Letters for Wednesday, July 23, 2008

• Lifeguards’ quick response

• Shoot pigs, learn to bandage soldiers

• Protecting plots from birds

• Polarity of opinions

Lifeguards’ quick response

The article in Sunday’s The Garden Island describing the tragic drowning at Tunnels (“Woman pulled from Tunnels dies,” A1, July 20) needs some clarification. The article reports that “a pair of lifeguards arrived on the scene some 15 minutes after the woman had been pulled out of the water.”

The fact is that the lifeguards were at the victim’s side, with oxygen and a defibrillator, within 120 seconds of receiving the call from dispatch. And dispatch issued the call within seconds of recieving the 911 call. There is an unknown in this timeline, and that is how long it was before 911 was called by a bystander at the scene.

A lot of work has been done toward a system that achieves a rapid response by our lifeguards. The system includes having all the on-duty lifeguards being tied into 911, having defibrillators at every tower and having JetSkis and/or ATVs at certain towers. The Ha‘ena Beach Park tower has an ATV. The power of the bystander cell-phone is a key component to this system, but it’s not a component that can be controlled by our professionals.

What I wish I could say is that the Ha‘ena Beach Park lifeguards could, with their binoculars, reliably see all that is going on at Tunnels, two to three football fields away. They try their best, but it’s impossible, just as it’s impossible for the Po‘ipu Beach Park lifeguards to see all that is going on in front of the Waiohai and the Sheraton. For all our advances, this is still the dilemma we have on Kaua‘i: We have 10 lifeguard towers and we have 30 or 40 heavily used beaches. Many of these beaches (including Tunnels) have deceptive unseen currents. We’ve tried to impact this dilemma by having our ATVs and JetSkis, and many dozens of lives have been saved because of them and the skillful and brave lifeguards who operate them.

In other states many beaches actually have buoys and ropes that designate the area in which lifeguards can effectively oversee the swimmers and beachgoers. It’s a stretch for us to even be trying to impact much wider coverage areas. But unless we run into some serious windfall funding it’s the best we can do and we believe it’s worth the effort, even though there will inevitably be failures.

The “arrived after 15 minutes” statement makes our lifeguards look bad. The fact is they are really good. Just ask our emergency room nurses and doctors who regularly get to see their rescued near-drowning victims and the eternally grateful families.

Monty Downs,

emergency room doctor, Wilcox Memorial Hospital

Shoot pigs, learn to bandage soldiers

I would like to respond to an article in The Garden Island on Saturday (“PETA vows to challenge Army on killing pigs,” A5, July 19).

The Army is practicing bandaging for their medics by shooting pigs, and then applying bandages to them.

Wow. How far we in America have come.

So basically, you have a corral full of pigs who have been anesthetized, presumably so that the pain of being shot is less.

Or is it to slow them down and make the shooting easier?

Or both?

And a bunch of guys with guns and bandages.

Ghandi said you can judge a society by how it treats its animals.

So it seems obvious that we keep going back instead of forward here in America.

Two steps forward, one step back.

Their logic is that they need to train their medics for all of the young Americans who they plan on continually sending to Iraq and Afghanistan for years and years to come.

So instead of ending a war that was waged against a country that posed no threat, the Army in its infinite wisdom has decided to randomly shoot animals so that medics can practice bandaging them.

So that they can bandage another 30,000 young Americans who will be fighting for their very lives after a tour of Iraq.

Only in America.

What’s the definition of sociopathic behavior again?

God bless our fearful leaders.

Dennis Chaquette


Protecting plots from birds

How ludicrous to “protect” the Syngenta plots from Hawai‘i’s diversity of birds (“Making money chasing birds,” A1, July 22).

It is the birds (and us) who need protection. Protection from the massive volumes of chemicals and genetic pollution implemented by this company, poisoning our land, air and water.

Presently, Hawai‘i has the greatest number of endangered species of any state in the U.S. Syngenta’s destructive agricultural practices are paving the way for a permanent “silent spring.”

God help the poor soul whose job it is to sit in one of these fields, hour after hour, day in and day out, surrounded by those toxins. How many years might such a job take off a person’s life? Have any studies been done? No.

Have we seen countless examples of illness and death among workers in chemical agriculture? Most definitely.

We need jobs, but do we need this? Let’s build an economy based on “green” jobs, not one which exposes everyone and everything to endless spraying, such as seen with Pioneer and Syngenta.

Archie Mead


Polarity of opinions

The real problem is not the protesters on surfboards, as Don Paul says (“The cost of protest,” Letters, July 13), or Don Paul’s views, as Joseph Crocona says (“Ignorance is bliss,” Letters, July 16).

The real problem is the absolute polarity of opinion. Interesting that Crocona calls Paul “Mr. One Way” then goes on to identify himself as also being “Mr. One Way” (the opposite way).

I think this is an example of the main problem we have today; the refusal of many to consider the validity of an opposing view. There is obviously, to me at least, validity in the positions of both of these people. But I would be willing to bet, if we put them in a room together to discuss these issues, they would emerge with the exact views they went in with. And this is the big problem. If we are to go forward in a constructive way we need to have respect for people who care enough to be out there thinking about, talking about and trying to do something about their opinions, even if we don’t agree with them. Then maybe we could have discussions based on logic that would actually accomplish something. The man known to many as the wisest ever is Socrates. He didn’t trust his own wisdom however, so he tried to gain wisdom through the logical questioning of those who claimed knowledge. Listen. Consider. Go into a discussion with an open mind and respect for the views of others. Maybe something good could happen.

Bruce Savage



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