Letters for Saturday, June 2, 2007

• A family solution

• Tragedy should be example for everyone

• Need some real representation

A family solution

I was raised with one brother and three sisters. One of my sisters was, in lineage, 100% American Indian, one was Mexican and one was mostly Hawaiian (from Kaua‘i roots as she found out later). My brother and I were of pure German heritage. My mom was big on adopting babies who needed a home.

Every lineage had a sad story to tell (even the German side whose ancestors came to the U.S. because the land they had lived and worked on for centuries was annexed by a country who expelled all the Germans).

As a kid, I was aware that our family didn’t look like the other families. They were homogenous and we were a wild mix of colors, hair textures and features. That fact didn’t embarrass me; it made me proud.

Our diversity made us interesting but it was the fact that we were a family, regardless of how we looked, where our ancestors came from that bound us together.

We played cowboys and Indians, we played Davey Crockett and the Alamo, and we stalked the bushes in surplus store army gear looking for Germans.

It never occurred to us that we might be slandering our heritage; we were out there protecting our family from the bad guys whoever they were.

When we went camping, our Native American sister had rights (given by the government) to fish and collect items that the rest of us didn’t have. She never took advantage of them. She didn’t want to. It would have separated her from the family.

My brother and I were “natural born” but there was never a moment when my adopted sisters were not, in our minds and hearts, just as genuine family members regardless how they got there. And it would have been cruel, unloving and unthinkable to try to make that distinction. (I recall one distant family member trying to favor the “natural borns” over the adopted kids and that my parents, broke ties with this clown as a result).

I would propose a family solution for Kaua‘i. Let’s celebrate our diversity but let go of things that separate us or create an “us and them” mindset. Let’s get over whose ancestors have a sad story to tell or trying to get special entitlements based on our color, blood quantum or lineage or who got here first and work on being a family who share our lives together on this beautiful island.

This is not idealistic gas. It can be done. I know, I lived it.

Rick Bundschuh


Tragedy should be example for everyone

Re: Beating of Kaua‘i born surfer in La Jolla neighborhood ends in death..”

My children played with Emery Kauanui and his brothers. My middle daughter went to the prom in La Jolla, with his older brother Caleb. Another daughter babysat his little brother Nigel. All three boys were raised in an upper/middle- class neighborhood, and they attended upper/middle-class safe schools. Emery lived and died in his hometown of La Jolla. La Jolla is considered a safe neighborhood. Lots of neighborhood watch communities, visible police enforcement, and security systems service most of the homes.

How could this happen? I sit here in the silence, saying a prayer for the Kauanui family members. I am puzzled, uneasy, saddened and grieving. We don’t live in a war zone, yet our neighborhoods are being infiltrated by war zone mentality. Young adults are choosing badly. They fight each other at the drop of a coin. What is going on here? So many families are in tears.

The death of Emery is one I will never understand or comprehend. He was beaten to death by some individuals who knew him since grade school. Why, does it truly matter? Nothing can justify the beating-to-death of another human being, whatever the reasoning. This young man didn’t deserve this fate. His family doesn’t deserve the pain they are now experiencing.

Aren’t we supposed to be a civilized society? In civilized society, what do we want to teach our young people?.

In this case, lots of drinking caused poor choices. Studies have proven, anger and hostility is fueled in inebriated, or recreational drug-enhanced individuals. From what I understand, drinking was the conduit here.

People, we need to wake up.

The neighborhoods are changing, it doesn’t matter where you live these days. This type of behavior is being played out across the Mainland, and throughout the Hawaiian islands. Some of the worst violence is being played out in small towns. It used to be the big cities getting all the attention, and they do have their ongoing problems, but take a good hard look at your own neighborhood. What are you seeing or experiencing firsthand?

Our young people are growing up in a society of anger, frustration and rage. Our future generation is watching us and walking in the shadow of our footfalls…

The Kauanui family didn’t deserve any of this.

No matter how tough things get out there, we need to teach the children by example, alcohol and drugs are NOT the answer to everyday problems. We don’t need to let life get overdosed with everyday nonsense. We need to learn to take a few minutes every single day, to reset/reprogram our overloaded minds. Simple things we can do? Make it a point to eat better, to exercise more, to inspire self. Spend time with our families, re-charge with a walk on the beach, ride a bike, read, yes! Read a good book.

If you are a parent, the children are more important than your job. Talk to your kids, listen to what they have to say. They need to know you hear them. Having problems with the teens? Encourage them to talk things out. Embrace the differences until there is a middle ground. Don’t give up! Do not let the children think that violence or bullying forces someone to respect you. I hear that a lot these days. What a sad commentary. You cannot make someone respect you. Respect is something earned in honorable behavior.

Those young men who chose to hunt down Emery Kauanui are now in jail, sober and facing the futility of ruined, wasted futures.

There is no logical reason in mankind’s existence to understand or explain away this 24-year-old’s violent death. Let this terrible tragedy be an example for everyone out there. Do your part in this world. Start at home, be a ray of light there, be loving. Respect each other for the differences, and be patient. It’s not easy, but learn to be more giving, less selfish. Live inside a place of humility. There IS beauty in everyday mundane assignments. Look for it!

Katie Ryan


Need some real representation

Now that we have the seven clear-thinking individuals who voted against the majority on the big box thing. One idea is to make seven different districts on the island and make these people responsible to the district that they reside in. Then maybe we will have some real representation.

Vote them all out next election. These people continue to be elected for reasons unknown to me.

Time to use the Superferry and travel to O‘ahu for most of my shopping.

Richard Swift



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