Letters to the Editor
November 14, 2007
Stop . . . Border Time!
There was a time when crossing the border into Canada was a breeze. But in the post-9/11 world, visiting our northern neighbors can become an epic adventure. If you have an interesting, infuriating, quirky or scary tale to tell about your exploits while trying to get in or out of Canada, Seven Days wants to hear from you.
Send your story to email@example.com. Provide your name, town residence and a phone number. Who knows, your story may appear in an upcoming issue of Vermont’s only border-defying weekly.
FAIR AND LOATHING
I must say I was surprised to see a hunting edition of Seven Days [“Open Season,” November 7]. I was skeptical as I read each of the articles and was pleasantly surprised at their fairness and comprehensiveness. I think you did a good job of portraying some of the true motivations of serious hunters.
There are “bad apples” in every demographic, but the vast majority of hunters are responsible people who love the land and the animals they pursue. Fair chase and ethical behavior are the norm. Although, quite often it is the “bad apples” that gain attention through their actions. Nobody loathes them more than true hunters. Thank you for your fairness.
Gallo is vice president of the Hunters Anglers Trappers Association of Vermont.
I grew up in a family of hunters. My uncle owns a deer hunting cabin and my grandma still likes to have deer-gutting parties on her dining room table. I would like to say that your hunting issue [“Open Season,” November 7] was a chilling reminder that the “harvest” is about to occur. Yes, it’s that time of year when the Green Mountain woods turn into a battlefield for trigger-happy killers, much like the mechanized slaughterhouses of the industria-lized urban landscapes.
I read through each article thoroughly. Each contained the same rehashed arguments about the “necessity” of killing without ever looking at the probable cause of how we as a society got ourselves into the mess of having to raise and tend to a “wild” animal population. Today’s wildlife management is so regulated (which is not necessarily a bad thing) that wild animals might as well be just another marginalized domesticated animal deemed fit for slaughter.
Why the need for this regulation? Because nature works in a predator-versus-prey, checks-and-balance system. We as humans have gotten rid of that system and opted only for the prey! For example, many figures were thrown around in your issue about how the wild animal populations have proliferated since the turn of the century. Let’s try to see why this is so by taking a little history lesson.
As a prelude to the Industrial Revolution, there was a massive movement in America to eradicate wildlife, particularly predator animals such as the wolf, the catamount (the UVM mascot), the large grizzly bear, etc. To this day, these animals are still rare in many parts of the country, and there are few plans of letting them move back into New England. As recently as 1993, there was a movement in New Hampshire to reintroduce the wolf, but it was shut down in the state senate largely due to the outcry of (surprise! surprise!) endemic hunters who felt strongly that the wolf would compete for the already burgeoning “wild” deer herd. Yes, that’s right, herd. The prey animals (now referred to as “game”) have grown in numbers significantly, largely due to the eradication of their predator counterparts. Thus, the “need” for hunters and the establishment of a “herded” animal. This is clearly a clever Catch-22 that has been recycling itself for the last 100 years.
There are three major threats to all wildlife: suburban sprawl over uncountable acres of suitable wildlife habitat, disease often caused by pollution and overcrowding, and arrogant hunters with a blood lust. These hunters convince themselves and others that shooting at “game” animals with high-caliber lead shot is in some way harmonious with nature. I cannot argue against the fact that hunters have invested money and time for the preservation of wildlife habitat, but the main motive is for the expansion of killing fields where they can harvest a target animal (usually an herbivore). Every time I hear these “stewardship stories” I cannot help but think, “What is it that makes us feel that nature somehow owes us?” Are we preserving the lake simply because it’s nature and it’s beautiful, or is it that you really want that 10-pound bass mounted on your wall? Perhaps it is time that we reassess what nature means to us as people. Is nature something to harvest and manipulate, or is nature something to live in harmony with for the benefit of our health and working environment?
Hunters are not “bad” people. I just cannot support the idea that target killing in a clearly domesticated system is the best way of championing wildlife conservation. I will relish the day when nature is restored to a working biosphere of real predator vs. prey relations and my grandmother puts her carving knife away and wipes the last bit of innocent blood from the dining room table. Until then, I hope the bad karma that comes with this bleak harvest won’t weigh down anyone’s conscience too much.
I grew up in Middlebury, graduated from Middlebury Union High School and my family lives in Middlebury. The young local people have never gotten along with the college students [“Townies and Gownies Square Off Over Bar Proposal,” November 7]. I can remember many bar fights between them when I was a young adult. The general consensus is that the college is taking over Middlebury and buying up everything. All of the stores downtown seem to cater to the college — not your average, working-class resident.
If Middlebury College is really concerned about the local people, they will try to bring some businesses into Middlebury that are affordable and competitive. Most of the locals go to Burlington or Rutland to shop, which is ridiculous. From my past experiences, my personal opinion is that it is not a good idea for Middlebury College to open this bar. I can think of far better ways for them to interact with the community, but knowing Middlebury College, they will probably get what they want. Money talks.
I live at 3 Cathedral Square, a HUD building managed by Cathedral Square Corp. I understand that Cathedral Square is in the process of making all its buildings smoke-free and that smoking in one’s private apartment will be grounds for eviction [“Smoking Ban Irritates Senior Puffers,” October 17].
For me, this is not a smoking issue. I am not a smoker. It is a civil-rights issue. Cigarette smoking is not illegal. Therefore, I believe it is my right to smoke in my own home. Apartments are all that many people, especially seniors, can afford, and should be considered private homes.
Discussions of smoking in apartments always lead to talk of health issues. I believe the surgeon general said that trace elements of secondhand smoke could not be erased, even with good ventilation. But what does “trace element” mean? Does anyone really know that a “trace element” of secondhand smoke is more dangerous than inhaling fumes while driving down busy highways? In any case, the health issue is not my concern right now. Civil rights are my concern.
If people wish to make cigarette smoking illegal, they should press that matter with their representatives. Right now, however, cigarette smoking is legal. I believe, therefore, that it is illegal to evict someone from their apartment because they smoke there. I believe that it is illegal to mandate that one’s private space be smoke-free. Such mandates are both discriminatory and an infringement on one’s civil rights.
Perhaps in light of the wars and global warming, the issue of having the right to smoke in one’s own home pales. However, I believe the issue is huge and lies right at the heart of civil rights, privacy and home.
Thank you for the excellent coverage of our lingerie shop, Queen Anne’s Lace, in your LocalStore Feature last week [November 7]. As you well know, we locally owned, independent businesses have to stick together in the face of growing corporatization, both locally and globally. Thanks, Seven Days, for taking the lead in this by putting your coverage where your values are!
And please do stop in to visit us here on Church Street to pick up something lovely for you or yours over the holidays. Support your neighborhood businesses and keep our diverse and colorful downtown unique and vibrant!
Kelly Sullivan and Stephanie Douglas Hughes
Sullivan and Douglas Hughes own Queen Anne’s Lace.
END IT NOW
Seventy Vermonters met with Peter Welch in Barre on November 11, seeking to hold him accountable for his votes funding the occupation of Iraq. On May 10, Peter voted for HR2206, which provided $100 billion to continue the occupation. Then, on May 25, he voted for the crucial procedural motion that allowed that funding-with-no-timeline bill to come up for a final vote and pass. While Peter touts his symbolic vote against the final funding bill itself, he omits mention of his vote for the crucial procedural motion that enabled the occupation to continue [“Inside Track,” October 24].
Then, on September 26, Peter voted for H.J. Res. 52 that provided yet another $12 billion to continue the occupation of Iraq.
Democrats could easily end the war just by voting down war funding. Though Peter’s timeline approach requires enough votes to override a veto, only a simple majority in either house is needed to vote down funding and end the war now. In fact, just 41 votes could block war funding in the senate. In the house, just one person — the speaker — can block funding bills.
A November 2 CNN poll shows 68 percent of Americans oppose the war in Iraq. Twenty-four Vermont towns voted at town meetings last March that the best way to support our soldiers is to bring each and every one of them home now. We need our Congressman to stop making excuses and start voting to end the war.
James Marc Leas
In reference to Elisabeth Crean’s review of The Miss Firecracker Contest in last week’s issue [“Southern Discomfort”], I have always been under the impression that a critic’s responsibility ended after comments about the production in question. All right, maybe a line or two about the playwright, but the lady doth protest too much, methinks.
• In the October 24 “Inside Track,” Seven Days incorrectly identified the month of poet Grace Paley’s death. She passed away in August.
• The photo that accompanied a recent review of the Burlington Chamber Orchestra was of the wrong group — a brass one. The BCO is a string ensemble.