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May 15-21, 2008 firstname.lastname@example.org
See Jim Hightower
See Devil's Dispatch
(Re: “Defining ‘terrorist,’” Arts & Culture, May 8.) The book review of She Was by Arsen Kashkashian in the May 8-14 edition was the most breathtakingly bizarre bit of journalism I have ever read. I have not read the book by Ms. Hallowell, so my comments about what she apparently has written are based only upon your review.
Let me see if I understand this correctly. The protagonist of the book is angry about her “hallucinating” brother’s reports of “atrocities” committed in Vietnam. (The author admits she doesn’t know anything about what happened in Vietnam, but someone has told her “some of the best war scenes are fiction.”) Because of this anger about the atrocities, and the effect on her brother, she blows up a college building, killing a janitor who clearly had nothing to do with the atrocities, whether real or imagined. The author reportedly says there is some “moral ambiguity” about this.
Huh? What is ambiguous about that? Assuming for a moment there were, in fact, “atrocities” in Vietnam that were witnessed by the brother and that had a bad affect upon him, how in the world, by anyone’s moral compass, does that justify killing a man who had nothing to do with it? And your reviewer says her killing of the janitor “seems like a terrible youthful indiscretion. It pales in comparison to the atrocities that [the brother] witnessed in Vietnam.”
What? This murder is all right because others have done worse at another place and time totally unconnected to the event? Murdering an innocent man is a “youthful indiscretion”? He must be joking.
I fear that the headnote of the review is all too descriptive of this insanity. It says, “Colorado author Janis Hallowell takes readers into the past in order to answer questions about America’s future.” I am afraid that may be right. She has exactly defined terrorism and terrorists in the present — people whose insanely perverted sense of logic and justice tells them it is all right to kill innocent people if they feel some other injustice has or may have occurred at some place and time.
I certainly recognize that such people, and such insane logic exist — I just never thought they wrote book reviews and books in Colorado, and that a respected newspaper would give them space in which to suggest there is something defensible about this way of thinking.
C.A. Crofts/Cheyenne, Wyo.
A case for nuclear
(Re: “The nuclear option,” cover story, May 1.) I graduated from the University of Colorado-Boulder, and I plan to return as a resident. I believe Pamela White has all the wrong assumptions about nuclear energy. Yes, nuclear energy has a large up-front cost, but it pays for itself in a constant stream of base-load electricity. You would need 10,000 windmills to equal the amount of electricity generated by one nuclear plant. And just like renewable, nuclear is becoming increasingly cost effective.
The cancer rates around the uranium miners on the Navajo reservation dose not take into account any outside variables that are much more likely to be responsible for high cancer rates. The amount of radiation emitted by a single pellet of uranium is not strong enough to penetrate the skin.
Chernobyl was a generation one-type reactor, which had no containment vessel. All reactors currently in operation in the U.S. and around the world are type-two designs or newer. A seven-foot layer of steel reinforced concrete contains all of these reactors. On top of that, the uranium fuel rods are submerged in containment pools that prevent any radiation from escaping.
Not only are nuclear power plants placed under heavily detailed security, but also the containment vessel is impossible to breach. The Department of Energy has videos showing a plane vaporizing upon contact with the concrete shielding. You could watch these videos on YouTube. In comparison, the World Trade Center is like paper compared to a brick wall.
Lastly, the repository at Yucca Mountain is in the middle of a desert. You could just place a fence around the waste with a warning sign, and no one would touch it for thousands of years. The DOE has tested the transportation casks to be secure. They have dropped them from 100 feet, dowsed them in fire, rammed them with trains, and they did not open. Again, YouTube.
If readers would like to read my unedited response, it is on my blog. Just search RaySquirrel on myspace.com. There you will be able to see “Response to the Nuclear Option.”
Raymond Wallman IV/via Internet
A disservice to the process
The total number of delegates required to nominate a Democratic candidate is 2,025. To date, neither candidate has reached this number. If the number is not reached by the date of the final primary (June 3), then the contest must continue to the Democratic Convention. During the convention, delegates and super-delegates can vote on as many ballots as necessary to determine the winner. The controversy concerning the popular votes and delegates from Michigan and Florida must also be resolved prior to the convention.
Just as with the presidential election of 2000, President Bush could not become president until he received the 270 electoral votes. No Democrat considered him the presumptive victor. To ask either Democratic candidate to withdraw before either one reaches the required tally does a disservice to the entire process. Both candidates and their supporters have waged a very good campaign, but if neither one can “close the deal” before the convention, it is up to the delegates and super-delegates to decide. Let us continue.
Joe Bialek/Cleveland, Ohio
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