Voices From The Readers – October 7, 2016

Voices From The Readers – October 7, 2016

Coastal Birds Excelling


This year has been a good year for rare and endangered water birds, such as black skimmers and royal and common terns nesting on islands behind Ocean City, thanks to the tremendous support shown by so many Ocean City businesses and Eastern Shore residents. These folks recognize the value of these iconic coastal birds to Ocean City’s tourist economy.

In 2015, waterbirds around Ocean City suffered disturbance caused by boaters and other tourists who were unaware of the importance of these nesting islands.

However, in 2016 local residents, restaurants and tackle shops stepped up to post signs and use social media to educate tourists about the birds’ need for undisturbed nesting beaches. Audubon created the signs from wonderful artwork produced for this purpose by Assateague Coastal Trust’s Coast Kids and featuring herons, egrets and seabirds. The general lack of disturbances this summer was a testament to the success of this outreach, as well as to the continuing efforts of Maryland Department of Natural Resources, Natural Resources Police and Maryland Coastal Bays Program whose job it is to protect and manage the birds and their islands.

We at Audubon Maryland-DC very much look forward to working with these great partners to keep these iconic water birds in Maryland in the years to come.

David Curson, Ph.D.

(The writer is the director of Bird Conservation for the Audubon Maryland DC.)

Race Relations Changing?


I have been deeply saddened by what has been seen and heard recently about race relations. Seemingly, we are creeping backwards.

As a white child blessed with being raised by parents from Texas and Oklahoma, I learned early that the races were treated differently. Even at an early age, I couldn’t understand why in our then small town of Edmond, Okla., African-Americans (a term not used at that time) were not allowed to live in that town. In the mornings and evenings groups of “people of color” would walk past our house on the way to the highway bus that would bring them in and out of Edmond where they were allowed to be in town in daytime hours to clean houses, stock shelves in the few businesses in town, or kill chickens at the local grocery for sale to customers. When I asked my father about this, he would shake his head and tell me that there were things and people that just weren’t right or fair.

Then, in the late 40s, we moved to Washington, D.C. for a new job for Dad. When looking for an apartment, my father would have to make the calls because my mother sounded too southern and must therefore be black.

I was enrolled in an all-white elementary school and graduated to an all-white junior high school. Then, it happened. When I was in 8th grade the Washington schools were integrated. What an uproar that caused. Many of the students, including many of my friends, formed a march to the school board offices to protest, supported and often congratulated by their parents for their action. I didn’t participate and really didn’t understand the fuss. Certainly I knew that my parents would give me (what we called then) a “whupping” if I’d even thought about joining the protest march. On this occasion and several times through y youth, my Dad would use his best and always remembered expression, “You are not better than anyone else and no one else is better than you.”

By my high school years, relations between the races seemed to be on an upward trend. Everyone of any race in my school was more interested in just getting out of high school.

In college and at work there was an increased acceptance of multi-racial and multi-cultural environments. The calmer years lasted until the riots in Washington and other cities caused by the death of Martin Luther King.

At the start of the riots, on the DC Transit bus going home from my job, I was one of three or four white people on the very cramped bus. We passed groups of rioters and heavy police and National Guard members attempting to control the rioters. When the bus doors occasionally opened, whiffs of tear gas and pepper spray would enter the bus. I was fortunate enough to have a seat on the bus. The aisle was full of young black men yelling about “whitey” and what they would like to do. As a young white woman catching some breaths of tear gas and surrounded by angry young men, I was trembling all over. Next to me on the seat was an elderly black woman who upon sensing my fear, reached over and patted my knee saying “Honey, don’t be afraid, those young men are just caught up in the excitement and don’t even know what they are saying and don’t even mean it. Besides, I’m an old black grandmother like theirs. They wouldn’t touch a hair on my head or harm my young white friend.”

She was right. Soon the young men started getting off at their stops to head home, as my new grandmother friend had told me, to their worried mothers telling that it was just another day and another bus ride home from school except that they saw rioters in the streets and the cops trying to break them up. They were home safe and wanted dinner.

After that awful period, with hiccups now and again, race relations seemed to be moving to a better state. Blacks and whites were working well side-by-side, went to schools together, played together and sat on each other’ porches having coffee and watching out for each other.

Why do I think that we’re now moving backwards?

I’m pretty old, but not wise enough to answer my own question. I can see and have been told by others that the races are becoming polarized. There is a stronger sense of “them and us” and a generalized mistrust of races other than our own.

The most obvious and pervasive emotion in recent egregious occurrences is fear. Why are certain law enforcement members (and I thank God, very few) suddenly so fearful of those of another race that they choose deadly force? Do they truly think that even those committing some very minor transgressions are all armed? Is it their upbringing, failure of proper psychological scrree4ning before hiring those to uphold the peace, or in the training of officers of the law? Possibly it’s some of all three. I surely wish I knew what happened to the old method (while continuously watching out for safety), approach to those minor transgressors telling them what was observed, asking questions, and taking action appropriate to the purported offense: apology, warning, citation or arrest.

For the person(s) who are being perceived as doing something that attracts the officer’s attention, the best course of action is about the same regardless of race. Stay calm, obey the officer’s instructions to stop, get out of the car, stand up or sit down. Give the officer a chance to tell you why he or she is paying attention to you, and don’t jump to the conclusion that it is racial profiling. It could be true, but there are much better and safe3r avenues to legally contest this than to make this accusation to the officer’s face. Be polite and respectful even when it may be hard for you to do if you are not being treated in a like manner. In short, don’t let your fear of the police and their fear of you determine the outcome of the encounter. The result could be life-changing or deadly.

A quite endearing and happy moment occurred in a Washington suburb mall where my sister, her three year old daughter and I were shopping. Shopping near us was an African-American mother and her daughter, also about age three.  As is very normal, the two youngsters found each other. They didn’t talk at first, but only stared at one another. After a moment, the black toddler reached over and softly ran her hand down my very blond, blue-eyed niece’s cheek, saying “pretty.” In the next moment, my niece repeated the child’s action by touching the dark-eyed girl’s face and saying, “pretty.” I could have hugged both babies for what they were innocently teaching us.

In summary, we need to keep in mind the lesson learned from innocent little ones who are not fearful of those who look different and my father’s good advice regarding the races: “you are not better than anyone else, and no one else is better than you.”

Carolyn Connelly


Why Pay More Taxes?


The New York Times somehow obtained Trump’s tax return from years ago wherein Trump had over $900 million in losses. And for that Trump is being vilified for “possibly” not having to pay any income taxes for many years.

Most know that losses can be claimed and used to offset gains reducing income tax. That is simply how the tax code works. Hillary says Trump is not as smart as he says he is, and if his not paying taxes makes him smart them what does that make those that do?

So I ask Hillary and everyone who reads this; does Hillary or any of us, pay more taxes than we are required to pay? If you do, you are a fool, yet Trump is vilified.

Can someone explain how that argument is in any way valid with any voter of average intelligence?

Charles Eary

Selbyville, Del.