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Letters for Tuesday, March 29, 2022

Cats, cat-feeders are victims of county policy

While war rages in Ukraine and millions flee to neighboring counties to stay alive, many refugees are taking their pets. The cats of Ukraine have been photographed and posted with their people, and spoken about by Ukrainian soldiers. It touches the heart.

Here on Kaua‘i, with support by our politicians and various groups, the cats living in colonies on county property have been thrown under the bus!

These felines abandoned and cast adrift by their owners for various reasons often end up at county parks. They have been demonized and blamed for many things over time — a false narrative in many respects. The campaign has been relentless, and the goal has been to starve these cats out of existence — very cruel and very inhumane. This process involves banning cat-feeders from providing nourishment to them regularly and presumably will upend the programs to trap, neuter and spay the cats, as well as tend to their medical needs.

These dedicated cat-feeders who have cared for the cats for years will soon be cited and fined. They and the cats find themselves victims of a campaign that seeks to find something to blame and then builds up public and political clout and finally contrives a way to carry out their desired objective.

The mantra of compliance to the law is repeated to the point of meaningless redundancy. This is a dark moment on Kaua‘i, a moment when the moral high ground, the humane heart, a sense of mercy, is adrift and convoluted.

To eliminate a species to save a species shows a profound lack of imagination, with a horrific outcome, the paradigm of which is for a group to enact violence in its various forms onto another to achieve a purpose — in this case starving homeless, abandoned cats to death. And let’s not forget the individuals paid to trap them, take them elsewhere and eliminate them. It has been reported they are being shot in the traps.

To the dedicated folks who have spent time and finance, bought food and provided neuter programs (I call them “the St. Francis Brigade”) do not despair. The chaos of the moment need not damage your morale or your motto to practice random acts of kindness to the creatures of the land. Your allegiance is to a higher law, the same laws St. Francis tapped into.

Like those courageous Ukrainians who carry their cats to safety through a war, follow in their footsteps. When your spirits sink low, replenish with the knowledge that “to touch is to know, and to know is to love.” You have all been touched by these felines. You know them and love them — a positive paradigm that supports all life. Many thanks for all you do and have done.

A Westside cat-feeder, Kalaheo

Postcard glamorizes dangerous beach

Another visitor has been lost, presumably drowned at Lumaha‘i. Once again, our brave first responders put themselves at risk and spent hours vainly searching the rough sea for him. This should not be happening.

Local people know how dangerous that beach can be, especially at this time of year. But how is a visitor from Montana or Manitoba, who sees lovely images like the one on this postcard, to understand that she may be risking her/his life by emulating the behavior of the people photographed carelessly wandering well below the wash line?

The caption does not help. “A lucky couple strolls along the golden, sparkling sand of Lumaha‘i…”

Over a decade ago, when I showed this picture to a retired lifeguard from O‘ahu, he said it gave him the creeps. We agreed that the couple would be lucky if they made it to the end of the beach without getting knocked down, or worse, by the turbulent surf.

At that time, I wrote to the publisher (of the card) suggesting that the card be removed from the market. Yet, it is still being sold. This seems to me morally irresponsible.

Although there is no way to know if the unfortunate New Jersey visitor saw this particular card, he may well have been influenced by similar images that downplay the dangers of Kaua‘i’s waters. If our tourism industry, including photographers and publishers, really cares about visitors, it ought to encourage a more-accurate representation of our island’s hazards. Perhaps cards, posters, brochures, etc., showing romantic portrayal like this one should be recaptioned with warnings like the ones contained in the water-safety video on view at Lihu‘e Airport or those required on tobacco products.

Some may object that more-realistic images and practical admonitions may frighten visitors away. Yet, which is likely to scare them more, a warning about dangerous beaches or the news of one more drowning? In any case, if such a warning saves one life and spares a family from grief over a lost loved one, is it not worth it?

H.M. Wyeth, Anahola

‘Sadness in Ukraine’

My heart aches today

And it’s just war and

Sadness all day and

Nobody knows it’s painful

But me, oh yes, me

And sadness in our eyes

As our little children cry

All through the cold dark lonely

Night and snow is falling tonight

And a bitter chill in the air

And the worst pain is yet to come

And I want to cry tonight but

I’m holding my baby so tight

And there’s no longer any more

Tears to roll down my sad

Lonely old face and

I’m in a horrible blown-up

Place and it’s just war and

Destruction, disaster and hate

And I’ve sat and cried and I’m

Holding my baby so tight as my

Loved ones died tonight

And Lord Jesus Christ

I want to break

Free and move on

But sadness lives on

And we are drowning in a

River of blood and we

Can’t catch our breath

And a lonely tear rolls down

My baby’s face

We are already dead

In this blown-up, sad, lonely place.

David P. Carroll, Lihu‘e
Source: The Garden Island

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