Letters to the Editor

Readers' views

Humans should show more respect for bats

As a longtime member of Bat Conservation International, I was greatly disappointed in Herald-Leader staffer Michael White's report on the rabid bat recently found near Hampton Court. The statement from health officials that ”rabid bats are not uncommon“ is in error.

One is more likely to come in contact with a rabid dog or other animal than a bat.

The real issue is that when bats are found in a populated area, whether or not they have rabies, they are subjected to much more negative publicity than other animals. These innocent creatures have been misunderstood and unfairly treated for far too long.

It's important for people to know how beneficial and vital they are to us and the environment. Not only do many species feed on pesky insects such as mosquitoes, but others also pollinate fruits and flowers. In fact, with bee colonies mysteriously disappearing in droves recently, bats could very well become our main source of pollination.

So, yes, one should always take care not to touch bats or any other undomesticated animal. But please be kind to the planet's only flying mammals and treat them with the respect they've longed deserved.

Jamie Saunders


Dangerous defense

As a recovering alcoholic, I am aware of the problems this addiction can cause. However, I am appalled to see an acquittal of Melbourne ”The Man“ Mills based primarily on the fact that he was drunk during the negotiations on behalf of his fen-phen clients.

This seems to send a disturbing message that one should not be held accountable for crimes committed while under the influence of alcohol or drugs. I can only assume that this is good news for any jail or prison inmate serving time for crimes committed as a result of addictions.

Does this verdict mean that a person who is irresponsible enough to drive while in an altered state of consciousness and cause the injury or death of another individual should suffer no consequences because he is an addict? Does it mean that addiction is a viable defense for any crimes committed and should always result in acquittal? Or is it only to be used as a means for unethical lawyers to steal millions from the clients they are paid to represent?

These questions have caused me to stop and think about the possible effects this verdict could have on future litigation.

In the meantime, perhaps Mills should toast his good fortune with a bottle or two of Dom Perignon. After all, if he does anything stupid, unethical or criminal he can simply apologize for falling off the wagon and put the champagne on trial.

Leslie Durso


Get rid of chemicals

Well here we are again: another reported leak at the Army Depot. Are we surprised? No. Why? Because the darn stuff just won't go away. Why? Because some little group in Berea has gained some influence in the political arena.

The citizens of Madison County and Central Kentucky have been held hostage by the Chemical Weapons Working Group.

Millions, possibly billions, of dollars have been spent studying and restudying methods of getting rid of this stuff. It must be made to go away.

The Pentagon has made several attempts and proposals to destroy or move the material. It will not get up and move on its own, and this non-profit group will not release its hold.

How do these folks get their money to operate? How do they find the time to travel worldwide to visit other facilities that store hazardous material? Exactly what qualifies the group's director, Craig Williams, as a chemical weapons expert?

It is way past time for action. The quickest, most economical way is to repeal the law against transporting such chemicals and move it to a proven disposal facility. If we wait on the proposed, unproven facility to be constructed in Richmond, it will not be gone until at least 2017 and after many more millions of taxpayer dollars are spent.

With each leak comes more danger and a greater potential for release and injury to the residents of the immediate area.

Bobby Botner


Army bears watching

In response to Edwin Tucker's July 19 letter advocating that citizens keep quiet and simply ”let the Army do its job“ in destroying the stockpile of chemical weapons in Madison County, I would mention chemical agent testing, nuclear testing, Agent Orange and Gulf War illness.

What do these have in common? The military, simply left to do its job, caused hundreds of thousands of soldiers and civilians to die or suffer severe and often permanent health damage, while claiming what these people were doing was perfectly safe.

In some cases, the military wasn't the cause, but denied any impact had occurred.

Thanks for the advice, but many people, including me, feel a whole lot better knowing the Army is engaged with the public and is constantly reminded of what's important to the communities when destroying weapons of mass destruction in our own back yard.

Craig Williams


Chemical Weapons Working Group


No exception

After reading the July 25 letter ”Keep yard signs,“ my reaction was, ”Well, I guess we are becoming a nation of whiners, after all.“

Doesn't that letter just sound like a teenager saying, ”But, Mom, all the other kids are going“?

There are about five homes on the 200 and 500 blocks of Albany Road, a much-traveled street, whose owners seem to be completely unaware of the law regarding political signs or seem to think that they are an exception to the rule.

Joann Walker


New life and history

There has been verbose discussion about the razing of downtown buildings for The Webb Companies' CentrePointe project. Though I share the preservationists' belief that the history of this city is vitally important, the need for a breath of fresh air downtown is just as necessary.

My complaint with the preservationists doesn't deal with views, but timing. Why didn't they care more about broadcasting the ”historical necessity“ of these downtown buildings before they were demolished?

I say, as a popular song does, ”You don't know what you got till it's gone.“ Either the preservationists did know what we had but chose not to proclaim its importance or they did not know and are lashing back in anger.

I must admit, the change in scenery will be disheartening as I enjoyed the rustic view of downtown. But the section in question was perhaps one of the most rundown parts of the inner city. To see such a new building among the other historic, homey Kentucky buildings will be just another piece of proof that Kentucky has merged its proud past, active present and desire for improvement in the future.

I propose touting the vivacious other historic Lexington spots and appreciating what is historic to every one of us. Tours, markers, Internet/book media about all the historic spots — any way to share the history of the city we love.

Howard Elam