No Butts About It
I want to thank Henry Lightcap for his very forceful, but appropriate article on smoking (Henry Lightcap's Journal, December). I agree with him wholeheartedly. It is beyond reason why our country and society permits, and in some cases, supports this widespread addiction. Anyone who thinks they can avoid the effects by staying away from smokers and the effects of secondhand smoke is fooling themselves. This addiction has tremendous impact on our society and the cost of healthcare. Medicare is in crisis. If smoking were outlawed, the government and taxpayers would save billions. And those of us with commercial insurance pay higher premiums because of smoking. It impacts much more than just lung cancer. At a minimum, smokers should pay three times the premium, and not be eligible for government-supported healthcare. It should be obvious to anyone who knows someone who tries to quit how addicting this drug is.
I too have seen people die way too early due to this epidemic. I also am mad as hell. I know that outlawing it will not work, but let's make the federal tax $50 per pack and I bet a lot of smokers would figure out how to quit. And if not, at least we have the funds to pay for the added healthcare expense.
Bullies and Busybodies
Two very informative articles in the December issue of Desert Exposure really got my attention. They were "Too Much Information" (Editor's Notebook) and "Understanding Bullying" (Body, Mind & Spirit). I will explain why.
My husband and I moved here from a small out-of-state town that has some real issues with both privacy and bullying. We were hoping for, and in need of, some peace and privacy.
Unfortunately. bullying doesn't stop for some people when they leave school.
A few incidents that have happened since we have lived here stand out in my mind. The first was being informed that people can watch you with binoculars from the surrounding hills. I was sort of taken aback by that statement, so remember it well.
Another incident had to do with the people we bought our property from. A "neighbor" brought up their name and proceeded to tell me that they were up to "no good." Subsequent research has proven those negative statements as essentially being slander. What do I think of the person I bought the property from? I think very well of them. I won't mention what I now think of the person who made the false statements.
Another person who owns property here but does not live here has used the Internet to get information about a valuation for a property (not ours) in another state. Legal perhaps, but not something a good neighbor would do.
In yet another incident my husband invited a neighbor and his two children whom he met on the road to come to the property to see what we were doing. My husband gifted the two children during the visit. After this man left he was at a friend of ours' place in no time asking where we had gotten the money to purchase certain things. If he wanted to know he should have asked my husband. What was his motivation when he asked our friends?
There seems to be a strong trend by certain types of people to delve into other people's affairs. They seem to be incapable of "live and let live." I feel strongly that a lot of the resulting gossip could be classed under the heading of "Psychological Bullying" as explained in the article "Understanding Bullying." The resulting gossip, or allusions to what a person does or has, and where they got it, whether true or false, can be very damaging to the person(s) who are targeted. There are many ways that the exposure of people's private affairs can be very harmful, whether gossip or not. Think, besides identity theft, of all the various types of scam artists and people whose profession is filing lawsuits. It's really convenient for dishonest people to get information right off their computer through public-access websites.
If the underlying idea of making statements either to or about me, or about anyone else, is done to cause uncomfortable feelings in any way, then I would class that as psychological bullying. Someone is trying to take something from me that is precious: my self-esteem.
I dislike busybody behavior and gossip with a passion. If a good neighbor needs help I'll be there, and the rest of the time I'll leave him be unless requested to do otherwise. If you are not vigilant it is very easy to get sucked in to the gossip thing. It can make you feel powerful, or perhaps in the "in crowd." If there is one thing I learned where I lived before it is this: Someone who talks about others will just as quickly talk about you when your back is turned, and it's a good idea to avoid these types of people since it seems impossible to change them.
Who'd Have Thunk It?
I've been reading your rag for many years and I thought the December 2010 issue was the best ever.
The monthly sections on the arts, restaurants, etc. were up to their usual standards — which are great! The San Miguel de Allende piece ("Seasons of the Sacred"), although enjoyable, had a little more info than needed (all the family matters leading to her escape), but the javelina/peccary article ("This Little Non-Piggy") was extremely informative and helpful. I also loved the honesty of the no-smoking diatribe (Henry Lightcap's Journal) and found myself especially, and surprisingly, intrigued by the article on animal communication ("Talking with the Animals").
I started reading it thinking I probably wouldn't get past the first paragraph. However, it was so well written and presented that the words used to describe this method of working with your pet, and the reality of many of the results, took away any "foo-foo" concerns I might have had. It gave me a whole new dimension of understanding and togetherness with my own dog. Who would have "thunk"? I thought your writer, Donna Clayton Walter, did a really nice job on a difficult subject.
I'm happy to be back in Grant County after a two-year "required" stay in Albuquerque. Keep up the great work!
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