By the time most of you read this, the shootings at VMI will have faded slightly from the medias spotlight. As of 4/18 though, about 20 out of 30 minutes in my local 6:30 p.m. news was still devoted to the campus shootings. Its horrific that someone could commit this campus shooting rampage. Its also scary that NBC would immediately release the shooters deranged manifesto (complete with TWO NBC bugs marking the footage as an NBC exclusive) for the next sick attention-seeker to emulate.
Perhaps the scariest thing of all is that on the same day about 500 civilians were killed in one of the most violent days yet in Iraq... and the media barely covered ANY of it. I wonder if wed still be stuck in Iraq if Americans valued Iraqi lives the same way they value their own childrens lives? I wonder if Americas attention span allows our society to comprehend the horrific carnage in Iraq thats ... well... indirectly a result of our illegal / immoral invasion.
How bout it war mongers out there? If youve ever supported the war, I think the time is right for you to volunteer to go to exciting places like Baghdad. You (few) non-hypocritical, right-wingers out there can help restore order, and bring democracy. Hurry though, before theres another big story in the mainstream media. Then, if you get blown up bringing western democracy to the masses, it might just be another historical footnote covered perfunctorily in the last five seconds of the evening news.
Scott Jones Kalkaska
On a roll with cycling
I read with interest Kristi Kates April 12 article in the Northern Express on the future of bicycling. I agree wholeheartedly with her assessment of the need for more people riding bikes for more purposes, but I disagree with some of her vision of the future.
I dont think bikes with amazing lightness and aerodynamics, nor bike facilities consisting of enclosed transglide corridors have much to do with the real future of bicycling. In terms of the bike, the future is here. This simple machine has changed very little in 100 years, and no matter whether it is made of carbon fiber, titanium or cheap steel, it is the most efficient form of transportation per energy input.
The real future, in my opinion, is re-engineering our cities to invite the bicyclist. It involves people on simple utilitarian bicycles riding along welcoming street right of ways, designed not only for bikes, but also for pedestrians, buses and autos. This future also involves a smaller footprint devoted to auto parking, and the removal of the barriers caused by unfriendly, auto dominated streets.
Bicycling provides an intimate connection to neighborhoods and neighbors. It is a green, healthy, and fun mode of transportation. The cities where biking currently works are not filled with carbon fiber bikes and transglide corridors. They are filled with single speed bikes pedaled by all kinds of people to every destination. They are prosperous, vibrant, human scaled communities. Please dont make me ride my bicycle inside a plastic tube, even with a tailwind.
I agree very much with Ms. Kates ending sentence: However we approach it, its time for the U.S. to catch up to many other parts of the world when it comes to eschewing our cars and finding other efficient methods of transportation and bicycling is a great way to start. If you are ready to give it a try, get involved this year in the 13th Annual Smart Commute Week, starting June 4. This Traverse City original is getting more popular every year check it out at www.traversetrails.org. The future is now.
Bob Otwell Executive Director
TART Trails, Inc.
Common sense & art
This is in response to Andrew Buelows April 19 Northern Express article, Michigan Arts on the Rocks. It comes from a painter who has been practicing his art for 45 years, most of them in Michigan; a retired college art professor; a sometime art critic; and an enthusiastic collector, consumer, and appreciator of culture and the arts. In addition, two of my children have entered vocations in the field.
With all due respect for the Traverse Symphony, the Dennos Museum, Interlochen, and all the other cultural venues that enhance and enrich our lives in the Grand Traverse area, Mr. Buelows arguments fail to convince. The notion that government will revitalize the states economy by offering support to art and culture seems misguided. Common sense suggests the opposite: that prudently investing in and re-igniting the states economy will have, if successful, a magnetic and salutary effect on culture and the arts. Then the synergy that Mr. Buelow desires will exist and flourish.
Individual appreciation of art depends on three factors: sound education, personal acculturation, and a little, or a lot of, cash to spend on ones pleasures. A vibrant state economy would provide sufficient funding for a sound educational system as well as sufficient leisure time and discretionary dollars for an increasing number of citizens to pursue the process of personal acculturation. Under those conditions, support would flow naturally to the arts. After all, financial support that is elicited from knowledgeable and sympathetic consumers is far more meaningful, viable, and equitable than support that is indifferently levied on every taxpayer in the state, regardless of his or her personal interests.
Although our own area is uniquely fortunate, Michigans economy looks pretty awful, and it may continue to look that way for a while. In the meantime, a career in culture and the arts is an immense privilege. At times it may be necessary to make sacrifices in order to maintain that privilege.
Harvey Gordon Glen Arbor
It sure is great having a paper like the Northern Express covering local events and happenings. Imagine my surprise when I found out that the cover photo in the last issue was from CLIP ART.
Im shocked that with all the local bikers, runners, skiers, etc., that you couldnt find a local athlete to put on the cover.
Clip art has its place Im sure. For example maybe the 4th graders‘ school report. There is a reason it‘s free. If you need pictures I would gladly offer my services, no charge.
Jeff Gaft TC
(Perhaps you missed the 18 inches of snow the week our cover shoot was scheduled? -- ed.)
Action on autism
Many thanks to Anne Stanton and Robert Downes for their wonderful articles on the struggles and joys of living with autism spectrum disorder. The stories of these families were moving and extremely uplifting!
To let the community know, there is a local support group, Autism Resource Network (ARN), which meets regularly. To be linked with other families affected with autism spectrum disorder or to find more information, please visit our website,
www.autismresourcenetwork.org. We are delighted that the community and our nation are gaining more awareness and support. Thank you to Northern Express Weekly for being a part of it!
Liz Waligorski TC
Health reform needed
I was recently diagnosed with severe degenerative osteoarthritis. Being a full time student and father, I have not had the extra income for health insurance premiums.
I have always been a big believer in health insurance, and up until three years ago always had coverage. The premiums became more than I could afford. I sold myself on the fact that I am relatively young and in good health and that I would be fine. I knew that my luck would probably change at some future date, but I would deal with it then.
I went to apply for health insurance but was declined because of my illness. I even sought the State of Michigan as a last resort but I did not meet the guidelines.
Frustrated and bewildered because of the constant pain, I am in and knowing that a hip operation more than likely would alleviate the pain but I cant afford it. So, I lay awake each night praying that I can get some sleep and that this constant pain will go away. No such luck.
Why doesnt America have national health care reform? Many countries have national health care and it works well. Has health care become a luxury for only the rich? Is the bottom line of our society all about money? More than likely health insurance premiums will go up and not go down.
When will it become too expensive for you to have insurance? Then what? At what point will the people of this country demand that the current health care crisis be resolved?
One solution to this crisis is national health care reform. Health coverage for all, even the poor. I know many physicians that help out for little or no money because they believe that is what being a doctor is all about. However, surgery and hospital stays are a different thing.
I am not a person who believes in living off of the government and having a free lunch. People need to be paid for their services, and physicians should get paid. There comes a point though, when average American families can no longer have health insurance because the premiums are outrageous. That is crazy; the health system needs to be fixed, and soon.
Noah Creamer GVSU sttudent