"We've adapted, and the Makah need to, also"
A sampling of readers' letters, faxes and e-mail.
The hunt for heritage need not encompass barbaric throwback
Editor, The Times:
Regarding "Gray whale shot, killed in rogue tribal hunt" [Times page one, Sept. 9]: I've always thought the Makah Tribe's reason for hunting whales was weak.
The idea that because their ancestors hunted whales, they therefore should be able to hunt whales, is silly. Our European ancestors hunted whales in the 18th and 19th centuries; but guess what? Our modern world has a revolutionary new concept: grocery stores! We don't need to go out destroying these intelligent and highly social mammals in order to obtain food. We've adapted, and the Makah need to, also.
The fact that this creature was tortured for 12 hours makes me sick. What is so traditional about using speedboats and powerful guns to hunt whales with?
The only reason I can see for this barbaric practice is that a few tribal members can prove they are some sort of He-Men. What a sad tradition.
— Craig Erkelens, Seattle
A salvage mission
The intentional, brutal killing of a gray whale this week was outrageous. The animal slowly bled to death for close to eight hours. For what? For someone to revive their heritage? Must we hold onto, or revive, heritages that are abhorrent or cruel, especially when that tradition is no longer necessary for survival? First Nations people in this area haven't relied on whale meat to survive for decades.
We wouldn't approve slavery or head-hunting simply because it was a tradition in the past, why should we allow whale hunting, simply because a particular cultural group wants to do it?
One man involved in the Makah hunt attempted to justify their actions by claiming that the whale "chose them" by swimming toward their boat ["Whale hunter: 'I'm not ashamed,' " page one, Sept. 10]. What a distortion. The poor animal simply didn't know to fear man, and slaughtering it was akin to shooting any unsuspecting animal or pet that has become accustomed to living with humans.
Native communities would be far better served attempting to encourage whale populations that don't fear man. They could then develop businesses that would build on the tourist attraction of whale watching and enjoy the economic spinoffs.
It is also extremely upsetting to learn that Vancouver Island Natives are also being given the treaty right to kill whales. Why is this happening? If we want to build a better world, we need to value the environment and animals that live in it, and we need compassion for those that can't speak for themselves. This includes intelligent and rare sea animals such as whales.
— Jane Walton, Chemainus, Vancouver Island, B.C.
Clinging to jetsam
The Makah Indians should have the right to hunt any whale any time, provided they do it like their ancestors did 200 years ago — by forgoing outboard motors, fiberglass boats, aluminum boats, high-powered weapons, cellphones, iPods, computers, telephones, televisions, radios, indoor plumbing, modern medicine, pickup trucks, cars; by using bones for spear tips instead of steel, and not using power tools for canoe-making, or electricity, of course, for the aforementioned power tools; foreswear modern dentistry, Wal-Mart, central heating (a big fire in the middle of their abode is OK), MTV.
Yes, this is sarcasm. It is also 2007.
— Bob Johnson, Renton
Fetch my hat
I was very pleased to read that Jane Balogh won't be convicted for registering Duncan, her dog, to vote ["Deal reached with woman who registered dog to vote," Local News, Sept. 6]. She is being a very good citizen for pointing out the incompetence of the federal government, though that doesn't take much searching.
Under current law, registration is basically on the honor system, which allows anyone from any country to come here, open a utility account and use it as "identification" of legitimacy and register to vote. This is ridiculous since it allows anyone here illegally to register with very little effort.
We should all applaud Balogh for pointing out the severe inadequacy of oversight of this very important right afforded to citizens only, and for being so committed to seeing changes made in the system that she risked conviction.
My hat is off to you, Ms. Balogh!
— Carl Tuttle, Seattle
Find my wallet
I was so touched by the photo of the dog, Starr [showing her being held by her owners while receiving rehydration treatment at the Union Gospel Mission clinic: "Comfort for a comforting friend," Local News, Sept. 11].
I would like readers to know the name of the organization that provides this no-cost care for the animals of the homeless and those of low income: The Doney Memorial Pet Clinic is responsible, and I have seen for myself the wonderful job it does. This clinic has been in operation for about 20 years. It operates on a very slim budget and donations are much appreciated! When I send them a donation, I know it will all be put to good use.
I hope Starr, the ill dog in the photo, is feeling better. It is obvious her owners love her very much.
— Karla Rae Litzenberger, Seattle
Hotel magnate Leona Helmsley left $12 million to her dog — probably not something that I would have thought of doing ["Helmsley wills her dog $12 million," News, Aug. 30].
I love little yipper dogs just like the next guy, but we simply can't let this pooch get a hold of $12 million.
If this little barker gets the dough, every Rover, Jack and Harry will start demanding money. There would be a hoarding of bones and pig's ears. Dry dog food would be replaced by moist, meaty, canned dog food. There would be wild, out-of-control doggie raves and no fire hydrant would be safe. Leashes? We don't need no stinkin' leashes!
Lassie worship. Rampant humping of human legs. Doggie reality shows would take over TV. Foxhounds would refuse to hunt. Jack Russell terriers would double their enthusiasm. The chaos will be catastrophic.
To prevent this tragedy, I'm in contact (I think) with the guy on TV who talks to dead guys. After contacting Leona, I'm sure she'll understand our concern, especially when I tell her about all the bones buried in her backyard.
Let's nip this doggie-money mania in the bud.
P.S.: Don't let your dogs watch "Entertainment Tonight" or "Access Hollywood" until this thing blows over. No use feeding the fire.
— Bob Snyder, Lynnwood
Copyright © 2007 The Seattle Times Company
Sam and Sara Lucchese create handmade pasta out of their kitchen-garage adjacent to their Ballard home. Here, they illustrate the final steps in making pappardelle pasta.