Letters for April 15, 2004

It’s all my fault
There are few times in our lives when we acknowledge we messed up. I’m about the last person to willingly ‘fess up. I’m proud, intelligent and male. I’ve caused most of what is tearing our country apart just now. I quit! I stopped voting! I truly believed that the rich, powerful fat cats control our nation. So why bother to vote? My vote didn’t count; I didn’t matter.

George W. epitomizes the rich, well-groomed and guided politicos that run America. His brother is next in line. He’ll challenge Hillary. But to get back to my confession and guilt, I’m not alone in my crime. There were probably enough of us to have influenced the last election. That’s right. It was not George W.'s brother, but we, you and I, who might have influenced the last election. Kind of like our forefathers intended. One citizen, one vote. Now, I understand our nation’s being torn apart with our sons, daughters, fathers and grandfathers being killed and hurt in Iraq. That’s not the problem. It’s a condition of my failure. It’s a result of my giving away my right to vote. No one took it. I just gave it up. I’m the problem.

I understand war, death and tragedy. I’ve filled body bags and etched names off of the Vietnam Memorial. Like many veterans, I’ve wondered why I’m here, and they’re not. I have never felt that I let any of them down, because in my heart, I know I didn’t. Worse, I let my nation down. I stopped honoring the very right that we Americans have given up around the globe, our right to life. True Americans, many of them brand new Americans, have paid that price that truly defines Freedom and Democracy. Our citizens have been doing it for 300 years. Yes, I’m truly sorry. My country has paid an extreme price for my failure. There is no political party to join. There is no phone number to call. I registered to vote. Lock and load one vote. We take back our country one vote at a time. I’m truly sorry for what I’ve done to my nation. Help us restore our nation. Please vote.

Jim Ijams

Support Bush’s immigration plan
Re “Close the immigrant gap” [RN&R, Editorial, Feb. 26]:

After reading your editorial on illegal immigrants, I think a compromise is possible. The law could be changed to allow any illegal immigrants who can find sponsors who will insure that they will not become welfare clients to be immediately legalized. At the same time, the INS should be authorized to accept applications from Americans who want to be sponsors, and all those who believe in endless immigration would have their opportunity to put their money where their mouths are.

I’ve suggested this to my lawyer, and he sees no legal problem with it.

You could start the ball rolling by announcing that, if this change is made, you’ll be the first to sponsor an immigrant or immigrant family.

How about it?

Bill Hamma

Questions about mining
As a native of Nevada, I implore the state to support granting the Yerington mine at Weed Heights superfund status in order to finally clean up this toxic waste dump. It is vital to the health and welfare of residents in the area of the mine, residents downwind of the mine, residents using water from the area and the adjacent aquifers, residents along the Walker River, the litigants in the Walker River water rights disputes and all of the residents of Nevada. A superfund designation would determine the real costs for cleaning up this site (and other toxic mine sites across our great state) ensuring realistic values for the cleanup bonds. Obviously, the policy that the mining companies reserve clean up funds prior to bankruptcy is ineffective. Attempting to downplay the significance of this ecological contamination will only delay the inevitable and increase the costs as the pollution spreads.

The Yerington mine is missing uranium. Where is the missing uranium? Why isn’t Nevada adamantly insisting that the missing uranium be located? If no one can find the uranium, does anyone know where the arsenic and other heavy metals are? How much has entered which water system, and how far has the contamination migrated? How much is in the food chain? Is it truly beneficial to the local economy and to property owners to dismiss the significance of this problem? Why doesn’t Nevada hold the previous owners of this claim responsible for the environmental degradation? Just how much money did Anaconda, Arimecto, Atlantic Richfield, and the other owners drop into the local economy after you subtract the real costs? Were those jobs that were created from 1918 to 1998 worth the final cost? Is this how mining works for Nevada?

Terry Davis