NO HOME ON THE RANGE
Thank you for Jack Olsen's superb article The Poisoning of the West (March 8 et seq.). It is nearly beyond belief that today, after years of painful lessons supposedly learned from past slaughters under the label of predator control, we still have men who advocate and practice the destruction of wildlife for immediate economic gain, with no thought given to long-term ecological effects or to the immediate good bestowed upon man by living wildlife or to the morality of such actions.
If Edwin Marsh's thinking is representative of the membership of the National Wool Growers Association and of the powerful sheepmen's lobby in Washington, perhaps we should be boycotting products made of American-raised wool. Each year more land is turned to dust by overgrazing in areas where sheep do not belong. If we allow foolish men to destroy innocent wildlife, we shall gain nothing. And when the plant life has been destroyed by the sheep, the range sheep industry will die, too.
Your fine article points out once again the difficulty in reaching firm conclusions about ecological issues. Jack Olsen paints a vivid picture of poisoning villains, yet the rebuttals say it just ain't so. In my opinion, you have presented one more example of our ability to trade off natural resources in the name of economic advancement. When do we reach the point of diminishing returns where a gain in the standard of living becomes a loss in the standard of life? It is sad that we do not feel more of a sense of revulsion and rage at what is happening in our land for the sake of progress. America the beautiful? Hmmm.
TIMOTHY R. WRIGHT
The very fact that the stockmen can afford to pay high prices for pilots to spread their lands with poison illustrates that the loss of a few animals to predators would not hurt them financially. More important than the stockmen's financial profit or loss situation is the fact that they are literally stealing from the American public (with the ever-faithful help of Congress, of course).
State College, Pa.
Until I read Jack Olsen's article I held the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in very high esteem. I understand the problems in this situation brought forth by Jack Berryman, chief of Wildlife Services, but it still seems incredible to me that the Government can go on using poisons for predator control in light of the increasing volume of literature showing the dangers of the supposedly safe poisons not only to wildlife but to man.
As for the practices of some of the sheepmen, I have nothing but contempt. I could not fail to note the enlightened attitude of many members of this industry, but I am becoming increasingly angry and filled with dismay at the ignorant savagery of some. Won't we ever learn?
JON A. HAWKINSON
The article made my stomach turn and it made me cry. But most of all, it made me want to do something about the situation. I wrote to my Congressmen.
One hope for the survival (or should it be revival?) of our ecological balance lies in the passage of appropriate legislation dealing not only with poison control but with all facets of man's chemical assault on nature; and the legislation must be followed by proper enforcement. This step can be encouraged if all concerned persons make their feelings known as loudly and as vehemently as do the sheepmen through their lobby. I hope all who read the article and felt outraged will write to their state and national officials.
Thank you for an informative and much needed article. Many people out here don't realize what is happening because too often the only information available is an advertisement for bounties on coyotes.
Because of this lack of information and also because of the relatively clear skies, clean water and general lack of "city problems," too many Westerners are typical of your sheepmen. "Why should we worry about pollution?" they ask. "We don't have any." We're working on it, though.
That was a splendid article on Jack Nicklaus' PGA victory (Dominance of the Smiling Bear, March 8) by your consummate golf writer and resident court jester, Dan Jenkins. How can anyone doubt that Nicklaus is the greatest active golfer—and maybe the best of all time—now that he has won each of the four major pro tournaments for the second time? The fact that he is the only golfer who is even seriously given a chance of pulling off a Grand Slam—winning all four in the same year—attests to his greatness.
Way to go, SI and Sheedy & Long. Congratulations on the fine photograph of Ernie Banks (Yippi-I-O-Ki-Ay, Spring Again, March 8). Even though it's only spring training—and the shot shows mostly his back—anytime you can see any part of Mr. Cub it's a real treat. Cubs all the way in '71!
BRUCE M. LEVEK
After reading Deborah Haber's article on tennis in Hollywood (Hollywood Tennis Does Socko Biz, March 8), I hope that in the future you will not waste your time and effort reporting on such jet-set, ego-trip-oriented celebrities. You have insulted your readers by reporting on what superstatus-conscious people like Joianna Ogner do with their leisure time.
As a veteran of the Hollywood tennis wars (I used to live there), I thank you for the amusing article. It was punchy, funny and oh so true. Let's have more.
New York City
Concerning the collegiate dunk controversy (SCORECARD, March 1), I think that the rule makers missed a simple solution that would have protected boards and bodies without eliminating basketball's home run.
At the time of the antistuff ruling, there already existed a goaltending rule which, among other things, made touching the basket and its superstructure illegal. The dangers of the dunk are that players often end their stuff shots with both hands grasping the rim, sometimes breaking the entire basket structure, or they try to protect their shots from defenders by laying their wrists on the rim before releasing the ball. Less emotional, more objective analysis of the situation on the part of the NCAA would have shown that this abuse of the shot, rather than the spectacular stuff itself, is what should have been regulated against.
If dunking were to be allowed and the goal-tending rule enforced, the stuff might lose its advantage in crowded situations under the basket, but on breakaways and free layups the fans could be treated to what is obviously their favorite play.
Without debating whether the dunk shot is good or bad, let me remind you that the reason for stopping it was not injuries or the advantage to taller players or smashed-up equipment. The real reason can be stated in just two words—Lew Alcindor. Rules made to neutralize a single individual rarely stand the test of time.
I would like to correct a bad impression created by your Feb. 22 SCORECARD item, "To Cook a Coot." The coot of California is the true coot and not to be confused with the "coot" of Van Campen Heilner, which was actually the scoter.
The scoter subsists largely on animal life while the coot is a vegetarian with food habits much the same as the canvasback and baldpate, highly acceptable ducks. Just last night I had broiled coot breasts under bacon strips. Delicious! Those bad jokes have kept a lot of hunters from even trying a meal of true coot.
R. V. SUMMERSIDE
Pierre, S. Dak.
A letter from Rudy Alvarado of Santa Ana, Calif. (19TH HOLE, March 1) stated that Jim Plunkett played 10 times tougher opponents than did Archie Manning. He also referred to Archie's opposition as "Puff State and the like." Since Mr. Alvarado failed to cite any examples of these puffs, let me do it for him: LSU, Alabama, Auburn, Georgia and Tennessee. Over the years these teams consistently have had good, strong, winning football teams. And Archie defeated another "puff" in the 1970 Sugar Bowl—Arkansas. How about it, Mr. Alvarado? Let's use the word "ruff" instead of "puff" in reference to Mississippi's schedule.
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