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Readers write: Letters to the editor, June 20, 2016

  • Author: Alaska Dispatch News
  • Updated: June 25, 2016
  • Published June 20, 2016

Killing Denali wolves is just plain wrong for Alaska

Several letters to the editor and commentaries in Alaska newspapers have made utilitarian arguments as to why it is wrong for the state to allow a handful of hunters to decimate the East Fork wolf pack of Denali National Park and Preserve. The primary argument, which is a really good one, has been that seeing a wolf in Denali is a primary motivation for people to visit the park. And these visitors (around half a million), and the revenue they bring (over $500 million last year — supporting over 7,000 jobs) will likely drop off if there is little chance of seeing a wolf.

And while tourism is an important part of our state's economy, it is also just plain wrong to kill off every single wolf in a pack — particularly a pack that is the most famous and studied pack for the past 70 years. In addition, although we appreciate tourists bringing money into the state, we can't lose sight of the fact they have a right to the best vacation possible; a vacation that should not be sabotaged by a handful of selfish people. Alaskans expect the same when they travel. So the state Board of Game should reinstate the restrictions on hunting wolves and bears in the Stampede Hills area. If the board refuses to act, then Gov. Walker should reinstate the closure.

— Pete Praetorius

Ich bin ein ‘Orlando-er’

Some of us are old enough to remember we were once all Berliners.
Then we became all New Yorkers and then we were all Parisian.
Now we are all LGBT.
What will we be next?

— Sean O'Hare

Don’t rob Alaskans of their share of state’s oil wealth

Gov. Tony Knowles wanted to use the PFD to balance the Alaska budget in 1999. He had the decency to go before the electorate and ask for a referendum vote on the matter. The people roared back: "No" with an 84 percent vote. So pay attention.

Who gave Gov. Walker the authority to raid the people's Permanent Fund? It was set up by the electorate, not by the Legislature in 1976. We, the people of Alaska all live in an ownership state. We are the owners of all our resources. The Legislature is specifically charged with the development of all our resources for the benefit of the people, not for the benefit of the Legislature or the governor, and certainly not for the benefit of the oil giants. This governor and former Gov. Parnell are serving the big oil giants. They have given our clear and equitable share of oil tax revenue to those giants. Now instead of re-enacting ACES, they want to rob the people of our share, so the oil companies don't have to pay taxes.
If you want money from the fund borrow it against Alaska state bonds at 10 percent tax-exempt interest. The fund can use the bonds to pay the dividends to the owners. The government can use future oil and other resource tax revenue to pay interest upon the bonds.

— John J. Kiernan

Mission was worthy service

My name is Nick Wight, and I am 16 and recently returned from South Africa. I was one of 40 youth and adults from St. John United Methodist Church who gave up two weeks of their summer to help out in the communities of Ocean View, Simonstown, and Fishhoek.

I have one simple request for Chris Thompson, who wrote about mission trips in columns in ADN: Please do some research before writing about our missions. Our mission trip was to assist the local people in their endeavors and to improve the community. We do not simply go, create dependence, and then leave; We work with the people, not for them. We do everything we can to instill hope in the neighborhoods where drugs and murder are as common as the air, to spread the love and light of Christ where there is darkness.

Mr. Thompson clearly has no idea what he is talking about, and, with all due respect, doesn't seem to care about accuracy. Anyone who wishes to learn what really happened on our mission trip can visit the St. John South Africa Trip 2016 page on Facebook.

— Nick Wight

Trump is GOP’s ‘Frankenstein’

Mary Shelley began to write her great novel, "Frankenstein," this month exactly 200 years ago, about a monster who destroys his creator. Although some in the leadership of the Republican Party have criticized Donald Trump, they themselves are chiefly responsible for his creation. Like the monster in the Shelley's novel, Trump is simply a more brutal incarnation of his creator, reflecting less refined versions of the very same attitudes and opinions held by his creator. The real question is whether Trump will, much like the monster in the novel, succeed in destroying the Republican Party. It is not impossible that he will accomplish much more. Given the course of current events, he may succeed in destroying American democracy, (such that it is). The words an early reviewer wrote regarding "Frankenstein" apply equally to Trump: "(He is) … perhaps the foulest toadstool that has yet sprung up from the reeking dunghill of the present time."

— Kenneth Baitsholts

To prevent terror, turn reaction into proactive policing

When tragedy strikes, as it did in Orlando on Sunday morning, people of conscience are moved to ask, "When will it end?" I am writing to say it is within our means to end, or at least sharply curtail this form of violence.
Sadly, gun control is not the answer. That genie is out of the bottle; there are simply too many guns of all types in circulation to make gun ownership the bottleneck that protects us from random gun violence.

Some use this line of reasoning to call for "an armed society." But fanatics think too easily of "sacrificing" their own lives, as decades of suicide bombers have shown. Fanatics are not deterred by the risk (or certainty) of death. The other argument used to promote universal concealed-carry is a terrorist would not be able to incur so much damage before an armed bystander took him out. This is questionable, but even if true it is a "reactive" argument. We would be ceding the first, or first five or 10 deaths, to a well-prepared terrorist. We are looking for a pro-active solution; a means of stopping these attacks before the first shots are fired.

Asking the government to be proactive on our behalf is to walk a slippery slope. Certainly the Patriot Act went too far, protecting us from terrorism by curtailing our privacy and civil liberties. While we are not allowed to know how effective (or ineffective) mass wiretaps and email collections have been, we do know there is no way to know when to say, "Stop." Elected officials will always be inclined to pry a little further, so at election time they can say they have done a little more to keep us safe in public spaces. But to paraphrase Ben Franklin, "People willing to trade their freedom for temporary security deserve neither and will lose both." As our recent spate of killings by police proves, government could be every bit as terroristic as any other fanatical organization.

So if we want to be proactive, and we shouldn't rely on government, what is left? Simple. There is "us." The Sunday morning shooter was known by his ex-wife to be "unstable." He was known to be violent. Did she report his violence? Had he been convicted of domestic violence, he might not have been able to purchase firearms as he did. He voiced a "hatred" for LGBTs and Latinos; did anyone challenge him on these notions? If we want hateful people identified and monitored, should we do it by screening 10 million emails? Or by making one phone call?

Let's take the people who currently listen to our phone calls, or read our emails, and put them on the street talking to people. They can extend "community policing" by following up on tips provided by average citizens, and bring "national security" out of the shadows and into the light.
The worst thing we can do is to "not get involved." All in favor, don't just say, "aye." Instead, introduce yourself to your neighbors.

— Scott Walker, M.D.

Has God abandoned us?

No, it isn't that God has abandoned us. …It's more like we have abandoned God.

— Joan Tremont


The views expressed here are the writers' own and are not necessarily endorsed by Alaska Dispatch News, which welcomes a broad range of viewpoints. To submit a letter under 200 words for consideration, email, or click here to submit via any web browser. Submitting a letter to the editor constitutes granting permission for it to be edited for clarity, accuracy and brevity. Send longer works of opinion to

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