much to Jamie O’Neill for his article on funding for domestic-violence victims; I also appreciated his synopses of movies that focus on this problem.

I just want to point out that a change within our culture could prevent domestic abuse and violence. Some of our most popular television shows, particularly crime dramas like Law and Order (especially SVU) and CSI in all its variations, portray domestic violence—and violence in general, especially violence against women—as titillating. And gratuitous misogyny abounds even in shows with decent writing like The Sopranos.

So we can take steps toward changing our culture by doing a few simple things: 1) being more aware of how violence against women is portrayed on television; 2) talking about media portrayals of violence with our children, when they’re old enough to have questions about it (which is probably earlier than we might think); and 3) not watching such programming.

Anna Blackmon Moore

Join the fight

November is National Pancreatic Cancer Awareness Month. I encourage you to visit www.knowitfightitendit.org to learn how to take action against the fourth-leading cause of cancer death in our country. With your help, we will increase the number of our community volunteers and advocates, and urge them to raise awareness and help us raise the cure.

By the end of this year, this deadly disease will have claimed more than 35,000 loved ones. Please care about our community and help advocate pancreatic-cancer awareness in Butte County.

Join me and the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network this November and help raise awareness of this deadly disease.

Christine King