In response to your article on pit bulls [Feature, “Not So Beastly,” July 6-12], I agree that pit bulls are not the problem: People are. I used to be part of the problem because I believed the hype and pushed the anti-pit bull agenda.
In fact, I believed the myth so much that I was once mortally afraid of pit bulls, though I had never met one. But one day two years ago, my partner unexpectedly introduced me to his pit bull and promptly left the room. Instantly, I was covered with sweat and forced to listen to my heart race, but the dog was gentle and patient. Every once in a while she would look up at me and sigh, seeming to say, "You idiot! I'm not going to eat you. Just pet me!"
In the two years since I have known this pit bull, I have never been bitten. She has never growled at me nor barked at me, although I must admit I have been licked nearly to death a couple of times. So how does that compare to my other experiences with dogs? The pit bull is, by far, the sweetest, most loving and friendliest dog I have ever met. In fact, I cannot count how many times I've been bitten by my aunt's rats—er, sorry, chihuahuas—or accosted by my best friend's Pomeranian, or mauled by my other friend's miniature poodle. Now those animals are vicious.
I want to make one more comment about dog breed laws, specifically those in Denver. They are ludicrous. Nearly 1,000 pit bulls have been exterminated by that city, which does not include strays because otherwise the number would be an order of magnitude higher. Since the 1,000 pit bulls put down were house pets, how did the city know where the animals lived? Shot records and city licenses. If the problem with pit bulls is people, then why punish the people who actually take care of their pets? The animals we must worry about (regardless of species or breed) are the ones that have no shots, are not fixed, are abused, are antisocial and are allowed to roam in hungry packs. "Aggressive" dogs which are lovingly cared for present an infinitesimal danger compared to neglected "passive" animals. My pit bull—who I now think of as my adopted daughter—is substantially less dangerous than the abused ferret which nearly took out my artery five years ago.
Keith Alexander Albuquerque
Listen and Learn
[RE: Letters, “Christian Nation,” July 6-12]
I am Randall Sobien, the same person that wrote the "Age of Aquarius" letter, and I figured I should clear up a couple things here.
First off, considering the time span between the pilgrims and the American Revolution, calling the pilgrims our "founding fathers" would be a bit of a stretch.
Next off, in most countries, America included, history taught in schools is going to be biased. Consider Vlad the Impaler (aka "Dracula"). In his homeland, he is considered a national hero. The ugly truth about our pilgrims, however, is that they were radicals of the first order, not all that much different from the Muslim radicals we so fear today ... and, yes, among other things, they did force their women to wear veils. They were essentially being kicked from one end of Europe to the other until everyone got tired of them and sent them here.
One interesting quirk I've noticed is that ultra-conservative parents will typically raise liberal kids so they had a few generations to let the fanaticism die down, along with continuing contact with England to help calm things down. By the time of the revolution, people here, while they had their own beliefs, saw the benefits of having a secular government system as opposed to one that answers to the church. Benjamin Franklin, while having his own beliefs, was one of the people fighting to make sure America's government was secular. I also notice you chose not to address my quote from our Treaty with Tripoli. That was written six years after the First Amendment became part of the Constitution ... 1797 to be exact. It is credited to John Adams.
You chose to comment on my level of education in American History. I strongly suggest you do some independent reading beyond what you learned in elementary school. You may start by doing an Internet search on some quotes from the founding fathers on the subject of religion, and not just the ones on Christian websites. I am not going to hold an extended flame war with you, but I have presented you with the facts. Whether you listen to them or hold your hands over your ears, going "I'm not listening! Lalalala!" is entirely up to you, but bear in mind that the difference between stupidity and ignorance lies in one's willingness to learn.
Randall Sobien Comment on alibi.com
Waste is Waste
The toxic radioactive and hazardous waste buried at the Sandia Mixed Waste Dump is not benign as described in the Alibi article [Newscity, “Half Life,” June 22-28]. The federal law that closed the Sandia Dump in 1988 describes “mixed waste” as “a nuclear waste that is potentially damaging to the environment and harmful to humans and other living organisms.”
Describing the radioactive waste at the Sandia Dump as “low-level waste” is misleading because some of the “low-level waste” is very radioactive. Some of the waste disposed of in the dump has radioactivity at such a high level that federal law requires it to be removed from the Sandia Dump and disposed elsewhere as “high-level waste.” In addition, the highly toxic radionuclide strontium-90 is detected in the groundwater beneath the dump.
The NMED disagrees with my conclusion that the monitoring wells at the Sandia Mixed Waste Dump are unreliable and must be replaced. My conclusion is from a careful study of the mistakes in a) well locations, b) well construction and c) methods used for collecting water samples. The mistakes hide detection of contamination. Also, some wells are unreliable for long-term monitoring because they will go dry in a few years.
The statement by NMED that installing new wells will pose a threat to workers is scaremongering. Installing new monitoring wells does not involve any excavation of waste that poses a danger to workers. NMED then adds, “If groundwater contamination is ever discovered at the landfill, a new set of considerations will be put into play.” This NMED statement captures the crux of the issue—these unreliable monitoring wells will no doubt prevent the discovery of contamination now and in the future.
Robert H. Gilkeson Albuquerque
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