Bravo for debunking Cinderella
To the editor,
A lovely commentary (Telegraph, Feb. 2) by Ms. Maggie – thumbs up! Too many of us fall for the easy Disney roles with their castle full of expectations.

I heard Krishnamurti talk once – bare stage, no flowers, hard wooden chair – and what he cautioned those in attendance about was not being so naïve in a situation (if possible) as to be ignorant of the full range of possibilities but never so “knowledgeable” that you were expecting some certain outcome.

You can never read too much into “fairy tales.” The Cinderella myth has deep Jungian roots in world civilizations – stretching back to Strabo’s Rhodopsis in the pre-Christian Graeco-Roman Empire and 9th century China and Tuan Ch’eng-Shih’s story of Ye Xian.
– Art Goodtimes, Norwood

Praising the inspiration of Mr. B
To the editor,
I had a teacher that followed me most of my school years, his name was Burt Baldwin. He reminded me of a mad scientist when I was small.

I went to school in Kirtland, N.M., and the highlight of my days were spending time with Mr. B out on the nature trail and learning about science.

My dad got a new job and we had to move. We relocated to Ignacio, what an experience. I was terrified to start a new school, my parents were always such solid people, nothing ever changed. I was starting the 4th grade and a whole new school. Around the second week of school, the teacher announced that the science guy was going to be coming in, and we were going to do some work with microscopes, oooh aaah. About 10 minutes later, in hops Mr. B hollering and jazzed up beyond belief. He was bouncing around the classroom shouting random scientific facts. I couldn’t believe my eyes, and even better, he remembered me.

Mr. B moved with us! I no longer felt alone and a little less stressed at the tender age of 9. I couldn’t wait to tell my parents. Mr. B followed us through grade school, and he stayed at the grade school when I moved on to junior high. When I got to high school, I found myself having a hard time getting interested in the subject matter. I did alright and found my way just fine, but then along came Mr. B. I couldn’t believe it! I had an opportunity to take more classes with Mr. B, and that’s just what I did.

I took all of my English classes with him, and he always threw in some helpful hints when it came around to history time. He shared a classroom with my other favorite teacher, Mr. deKay. When it came time for Junior English, Mr. B discussed some things with my parents and sent some of my writing off to be published and I got a book back, with my writing in it. I was moved to tears. I never thought that anyone would believe in what I was trying to do.

It lead to a lot of writing being submitted in hopes of publication. Just before I graduated, he called me over to his desk where he was thinking hard and really studying what was on his desk. I came over and noticed right away that it was pictures of my class on the nature trail in Kirtland all those many years ago, and with them there were pictures of us playing with science at the intermediate school.

And then there was my senior picture, along with many of my friends’ pictures, and I was so touched. It wasn’t until I had some time for personal reflection later in life that I realized how much this man helped me and inspired me. The worst thing anyone can say is “No.”

He has a passion for learning and writing like none that I have ever known. I ran into him in the hallway where I work a few months ago, he didn’t remember me as easily as he had the last time but later in conversation, he asked me if I was still writing, and I was almost ashamed to tell him that I hadn’t had time. I decided that I’m going to make time and I’m going to submit it where he told me to ... the Durango Telegraph.
I work in education myself now and I appreciate so much the dedication this man sets out with. He is still teaching and dedicating his time to brilliant young minds in Ignacio. I only hope they know just how lucky they are. Thanks Mr. B!
– Angel Tracy, Durango

Military should deep-six pirates
To the editor,
The recent rescue of hostages in Somalia by a Navy Seal team brings into focus the ongoing problem we have with the Somali pirates. These pirates continue to wreak havoc on commercial shipping off the coast of Africa, and there are numerous ships and hostages currently being held by the pirates for ransom.

In February 2011, four Americans were taken hostage aboard their yacht off Africa and subsequently killed by their captors. During the same time, pirates commandeered the Italian tanker Savina Caylyn, which can carry $63 million of crude oil, and captured the U.S. bound tanker Irene SL 220 miles off Oman. The Irene was carrying 2 million barrels of oil worth $200 million.

Maritime industry officials believe over 40 percent of the world’s seaborne oil supply could be at risk of pirate attacks, and this could have an adverse impact on oil prices and the economies of countries dependent on oil imports.

Action has to be taken to combat the pirates. Shipping companies should place heavily armed professional guards on ships with shoot-to-kill orders. All countries with commercial ships traversing the African shipping lanes should provide naval warships to protect shipping, and if necessary, provide convoy escort duty just like they did during WWII.  We might need slow-moving strafing aircraft located at sea or on land to be available to quickly search out and destroy the pirates in their boats.

If the preceding steps do not work, the impacted countries should attempt to rescue the hostages and then sink the pirates’ mother ships, and consider hitting the pirate havens along the coast of Somalia with precision aerial (possibly drones) and naval attacks.

Although diplomacy is preferable to military action, the Somali government is too weak to rein in the pirates, and therefore military operations are probably needed to solve the problem.

– Donald A. Moskowitz, via e-mail