Letters to the editor | VailDaily.com

Letters to the editor

Ross Palmer

Chris Ratzlaff’s Dec. 23 letter to the editor (“Statistics tell a story, too”) is a textbook case of how dangerous statistics can be in the hands of a lay person.Ratzlaff cites the fact that more New Zealanders immigrate to the U.S. than vice versa as some sort of proof that Kiwis despise their own country more than U.S. citizens despise America. Speaking kindly, Mr. Ratzlaff’s argument doesn’t hold water.First, people immigrate for varying reasons. Most, particularly New Zealanders, immigrate in search of a new life or a new experience. New Zealanders grow up with a yearning to see the world beyond their tiny island nation in the South Pacific. It’s part of their culture.It’s only natural that, having grown up on an isolated island, one would want to see what else is out there. The U.S. is a natural destination given the common language, and the vision of America many Kiwis see on television every day.By contrast, Americans who leave the U.S. are a lot less likely to focus on one tiny locale, say New Zealand, as their destination. So it’s ludicrous to compare the two numbers directly. Do some Kiwis leave New Zealand in search of a change? Of course they do. New Zealand is far from perfect. Who ever said it was? Certainly not me. But when it comes to issues such as health care, basic human rights, the environment, violent crime, political corruption and corporate greed (as they like to say in Vail), there’s no comparison.Mr. Ratzlaff mistakenly draws the conclusion that my family left the U.S. because we think it’s “evil.” Hardly. I love my country and I’ll be back. But our state and federal governments are currently ignoring or not addressing a number of fundamental issues that reflect poorly on all of us. And Mr. Ratzlaff, apparently feeling somewhat defensive, didn’t address a single one of those issues.Instead, he argued, speciously, that New Zealanders must be more bitter than Americans. Maybe that made him feel better about himself and his country, but it didn’t address one single point of my original commentary.But then, every single person who was offended by what I wrote seemed to take it personally, or made the leap that this must mean I hate my country or that I’m bitter. No, I’m just in search of a better life for my family, particularly my 3-year-old son, and I’m not afraid to say why. This, of course, is one of the great aspects of our country: I have the right, within our laws, to express and act on my beliefs.Indeed, pointing out what I believe is wrong with America doesn’t make me a bad American. Many would argue to the contrary. It’s much easier, you see, to remain silent, something too many Americans are guilty of. (Compare voter participation statistics between the U.S. and New Zealand and you’ll see what I mean). Apparently, however, exercising this right somehow scares and offends some people.Finally, piecing together leaky arguments in an attempt to demonstrate that someplace else is worse off than the U.S. may make Mr. Ratzlaff and others feel better about themselves and their country. But, again, it doesn’t address the issues. Instead, it sounds like one child pointing his finger at the other, exclaiming, “Well, he did it too.”Frankly, that takes us nowhere. Why not engage in the conversation instead?Ross PalmerReport the newsLast evening, after attending the Vilar Center concert, the county Sheriff’s Office had the parking garage across the street, and the road in front of it, closed. So people leaving the Vilar could not get to their cars. We were not given any reason for this, which is fine, but were told it might be a few hours before we could get to our car. The rumor of a bomb scare was being passed around. I thought, mistakenly, that I would find out the reason for the action in the next day’s Vail Daily. Not a word about it, even though this was a significant police action, in my opinion. I hope the Daily is not reticent to publish bad news because we are a tourist town? News is news, and you are a newspaper – publish the story, good or bad. Steve CoyerAvonEditor’s note: The incident indeed was reported in the Daily the next day.Some have no heartIn response to the Tipsline which read, “For all those people who like to donate, why don’t you try to help your neighbor or someone you know who may need help? Charity starts at home, not in Pakistan where people hate us and probably use that money to plot something against us.” I have to assume the Tipsliner has no heart. To make such a comment, is to say that Americans should not have contributed to the tsunami victims in Asia. What was the whole point of “We Are the World” or Live Aid, I wonder? I am half-Pakistani, born, raised and educated in this country. My father moved to this country in 1975 and has been a contributing member to society, as well being a naturalized citizen. He is a doctor, so I know he has filled his obligation to American society by saving and maintaining hundreds of American lives during his 30-plus years in the medical field. My parents, immigrants to this country, donate to worthy causes every year that benefit their American neighbors.This misinformed Tipsliner must never watch the news. Pakistan has been one of America’s biggest allies in the fight against terrorism since 9/11. I find it interesting that a week ago American forces killed 13 innocent Pakistani civilians in a strike trying to pinpoint Al Qaida operatives, yet this Tipsliner doesn’t take into consideration that there have been no strikes by Pakistan on American soil killing Americans, in history. Yet Pakistan is still helping America in the fight against terrorism.Tipsliners in recent months suggested sending aid because they lived, like ourselves, in a mountain community. Thousands of people suffering in the cold mountains. We know what the weather is like in Vail this time of year, try living at 12,000-14,000 feet on a daily basis and tell me what cold is like. The victims are poor people, not Al Qaida operatives, who live in Third World conditions. Even if you live in Timber Ridge, you’re living nowhere near Third World conditions. Not all Pakistanis hate America and they are all certainly NOT plotting against Americans.It especially irritates me that in the Vail Valley, where no one really has any cause to complain about anything besides gas prices, roundabout near-death experiences, and mag chloride, that we still see these horrible, sweeping blanket statements about how horrible non-white Americans are in the Tipslines and letters to the editor. I am half-British, half-Pakistani, and ALL American. That is what makes America great, you have the freedom to choose or think, and if only we had the freedom to be rid of racism, generalizations, and ignorance, we would be even better.Aliya Chaplin Avon Dangerous This is regarding the Harrier shack in Beaver Creek which was recently blown up by Ski Patrol. I understand that they are just doing their job, but the horrible death trap of jagged, splintered wood 60 yards in diameter that they left behind is just plain irresponsible. That is a heavily traveled tree run 50 yards off a groomed run and 6 inches of snow will completely hide the jagged mess and somebody could get impaled and killed. I thought Ski Patrol was supposed to look out for the safety of skiers, not create situations that could get them killed. Evan Youngsma Edwards Vail, Colorado

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