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This week: Martin-Zimmerman Case Not About Racism; Mock Ad Unikely to Cause Suicide; Logging No Good for Quabbin

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Thursday, April 12, 2012

Martin-Zimmerman Case Not About Racism

Stop conjuring up the ghost of Trayvon Martin to suit a political agenda ["Caught in the Backfire," March 29, 2012]. Trayvon Martin was unarmed but not "unoffending" when he was shot, he was beating Zimmerman's head against the ground!

But tell me something—in this Commonwealth, if someone attacks me, pounds on me, tries to rape or murder me, don't I have the right to kill them if that is what I have to do to save my life? Linking the right to self-defense with "racism" isn't serving anyone but criminals. Given that I don't remember ever reading in the laws of Massachusetts that I have to submit to rape and murder, why would we need this "Stand Your Ground" law? Excuse my ignorance, I'd appreciate a serious answer from state senator Stephen Brewer of Barre, and not one tainted by this hate-whitey three-ring circus that's running around the Martin/Zimmerman case.

As a mixed-race American woman who has lived most of her life outside the U.S.A., in black-majority countries, let me give the Emperor's new clothes a yank and say what everyone seems to be afraid to admit:

The fact is that as soon as Zimmerman's white-sounding name and white-looking photo hit the media, he was already convicted in the court of African-American popular opinion as a fanged, horned race-killer. If Zimmerman had been black, too, you would never have heard about it, unless some hate-whitey politico tried to blame "the white man" for two black men fighting. If Zimmerman had been black and Trayvon white, these same African-Americans would have lionized Zimmerman as a hero defending himself against a scary hoodie-wearing white kid who was probably a "racist" and therefore deserved what he got.

This country is sick, sick, sick, and it looks to me like the biggest bigots, the people quickest to jump to conclusions and form opinions based on race and race alone, are not white people.

Kathy S. Grey
via e-mail

Clarification: Before the scuffle occurred, Zimmerman alighted from a vehicle against police advice to chase Martin, who had not accosted him and was not behaving provocatively.

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Mock Ad Unikely to Cause Suicide

The series of letters written assailing Tom Pappalardo's mock advertisement for "Enditol" which recently appeared in the Advocate beg further scrutiny. First, does anyone really think a person with suicidal intent is reading this paper? Those in crisis and contemplating ending their lives aren't likely to be kicking back and following local cultural news. And one hopes the lack of perspicacity exemplified by a belief that something like dark humor can directly, or even indirectly, engender suicide is not characteristic of those who work in the field.

Such a reductionistic mentality is troubling in itself, but focusing on the "wrongness" of this satire sadly misses the point Pappalardo is making.

Let's not overlook the number of phone calls or emails exchanged in coordinating the recent letter by multiple signers. On whose dime was that?

Writing letters about causes makes people feel empowered and activistic, but in this case obfuscates the need for a more intensive conversation about suicide, to include the abject failures of psychiatry, the increasingly isolative, uncompassionate, and stress-riddled American social fabric, militarism, and the unending corporate assaults on human dignity. Nothing about contemporary American life intrinsically makes anyone feel wonderful about themselves, except those who use our nation as a playground for their own narcissism—at the expense of the rest of us. Hopefully, concerned professionals like the signatories to aforementioned letters will invite an interdisciplinary discussion about the phenomenon of suicide.

Greg Merens
Northampton

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Logging No Good for Quabbin

The Quabbin Reservoir should be seen as a biological jewel in the Commonwealth's crown. It should be managed on an equal footing with the most highly protected areas of this country, such as national parks and New York's Adirondack Park, which also serves as a source of drinking water for millions. The Quabbin should be designated a biosphere reserve and managed like other critical watersheds, off limits to logging machinery and so-called "foresters."

I have hiked extensively in the Quabbin watershed and have many pictures of the clear-cuts and the slob forestry that is being practiced there by DCR. The treatment of the forest is appalling. The fact that samples from certain areas show good water quality has nothing to do with the disgraceful clear-cutting that is occurring. Such brutal logging in a watershed takes time to have a cumulative impact, and samples can always be taken to show only what you want to show. The pictures don't lie. I would be (un)happy to show anyone what is being done in the Quabbin.

Some of the extensively logged areas are actually off limits to people, but not to the massive petroleum-spewing logging machines that are free to enter where not even a boot is allowed to tread. And the fact that a so-called "Science and Technical Advisory Committee" made up of foresters has been selected to review the cutting plan for the Quabbin points to the corruption and collusion in the way the state pays out entitlements to special interests. Who thinks that a group of foresters are not going to decide to "manage" the vegetation and get the cut out as measured in board feet?

Even a child knows that you are not protecting water quality by punching in sediment-spewing logging roads and cutting down the forest. Maybe that is why they hide the logging in areas where the public is not allowed to visit. You'd get arrested if you even walked in those areas, but the logging trucks get the green light.

The vast majority of the public does not want logging on our public trust lands, especially destructive clear-cut logging. The state wipes out our forests, drives logging equipment through vernal pools and streams, fills in wetlands, compacts areas by putting in roads and landings. The fish in the Quabbin are so contaminated by mercury that you can't eat them because every clear-cut and logged area releases mercury (about four times as much as an intact undisturbed area).

I don't trust "foresters" to protect my public land or my wildlife. There are plenty of private tree farms and woodlots in this state to manage. Keep your chainsaws off my public lands! Join the fight to really protect the Quabbin. It's going to take a movement.

Glen Ayers, soil scientist
Leverett

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