Letters for Tuesday, June 17, 2008

• Hope for those in despair

• We can co-exist

• It happens with dogs

• Is this progress?

• Let’s fire them

Hope for those in despair

I want to thank Michael Levine, a new staff writer at The Garden Island newspaper, for printing my comments to U.S. Representative of Congress Mazie Hirono about the suicide epidemic on Kaua‘i and the need to raise public awareness about suicide prevention. However, some clarification is required.

The article in Sunday’s paper (“Constituents chat with Hirono about war,” A1, June 15) mentioned a lack of resources for people struggling with depression. We actually do have resources for depression here on Kaua‘i including excellent doctors, therapists, psychologists and mental health services. What we need are resources and education that specifically address suicide prevention. It is unacceptable that suicide is the second cause of death for teenagers in our country, and here on Kaua‘i we don’t have any ongoing support groups for survivors of suicide, no “out of the darkness” walks, local hotlines or functions to educate people about the warning signs of suicide.

I hope we all can work together to help raise awareness about suicide prevention by educating ourselves and others to help save lives. May we empower our teenagers, teachers, school employees, coaches, parents and everyone with the knowledge of warning signs of depression and suicide so we are able to help those in need. Thank you to The Garden Island newspaper for taking a step in this direction.

To anyone feeling hopeless despair at this moment and thinking death is the only solution to their problems I urge you to reach out for help and know help is available for you. Remember, things will change. To quote an African saying, “No matter how dark the night gets, the sun will rise again.”

Carla Hart


We can co-exist

I was surprised when I read Anne Brookstone’s letter (“Dogs? What about horses?” Letters, June 12).

While I regret that Brookstone had an unpleasant experience, I was surprised by her erroneous assumptions and was shocked by the vitriolic personal tone of her writing.

Since April 2006, I have had the job of my adolescent fantasy working as a trail guide for Dale Rosenfeld’s Esprit De Corps Riding Academy. We take paying guests for trail rides, mainly on the Moalepe Trail, Mondays through Fridays excluding holidays.

Less than 10 percent of these rides (my estimate) continue as far as the Kuilau Trail. We pay per guest for our permitted privilege of riding on the multi-use trails. Our commercial rides have a maximum of six riders, though most have fewer. Yes, we ride in the rain. We respect the trail and are courteous to the pedestrians, dogs and bicyclists with whom we share the trail. Bicycles are never frightened by horses. A horse is not a bicycle. Horses are sensitive, sentient beings that respond to their surroundings. Horses are on the low end of the food chain and, being prey, may perceive a large, quickly moving, horizontally tracking object (bicycle) as a predator. This is why we request bicyclists to please stop while we pass with the horses for the comfort and safety of all.

I was part of the Memorial Day group of eight riders comprised of employees and friends, kids from the apprentice program and Dale. One of the perks of working for Esprit De Corps is being able to ride occasionally as local residents on weekends or holidays — the days we do not take paying guests.

On the occasions that I hike the Moalepe Trail I kick horse poop out of the way, throw rocks off the trail and pick up trash. The “destruction” I see to the trail appears to be primarily the result of the rain run-off which carves gullies and deposits rocks in low lying areas.

May we coexist in peace and harmony on all the trails and beaches of our beautiful island.

Amorosa DeGracia,

LMT, Trail Guide


It happens with dogs

We love dogs but I can appreciate both sides of the dog argument and whether or not they should be allowed on the path.

I moved to Kaua‘i with my 7-year-old daughter from Utah, where they have huge restrictions. Despite a large population of dog owners, there are relatively few public parks that allow for them. This is largely because of dog encounters with other humans that have led to emergency situations much like I see at the hospital.

I have seen the results of seemingly tame dogs who get the best of their owners or children and other loved ones including pets. The pain, guilt and recovery time are long. I also meet tourists who tell me they are grateful Kaua‘i has one of the few places left on the islands where they feel safe to walk without worrying about dogs. That doesn’t equate to being a dog hater at all, but rather a realistic concern about things that can happen. And believe me, they do.

Ingrid Middleton


Editor’s note: The following letter appeared in Monday’s edition with a paragraph from another letter mistakenly attached to the end. What follows is the letter as it should have appeared.

Is this progress?

I guess George Bush and I have different ways of measuring progress. At least this is my conclusion I can draw from the TGI Editorial Roundup, Sunday, “On asylum in the U.S. for Iraqis.” But let’s look at the numbers and the facts.

The United States “liberated” a country, which produced 4.5 million displaced Iraqis. Out of these 2.5 million fled the “liberty” created in Iraq by U.S. and the coalition forces. When looking at the pre-war area, we can see that in 2002, 193 Iraqi citizens applied for admission to the United States as political refugees from Saddam Hussein’s dictatorial regime and the U.S. admitted only 148 of them. Now, according to the article, this nation has to look forward to a new wave of refugees fleeing Iraq, because they can no longer stay in their own country, after having somehow aided the “liberators.” In other words, they helped the liberators to liberate their country, where they can no longer stay because their countrymen who have been liberated with their help hate them so much that they have to leave their liberated country. It’s an interesting side effect of “liberty” and a heck of an interesting way to measure progress.

János Samu



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