E-mail letters, March 3, 2011

Activist presents biased view of oil and gas industry

As a fair and balanced resident of Battlement Mesa, I have naturally been following the fracking controversy. I only wish that more of the commentary could be informative, factual and objective.

I read with interest The Daily Sentinel’s March 1 article regarding the involvement of MIT with activist Tara Meixsell in “launching extract, a group of tools designed to help educate uninformed residents about the industry and take advantage of drilling opportunities while also taking action to try to reduce its impacts.”

Eager to learn more, I visited the prestigious MIT website and checked out its Center for Future Civic Media which I learned “supports research at MIT to innovate civic media tools and practices and test them in communities.” So much for that.

My internet search on Tara Meixsell was far more informative. Her claim to fame is a book, “Collateral Damage” described on Amazon as: “A Chronicle of lives devastated by gas and oil development and the valiant grassroots fight to effect political and legislative change ... .”

There’s a YouTube video entitled “Coal Seam Gas in Australia” in which she addressed the People’s Assembly in front of Queensland’s Parliament. I listened with utter disbelief at her warning to the Australians:“What I want to tell you guys” is “they’ve really ruined where we live.”

She went on: “We can light the water on fire out of our taps in certain areas because the methane is coming up after they hydraulic frack. People are passing out in their yards. My friends are dying of cancer. They’ve lost their incomes. They have rashes, nosebleeds, pain in their hands, can’t work. The U.S. is a disgrace, they have let the gas companies run rampant over us.” That is an accurate summary of the insight that she provided in her 4-minute presentation.

The Sentinel article quoted Ms. Meixsell as saying, “It’s not about trying to slam the industry. It’s about looking for solutions when things go wrong.” Really?

MIT has certainly selected an outspoken consultant, but I shall continue to refuse to be dumbed down.


Civilized societies don’t need concealed weapons

Those who have read the most recent letter by David Cox on the subject of carrying guns, will have recognized him as being paranoid or “Everyone is after” me. Then they have a romantic notion of themselves as members of some posse or rushing to the defense of a damsel in distress. The gentleman has been watching too many old westerns.

As to the first, the gentleman should perhaps take the time to handle his quite obvious paranoia. Let me reassure him that most individuals are neither after him nor his property, no more so than everyone is after ours. Actually, what those such as Mr. Cox most often represent is a fear of meeting their own responsibilities and obligations as citizens.

Mr. Cox quite obviously portrays himself as coming to the assistance of law enforcement. However, if the gentleman would ever try it, the very first thing he would be told is to “get out of here or be arrested” as his lack of training and experience might very well get those officers either wounded or killed.

The days of posses riding after the bad guys with guns blazing is long gone (not that they ever really existed). Those such as Mr. Cox should, with their delusion as of machismo, cease attempting to create them.

A civilized society, if it is to be considered worthy of that word “civilized,” will depend, not on loaded guns, but on properly loaded minds. To do otherwise means that the society is anything but civilized.

Racists shouldn’t hide behind First Amendment

In Feb. 27’s “You Said It” column, a woman responds to someone apparently taking her to task for having Obama/chimpanzee pictures on her car. The woman asserts her right to have whatever pictures she chooses on her own vehicle (First Amendment defense: check) and claims she does not “hate” Obama, just doesn’t “like” him. Then suggests the complainer attend church to purge their hate.

For not hating President Obama, I can’t think of viler, more racist pictures to post. If this is not motivated by hate, one must wonder what pictures she would display to convey real hatred of the president? The woman’s somewhat blasé response suggests the depth of this racism is lost on her —another testimony that vitriolic discourse/display has become so the norm, we no longer recognize it as hateful, denigrating, intolerant, vicious and harmful.

Yes, the First Amendment allows this woman to post such pictures. What it does not do, is allow her to deny their implication and cast her in any light other than someone who will resort to the vilest sort of racism to make a point. Even one as mundane as, gee, I just don’t like him. Then feel quite justified to suggest church for the other person.

Disagree politically, by all means; it’s the backbone of America. But don’t hide your racism behind the First Amendment. The First Amendment only allows the world to know how racially intolerant you are. And somehow, you think this is a good thing.

Grand Junction


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