• U.S.

Letters, Nov. 13, 1995

15 minute read
TIME

THE GROWING SAGEBRUSH REBELLION

“The war on federal management of public lands in the West is a war on all Americans. These lands are everyone’s priceless birthright.” TOM KUEKES, Carbondale, Colorado

HOLY COW! NOW I’VE HEARD EVERYthing–whining on the range by socialist cowboys who want more subsidies and no interference, thank you [COVER STORIES, Oct. 23]. Gimme a break! These ranchers get dirt-cheap grazing on public land. They get assistance on water tanks, fences and brush control, and they get help from the Agriculture Department. And then they scream about how much they hate Big Government. Sorry, folks, but it’s time the free market was introduced into the West. Why should environmental groups be excluded from bidding on grazing rights? Open up the process, and let the highest bid prevail. Isn’t that the American way? CHRISTOPHER ROWLEY, Kerhonkson, New York

THOSE NYE COUNTY, NEVADA, “COWBOYS” must have gazed at the moon until they lost their senses. Gene Autry predicted that such things could happen in the famous cowboy ballad Don’t Fence Me In. What modern men fail to realize is that those open skies are open because they are owned and operated by the U.S. government. When activist Dick Carver climbed aboard his Caterpillar bulldozer to open a road in a national forest, he wasn’t posturing for the independent Western man, he was lobbying for the cheap grazing fees charged by the Bureau of Land Management and the U.S. Forest Service, grazing rights that in turn can be sold for several times their cost to private grazers. Sounds like a government handout to me. Carver chose his life-style of self-sufficiency. Fine. Stop whining about it then. BURT BRADLEY, Decatur, Georgia

AS MONTANA’S CONGRESSMAN, I WANT TO alert your readers to a crisis concerning our Western land that your report only touched on. America already is over the brow of its last hill. Few wild places remain, and the competition for the public’s land is growing and becoming dangerously fierce. Here in Washington, America is faced with the most anti-environmental Congress of our lifetime. Resource-extraction industries, foreign and domestic, are writing the legislation to weaken laws that have protected our land, air and water. We Montanans are proud of living in the “last best place,” and we are now concerned that the forces of plunder and greed are about to sanction the destruction of the best of our last places. PAT WILLIAMS, U.S. Representative, Montana Washington

TOO LONG HAVE WESTERN RANCHERS benefited from their low-cost rental of federal lands. But when the Federal Government puts restrictions on the use of this economic advantage, the ranchers have the audacity to moan and groan. If these Westerners wish to have “rights of use” to this land, let them pay the market price. Then they will be in a better position to negotiate terms with the Federal Government. All things have their price. RUSSELL A. MACCACHRAN, Boulder, Colorado

ONE WONDERS WHY THE FEDS NEED ALL that land–like 93% of Nye County, the third largest county in the U.S.? Seems to me that with the federal deficit as large as it is, lots of federally owned land could be sold off to developers and other private enterprises. Then Nye County’s 20,000 inhabitants could have the company of migrating Texans, Californians and others. They would also have the pleasure of putting in more roads, building new schools and participating in the many other delights of neighborhood life. KENNETH W. STEFFAN, Mendham, New Jersey

IT IS TIME THE MEDIA STOPPED PORTRAYing unrest in the West as coming from a few extremists. The vast majority of people in rural states are directly affected by mandates from people who don’t have firsthand experience. The feelings of alienation are pervasive out here. Members of the media need to spend a substantial amount of time on a working ranch and gain some practical knowledge about the field. I think they would see that ranchers are extreme environmentalists and their use of the land spans generations, not weekends. RENEE L. DANIELS, Harrison, Montana

FROM THE BEGINNING, THE WESTERN states have been creatures of federal subsidy–not only grass but minerals, timber and water as well. That federal oversight has fallen short of the ideal is evident in great carpets of sagebrush choking out the range grass, in clear-cut national forests and in mining ventures that threaten even such a national treasure as Yellowstone National Park. The fragile Western environment is degraded, and the public treasury receives virtually no revenue in return for the degradation. Public interest can be served only by improving the federal stewardship of what belongs to all Americans. ROBERT M. UTLEY, Moose, Wyoming

THE TIMBER INDUSTRY OF ALASKA WANTS balance. For too long, preservationists have been allowed to uphold restrictions that protect the wildlife but never consider the people who live, work and relax in the surrounding environment. As a resident of southeast Alaska and an employee of the last remaining pulp mill in the Tongass National Forest, I have seen the devastating effects on people and communities resulting from overwhelming environmental restrictions. When a substantial job loss occurs in an area such as ours, relocating to find employment is extremely difficult, if not impossible. Our congressional leaders are trying to add people and jobs to the environmental equation so that a level of balance can be maintained. TROY REINHART, Board Member Alaska Forest Association Ketchikan, Alaska

NYE COUNTY’S CARVER SOUNDS LIKE A carbon copy of a contemporary fixture: the blowhard with the warmest stool and coldest coffee in any cafe in the rural West. His newfound celebrity has made him untouchable, a sort of O.J. of the Purple Sage, as he and his cronies come dangerously close to joining the ranks of the cop killers. All assaults on public employees, regardless of weapon, should be vigorously prosecuted. JOHN WALKER, Coaldale, Colorado

THOSE “INDEPENDENT” ENTREPRENEURS out there in the “Golden West” would probably bitch if they were hanged with a new rope. It is infuriating that the folks who get such lucrative subsidies from the Federal Government have the nerve to talk of a rebellion against that government, while taxpayers in other parts of the country must pick up the tab. ALEXANDER D. BELL, Dallas

THE UTAH “WILDERNESS” BILL IS ONE of the best examples of the Republican leadership’s efforts to give away, sell off or otherwise develop America’s forests, parks and wilderness. The bill could spell disaster not only for the awe-inspiring red rock canyon lands of southern Utah but for all America’s remaining wild lands as well. If the Utah bill becomes law, “protection” for all these wild places might include logging trucks, oil rigs or other industrial development. Special interests are getting special treatment at a time when Congress has promised to slash government waste. And people said there would be no more business as usual. PAMELA EATON, Regional Director, Four Corners States Wilderness Society Denver

INSTEAD OF LASHING OUT VIOLENTLY, maybe activists like Carver should evaluate their own methods of ranching and develop more ecologically sound techniques. Ultimately, these ranchers have more to fear from Big Business than they do from the Federal Government or the country’s environmentalists. BRIAN H. ZYGO, Austin, Texas Via E-mail

SO NEVADAN JIM MERLINO, WHO USED to be able to get a permit from the BLM to cut a Christmas tree anywhere, is upset that the BLM will now allow him to cut his tree only from certain areas? Oh, how he suffers at the tyrannical hands of the Federal Government! As I recall, most Americans have to go out and pay for their Christmas trees. COOPER S. RENNER, El Paso, Texas Via E-mail

BOSNIA STILL DIVIDED

I WAS INFURIATED TO READ IN YOUR report “Strange Route to Peace” [THE BALKANS, Oct. 23] that Bosnian Muslims “doubtless treated the Serbs much as the Serbs treated the Muslims.” If that is so, then why haven’t massive murders and rapes been reported? In war, people are killed and sometimes forced to move to safer areas, but the Serbs’ actions, including rape, massive killing, live burning and “death camps,” aren’t considered normal. Yes, the Serbs are leaving the Muslim-held areas, but, as U.N. reports have noted, most of them are leaving of their own accord, before the Muslim soldiers arrive. If you look at past news coverage or speak with Muslim refugees, you will find that many of the Serbs now leaving their so-called homes were placed in them by the Serb army after the former Muslim residents were expelled or killed. APRIL E. ANDERSON, Baltimore, Maryland

THE OBSERVATION THAT “PERHAPS THE Serbs were bad guys but the Bosnian Muslims did their part in the bloody business of the week” reminded me of Voltaire’s account of Candide’s war experience [after seeing the destruction in a village belonging to the Abares who had heroically resisted atrocities carried out by the Bulgarians]: “Candide made all the haste he could to another village, which belonged to the Bulgarians, and there he found that the heroic Abares had enacted the same tragedy.” This great work of 1759 satire might have been fiction, but current news items reveal the same facts in today’s wars. HARRIETT J. CLAXTON, Dublin, Georgia

ROTBLAT’S NOBEL: PRO AND CON

THE NOBEL COMMITTEE MADE AN EXCELlent choice in awarding the Nobel Peace Prize to antinuclear activist Joseph Rotblat and his group [NOBELS, Oct. 23]. The timing of the award is perfect, coinciding with the 50th anniversary of the dropping of nuclear bombs on Japan and the continued atomic tests by France and China. One hopes the U.S. will heed Rotblat’s views and cease all nuclear-weapons testing. “Nuclear-have nations” should cease selling equipment and materiel and stop assisting the “have-nots” in developing the bomb. Proliferation will only perpetuate a vicious circle. Nuclear weaponry is a waste of a nation’s resources that could be utilized to improve the standard of living of its people. There are no winners in a nuclear war! It would end civilization and cause irreparable damage to the earth. Science should be used to improve the world, not destroy it. The U.S. should take the lead in world nuclear disarmament. HOW TIM CHANG, Honolulu

ROTBLAT, THE WINNER WITH THE PUGwash Conferences on Science and World Affairs of the Nobel Peace Prize, believes the award honors “the small group of scientists who have been working for 40 years to try to save the world.” But the Pugwash scientists did not “save the world,” the nuclear weapons they wanted abolished did. Contrary to the scientists’ expectations, the nuclear monopoly of the U.S., the nuclear superiority of NATO and then the cold war “balance of terror” assured peace until the collapse of the Soviet Union. There would be no winners in a nuclear war. Atomic weapons possess a unique property: they deter aggression and discourage their own use. This is all they are good for. JULIUS LUKASIEWICZ, Ottawa

OUR TROUBLED TEENS

I APPRECIATED YOUR ARTICLE “GENERAtion Excluded” on the report from the Carnegie Council on Adolescent Development [SOCIETY, Oct. 23]. The study concluded that the U.S. is “neglecting its 19 million young adolescents to such an extent that half of them may be irrevocably damaged.” Teenagers and adolescents today are often eclipsed by older generations or lumped in with Generation X. You presented many of the problems that face our generation and gave the report’s prescriptions for change. However, that list did not include the most obvious and useful one: respect. If our parents and others treat us as though they expect us to misbehave, it is likely that we will. If, on the other hand, they respect us and treat us like the human beings we are, we will probably act in a manner worthy of that respect. LAURA STOFFER, age 17 Boulder, Colorado Via E-mail

IT IS TERRIFYING TO LOOK DOWN THE road to the next 10 to 20 years. The problems won’t simply be vast numbers of private, personal tragedies. No, imagine the consequences to a society in which half the rising generation can make no contribution but only drain that society of its dwindling resources. Imagine the crime, the homelessness and the effect on the children of today’s youngsters. DARCIE CONNER JOHNSTON, Falls Church, Virginia

THE CARNEGIE COUNCIL SAYS THE SMOKing rate among eighth-graders rose 30% from 1991 to 1994 and that two-thirds of eighth-graders say they have tried alcohol. I fully agree that those figures are accurate. I smoked when I was in eighth grade, and do now. I also tried alcohol then, but no longer drink. In spite of my agreement with the study’s results, I still find major faults in most of the reports done on my age group, namely, the exclusion of views from this group. Most articles characterize us as unthinking and inhuman. There is a lack of quotes or opinions from us. By eliminating our views, no one ever finds out the reasons why we smoke. BILL GENTLE, age 15 Irvine, California

PARENTS AREN’T IGNORING THIS SITUation. We can only stand by helplessly. Some of us must work two jobs to keep our families from being homeless and hungry. We dream of affording a sports program for our children or whatever would keep them from turning to the only comrades who will accept them as they are: gangs. The color of people’s skin and their culture are not the things that create desperate individuals. Hopelessness does. MARGARET MARKS, Glendale, California

THE UNITED NATIONS AT 50

THE UNITED NATIONS HAS ACHIEVED innumerable successes throughout its existence. To abandon it in the face of challenge is simply a waste of 50 years [UNITED NATIONS, Oct. 23]. PATRICK M. FERGUSSON, Vancouver, Canada Via E-mail

YOUR STORY SAID THE U.N. UNIVERSITY, “an organization that helps coordinate U.N.-funded research projects worldwide, spent much of its budget between 1982 and 1992 erecting a $100 million building” in Tokyo. Indeed, the U.N. University headquarters building is located in downtown Tokyo, and its construction did come to slightly more than $100 million. However, it was built on a site made available by the Tokyo metropolitan government. Its construction was entirely financed by the government of Japan. Not a single dollar was drawn from the university’s budget or, for that matter, from the U.N.’s regular budget, since the university is entirely financed through voluntary contributions. HEITOR GURGULINO DE SOUZA, Rector U.N. University Office in North America New York City

CLOSE ENCOUNTERS ONLINE

IN HER ACCOUNT OF BEING PROPOSItioned for online sex by “Demonboy” [ESSAY, Oct. 23], Barbara Ehrenreich does not offer any answers to the question of how such easily encountered pornography affects children. Nor does she have a clue as to the questions that need to be asked. She solicits our sympathy for her mental confusion by confiding that she “actually believed” technology would solve all the isolation and disillusionment that plague society, while she is stunningly ignorant of the fact that it is our dependence on science and invention rather than on rectitude and intellectual integrity that has contributed to our catastrophic slide into the sewer. MARIAN SCHEELE, Modesto, California

IF IT IS TRUE THAT “DEMONBOY” IS AS young as essayist Ehrenreich seems to believe, is it ethical to print his screen name in a national magazine? LINDA ANGELOFF SAPIENZA, Fort Washington, Pennsylvania Via AOL

As the Essay indicated, Ms. Ehrenreich made up that screen name.

CLOUT AMONG REPUBLICANS

I VEHEMENTLY DISAGREE WITH THE title and assertions made in the story “Follow–or Move Over” [CONGRESS, Oct. 23] that suggest Speaker Newt Gingrich wields the political power to give Senator Bob Dole this ultimatum. Granted, Gingrich was the driving force in the Contract with America. Yet no one campaigned harder for change in the “revolution” of last fall’s elections than Dole. Moreover, Gingrich does not have as much clout among Republicans as your article claims. Many Republicans question his character, his hypocrisy and his motives. Dole is a seasoned veteran, having served for more than 35 years in Congress; and while he understands the importance of brokering compromises in his position as majority leader, that does not mean he is standing in the way of Gingrich’s revolution. THOMAS J. RATCLIFF, Cortland, Ohio

YOU RAN A PICTURE WITH YOUR STORY “Follow–or Move Over” that left the impression that I am lecturing Senate majority leader Bob Dole or forcing him (in your words) “to get with the G.O.P. legislative program.” This is not just misleading; it is patently false. As that photograph was being taken, I was running down a series of points concerning President Clinton. Senator Dole and I, like the respective chambers that we lead, are committed partners in the budget-negotiation process. We are on the same page and “with” the same program. NEWT GINGRICH, Speaker House of Representatives Washington

RESTORING A TATTERED IMAGE

O.J. SIMPSON MAY STILL HAVE HIS Ferrari and Bentley cars and his beautiful home in Brentwood, but that doesn’t make him a hero to millions of abused women who live in greater fear because of his not-guilty verdict [PRESS, Oct. 23]. Rather than talk about knocking that chip off Marcia Clark’s shoulder, Simpson should just keep quiet and forget about big advertising contracts. GEORGE A. DEAN, Southport, California

IN SIMPSON’S PHONE-CALL INTERVIEW with the New York Times, he said he had been wrong to “get physical” with his wife. Simpson went on to tell the Times later in the interview, “I’d like to be able to knock that chip off Marcia’s shoulder.” Seems to me that Simpson still has difficulty in trying to control his impulses and anger in committing violence against women LOUISE PASTUCK, New York City

More Must-Reads from TIME

Contact us at letters@time.com