Letters for Tuesday, November 25, 2008

• The Hapa Trail and ruins

• Be tolerant

• Now I know why

The Hapa Trail and ruins

There are in the classical sense and by any reasonable measure a series of archaeologically rare and visually compelling ruins in Poipu/Koloa, along the Hapa Trail.

You can absorb this impressive site by simply walking southward on the Hapa Trail from St. Raphael church and periodically looking left. Much has been removed, but clear remnants of a series of ancient interconnected walled structures remain. It is the last standing part of a large, complex agricultural engineering works science says date to Medieval Europe and historical records show lasted long enough to literally feed well the California Gold Rush.

Please know these novelties are on private property slated for development. And granted, a few clusters of world-class homes would do well on these panoramic ocean-view lots. Unfortunately, the bulk of the ruins would not survive creating such home density. So take good photos as only a fraction of the sites you would see are set to be saved (as only a select few ruins were marked as “preservation sites” per the old owner-commissioned “archaeological assessments”).

Afterwards, among other things, consider supporting any efforts to reach a compromise with the large landowner there such that this impressive site is largely kept intact. Such support would help accomplish four (4) goals: (1) compensate the land owner; (2) aid the Poipu/Koloa circulation plan via trail enhancement; (3) preserve intrinsically interesting stone architecture and an indisputably archaeologically rare site, and; (4) pay proper credit to the persons responsible for this never-similarly-replicated and undeniably effective agricultural engineering feat.

•  Benjamin Montgomery, Po‘ipu

Be tolerant

I’m sure all of us agree that we should be tolerant. But believers must understand that they don’t have the right to impose their beliefs on others. If one believes … accent on belief … that same sex marriage or anything else they might conjure up … is a sin they can convert. They can plead and argue and make a case. Go door to door with a book in hand. They can threaten hell’s fire and damnation, the wrath of their God, and force anyone in their religious neck of the woods to conform, but they do not have the right to pass a law … accent on law … which does not allow those who do not hold to their belief to follow suit.

Why in the world can’t a believer accept that?  

• Bettejo Dux,  Kalaheo

Now I know why

I missed coaching swim practice recently to attend a forum on teenage suicide. Although the presenters could only provide three-year-old data, it was stated that Hawai‘i has one of the highest rates per capita of teenage suicide. While one would wish for current data, teenage suicide was an issue three years ago, and it seems to have become an epidemic lately. One cannot help but believe that if the state of Hawai‘i had one of the highest rates three years ago, then like drowning, Kaua‘i must have one off the highest rates in the world.

I attended Tuesday’s forum to learn of ways to identify, intervene, and help. I am passionate about our youth.

It could be just me, but it seemed to be a misplacement of time and resources. I could not have been more disappointed. I feel so sorry for the families that have recently lost a loved one because, in my humble opinion, just showing why our teenage suicide rate on Kaua‘i is so high offers little practical help. The presenters talked only about the obvious. “Depression and disconnect is the reason for suicide.” When they talked about signs and symptoms, again they simply stated the obvious. I cannot believe that these people truly believe that our community is so naive that they have to talk about the obvious. Maybe it is not so obvious?

After all, one just needs to look around, or grab a newspaper and see that the common sense is not so common today. Yet we wonder why our youth are confused and disconnected.

The presenters went on to talk about all the help and agencies that are supposedly available in preventing teenage suicide. If all this help is available would our teenage suicide rate be so high? Again, perhaps not just a waste of time and resources, but money also?

A speaker told a heart wrenching story of his disabled 26-year-old son committing suicide. His story brought tears to my eyes. God bless him and his family as well as all other families touched by this tragedy. Yet with all my respect to this individual and his family, he made a comment saying that his handicapped son told him that all he wanted to do was help people but felt that he was unable because of his handicap. And the speaker agreed with his son. Again, with extreme respect and sadness, special needs people can not only help others but can be productive citizens. Having lots of wonderful opportunities working with teen children and adults with special needs for over 30 years, I know this firsthand. Not being a parent of an individual with special needs some may say I am out of line here. If one feels that way, for this, I apologize. On O‘ahu, where this young man was, these opportunities are very readily available. Ask me. I am a Honolulu boy myself.

Please do not get me wrong. I applaud the effort of the presenters to help. Yet like the one speaker said when talking about his son, these kids want to help. They want to be a part of something. So maybe instead of meetings and forums we can all go out there and do some practical work. Imagine if the presenters and exhibitors had spent their time actually working with our youth, practically and physically, instead of talking and meeting. I am no expert in the area of teen suicide and do not pretend to be one, but if this time were given directly to our children, could that make a difference? We may never know because the powers that be need to use their time to schedule and attend meetings and forums and raising money to accomplish same while our teenagers are trying to figure out what life is about.

Kaua‘i, one of the highest rates of teenage suicide, now I know why.

• Orlando Anaya

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