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Thursday, Aug. 30, 2007 08:42 pm

Letters to the Editor

Untitled Document We welcome letters. Please include your full name, address, and telephone number. We edit all letters. Send them to Letters, Illinois Times, P.O. Box 5256, Springfield, IL 62705; fax 217-753-3958; e-mail editor@illinoistimes.com.
PERVERSE AND UNBALANCED Nothing can stop me, not even Doug Bybee’s nonsense, from loyal readership of your publication, which I’ve been doing weekly for about the last 25 years. It doesn’t take much energy, I can report from experience, to periodically begin reading one of his meaningless, rambling screeds, realize nothing has changed, and move to one of many good features, commentary, or information sources elsewhere in Illinois Times. My question is, why do you persist in making us go through this ritual? This man is either deliberately perverse or arguably unbalanced. His writing doesn’t reflect well on the Illinois Times we’ve come to know and respect.
Nelson Rose

Two years ago, the secretary of the Department of Energy asked the oil industry to report on the future of the world’s supply of fossil fuels. It took the industry two years to get back on this, and what they came up with is a sad commentary on their unwillingness to be truthful with the American public. Until recently, they have denied the fact of global warming. And now, predictably, they are denying the reality of “peak oil” — the coming peaking of oil production. There is no question that the depletion of oil and other fossil fuels is a hard reality. The American public has a right to know, and it is dishonest to deny them this truth. It is a fact that 90 percent of the world’s oil has already been found, and what is left will be harder to extract and more expensive to extract and will entail the release of more carbon emissions, thus increasing global warming. Saudi Arabia, whose oil fields are “old and tired,” has the world’s largest known oil reserves. The Saudis will not tell us whether they have reached peak oil. It is a carefully guarded secret. In the U.S., oil production peaked in the early 1970s. It is estimated that the world’s production of oil will peak when one-half of the oil has been extracted (as in a bell-shaped curve), and the supply of oil will begin to decline sometime within the first decade of the 21st century. We may have reached it already. The 21st century will be an apocalyptic one. Not only do we have to contend with global warming, but it is simply secondary to a much larger coming reality — the end of cheap, plentiful oil. Some are predicting a global economic meltdown. The question remains: Do we have the visionary leaders to deal with these complex issues, or are we simply going to war to get oil? That would be a catastrophe of global proportions. Beni Kitching Springfield
GET ME OUT OF HERE, QUICK! After reading Thursday’s Illinois Times, I decided to get a load off my chest again. I have been telling anyone and everyone who would even half-listen to me much of what was in your paper this week [Jim Hightower, “Democrats cave again,” Aug. 23]. Franklin Delano Roosevelt told us that we were stronger than we thought we were. He led us boldly in the face of fear and taught us to face those fears and be strong. The current people in charge today are doing the opposite. We are now to fear anyone who looks different, has a different religion, or speaks with an accent and are to fear each other as well. Adolf Hitler did exactly the same thing. The idea then was to have the German people fear the Jews, the Russians, Jehovah Witnesses, Communists, gays, and all others who were in opposition to the Nazi party. For God’s sake people — wake up! The sand is rapidly leaving the hourglass. The Germans had a system of concentration camps. We have “Camp Cheney” in Cuba. There is a Web site that tells about funds given to Halliburton to build concentration camps here in this country, each one to hold a minimum of 500 people. Habeas corpus has been suspended. Eavesdropping [is being done] without warrant, [and] other things Americans have taken for granted for many, many years are gone with the wind. People don’t seem to care anymore. The only important things are this month’s house payment, car payments, and something to put away for next year’s vacation. I am 71 years old. I have cancer and a mild heart problem. I hope I’m not around much longer, as I fear what will happen next.
Lee Archer Springfield
LEARNING TO APPRECIATE NATURE Thank you for Jennifer Fishburn’s excellent article “Getting children outdoors” [“Plantwise,” Aug. 23]. My own parents appreciated nature, and as children we were essentially forced to love it with Mom’s rule “Once you go outside in the morning, don’t expect to come back inside until it’s time for supper and a bath.” Back then I just thought that was how Mom kept the house clean, but now I realize how lucky I was to have spent my childhood catching insects on the sidewalk, helping in the garden, and romping through the little strip of woods that adjoined our local park. Thirty years later, I own the Wild Birds Unlimited Nature Shop in Springfield and am thrilled each time a parent or grandparent comes in to pick out a bird feeder for a child, hoping to instill a lifelong love of nature, as my own grandparents did when they gave me a feeder for my fifth birthday. Wishing to inspire this appreciation in more children, Wild Birds Unlimited is proud to be a national sponsor of the National Wildlife Federation’s Green Hour program. Plus, we have a special “Pathways to Nature for Kids” section on our Web site, www.wbu.com/springfieldil, devoted to activity ideas and education. Additionally, every customer’s purchase in our shop makes a difference, since we donate a portion of the sale to our Pathways to Nature Conservation Fund, which supports conservation and education projects locally and nationally. Thanks to Ms. Fishburn for bringing up this subject, to the community for the support of our projects, and to Mom for kicking us kids outside all the time!
Wade Kammin

SOME IDEAS TO CURB GUN VIOLENCE The local protest against handgun violence on Aug. 28 poignantly reminds us of America’s problem with gun violence that continues to occur. It appears that public support is there to attack this problem. The question is “Are gun enthusiasts willing to work on this problem?”
The rejection of any kind of gun control by gun enthusiasts gives way to the thought that it is aversion to all gun legislation, rather than true concern for home and family, that is the issue here. The mere suggestion of legislation to close existing loopholes is met with rabid resistance. Some also seem unusually fond of being able to carry a gun around town with them, suggesting that no one is going to shoot you if they think you have a gun. If the very people raging against gun control legislation cannot present themselves as open and reasonable, why should we entrust them with lethal weapons? Aren’t they proving to us they are incapable of reasoned behavior? Why don’t they support legislation that moves to a safer environment for gun ownership? Many proposals are out there which do not interfere with protection of property and self yet have yet to become national policy. Requiring a background check for all gun sales, making it illegal for gun shows and individuals to sell to anyone who shows up to buy a gun, is one of them. Other proposals include forbidding any use or possession of automatic and semi-automatic firearms; holding all first purchasers liable for crimes committed with his or her gun until resold by a licensed dealer using background checks; having all gun owners go through a licensed gun dealer for any resale of guns they possess; forbidding gun ownership of anyone arrested for domestic violence; making it a mandatory nationwide “cooling off period” where the purchaser must wait five days before receiving the gun he or she purchases. The rate of firearm deaths among kids under age 15 is at least 11 times higher in the U.S. American kids are 16 times more likely to be murdered with a gun, 11 times more likely to commit suicide with a gun, and nine times more likely to die from a firearm accident than children in 25 other industrialized countries combined. Surely we can do better than this.
Anne Logue Springfield
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