Letters for March 6, 2014

Bear essentials

At the last Bear Committee meeting in Reno, Nevada Wildlife Commissioner Jack Robb was asked if he believed in democracy from the perspective of majority rule over minority rule. Commissioner Robb explained in public that “no, he like many Americans find government frustrating.” “It is like speeding,” he said. “I have received six speeding tickets and I don’t care.”

Never mind that speeding kills and that speed limits are imposed for the safety of all of us drivers. Commissioner Robb, a government official with significant power in the regulation of hunting in Nevada, does not believe in the law.

And this libertarian mentality is the key to understanding Commissioner Robb’s approach to the regulation of hunting. In the next sentence Commissioner Robb also explained that “hunting lions with hounds is one of my core values.” For this reason, he could not vote to recommend curtailing the use of hounds to hunt Nevada bears even in the face of gut-wrenching evidence of the cruelty and cowardice of this form of “hunting.” All of us unfortunate spectators in the room had just viewed a devastating video of a hunter letting his eight hounds tear apart a live bear. But while Commissioner Robb did find the video “unsettling,” his “core value” would not let him vote on the side of decency and humanity.

So here is the reality of our Nevada Wildlife Commission. It is not about the animals and it is not about what the majority of Nevadans want in terms of how we treat and manage our wildlife. It is the right of hunters to kill what they want, when they want and in whatever manner. So bring on the hounds, snares, traps, guns etc. It is really about no government regulation.

I have honestly never heard of a core value that was along the lines of “hunting lions with hounds.” Most core values are more like honesty, respect, love, hard work, community, etc.

Connie Howard

Reno

War is hell

Re “Drug prohibition fuels society’s ills” (Let Freedom Ring, Feb. 20):

I congratulate Brendan Trainor for keeping his eye on the real problem with drug use/abuse in this country. The drug war has caused more harm to society at large than all (so-called) illegal drugs combined. The financial drain on our economy alone should be cause for alarm. The break-up of families, the extra financial burden on the already struggling portion of our society, and the ridiculous strain on an over-worked, understaffed judicial system. The irony is that this very conversation has been going on literally since the release of Reefer Madness. After all this time all they can come up with is state-imposed abstinence? Incredible ignorance! Really folks, legalizing marijuana in a couple of states is a start, but a long way from fixing the real problem. Start listening to voices of reason like my friend, the Honorable James Grey, in Orange County, CA who has been fighting against this foolish drug war for as long as I have, and as long as Mr. Trainor has along with millions of voices across our nation: Stop the insanity! Stop the drug war!

R. Reynolds

Reno

We like Colin, but he’s no deity

Re “The Organic Food Lie and Collective Conscious” (Feature story, Feb. 13, 20):

You muddied the issues surrounding GMO’s, sometimes referred to as Genetically Engineered foods, with a headline condemning the organic foods movement and a byline castigating liberals across the board as anti-science ignoring the hard facts of the issues, such as converting our natural food supply so that it does not procreate and must be purchased which will lead to mass famine, engineering toxins into our foods that will cumulatively pose a greater and greater threat to humanity as the “weeds” become resistant to the toxins and the completely uncontrolled genetic engineering of specialized genes into foods such as past allegations of foods having genetic substances “engineered” into them using “gene splicing techniques” that cause people to become sleep deprived, forcing them to buy sleeping pills to increase corporate profits.

However evil those headlines were in promoting corporate fascism, this week you topped that with a headline about “The Collective Conscious.”

Most of your readers are familiar with Carl Jung’s concept of a Collective Unconscious: that is, a mind derived from the collective of humans and possibly all living things. Unfortunately, the Reno News & Review has chosen to muddy the contemporary discussion: the Postulate that if a Collective Unconscious exists, then is it to itself, the Collective Conscious? That would be God!

The “advance of science and math” you so proudly tout as the symbol of your justification presents the possibility of a telepathic network of all living things, connected via inter-dimensional radio transmissions like a huge computer network (the cells in your brain networking are in the image of God).

Thus the contemporary discussion about the Collective Conscious (God) is what I immediately thought your article was about. Instead, again, your headlines, while attention getting, muddy and confuse the public about intellectual social advances in favor of corporate profiteering deceptions.

The Koch Brothers would be proud of you. The Collective Conscious might have other thoughts.

Neal Chambers

via email

Can somebody say, ‘Off-topic’?

Re “The Organic Food Lie” (Feature story, Feb. 13):

I was hoping more would write letters in response to this obviously pro-frankenfoods piece passing for an objective article, but after looking at the published letters in the Feb. 20 issue, I realized few had made print. One of the published letters, “Vertical Integration” wasn’t even on topic!

To begin with, the tone of this article smacks of the same “scientific” arrogance that propped-up the people who told us it was a good idea to spray DDT on our kids’ hair for lice, or that radium made great cosmetics. Just because scientists have discovered a new way to fiddle with things doesn’t mean we all have to jump on board without taking a closer look at the potential dangers. If you dig deep enough, you will have to admit there are many science-based reasons to believe that Genetically-Modified Organisms are not only weakly-understood in the long term but if carelessly managed, deeply dangerous. One of the main problems with GMOs is that once they are released into the wild, it is difficult if not impossible to put the genie back in the genomic bottle. If it takes us as long to figure out their long-term consequences as it did to figure out how dangerous radiation can be, then we have about 20 years left to begin to see the full extent of the damage.

The article compares genetic engineering, where DNA is directly manipulated in ways that would never occur in nature (such as tomatoes with pig skin genes), to hybridization that is no more than plant breeding. The quotes from Mr. Kramer were at times laughable, at others chilling (regarding how wine purists are not crazy about fiddling with grapes)—“That may change in the future when they get a disease that is a problem.” So, is that what happened with the papaya? In any case someone (Monsanto, Syngenta, Bayer, or DuPont) made a ton of money from that papaya disease.

Short of writing a complete essay in response to this article (which believe me, I could); it goes on to cite studies in naive and innuendo-choked ways that would make a middle-school teacher blush: “synthetic fungicides only required … half the amount of the organic alternatives”—so? Stop to think maybe it’s because they are twice as lethal? Or, “organic foods were higher in fats”—what is that supposed to mean? Can somebody say off-topic?

Pablo Rivera

Reno