I just finished reading John Tucker's sensationalist article "Camp Fear" (Jan. 8), a bizarrely co-mingled story of children's camp safety issues and an adult's alleged inappropriate social/sexual behavior.
Leaving aside the latter, which I have no fair way of judging, I do have a position regarding the writer's portrayal of supposed dangers at Spence's Farm. I see absolutely no problem with "between 6 and 10 children" (out of 10,000!) having been bitten by nonpoisonous snakes in a natural outdoor setting over a 30 years. This is not out of line with the statewide average and is an extremely small percentage.
In addition, while rock climbing and close proximity to horses could of course have negative consequences, the children were supervised and the article mentions no bad outcomes. Indeed, any number of activities can be dangerous, including allowing children to ride home in the family car after camp.
Spence Dickinson may not be a blameless human being, but he has clearly done a lot of good for a lot of children for a very long time. What we should really fear is the prospect of generations of dirt-, critter-, and injury-phobic children.
Margret Mueller, Mebane
Thank you for Bryan C. Reed's excellent article about Against Me!'s Laura Jane Grace. ("Against odds," Jan. 8). I would like to commend the INDY for covering a great band and trans issues.
I noted the correct pronoun usage for Grace and commend the author for that. Gender transitioning is a very individualized process that may or may not involve sex reassignment therapy and/or surgery. The term "sex change" as used in the article is outdated and disrespectful to some because it has been used in a very derogatory way and it's not particularly accurate as a blanket term to describe the transitioning process more generally.
Also, most trans people prefer not to be referred to by their former names and it seems unnecessary to use it in the article.
Against Me! is an excellent band and I was very pleased to see the INDY coverage and the reporting on Grace.
Jessica Benjamin, West Newton, Mass.
It is a sad thing when an addict dies without the blessings of recovery. I wanted to write and thank all involved for the beautiful article on Jason Molina and his passing ("Farewell transmission," Jan. 8). As an addict in long-term recovery and a licensed therapist with many years in the treatment field, I have come to know and understand the importance of shining the light on this most pernicious of diseases.
Both the nature of our disease and its societal underpinnings create a mutually reinforcing pattern of isolation that is its cause and effect. By shining the light on both addiction and the fact that recovery is real, we begin to break the stigma and create greater incentive for addicts to enter recovery.
My journey has led me to work with the emerging nonprofit Recovering Communities of North Carolina (RCNC) who brought the annual Recovery Rally to downtown Raleigh in September. They have also begun to champion the great documentary Anonymous People,about the need for greater visibility for recovery.
In their words, "Deeply entrenched social stigma has kept recovery voices silent and faces hidden for decades. The vacuum has been filled with sensational mass media depictions of people with addiction that perpetuate a lurid fascination with the dysfunctional side of what is a preventable and treatable health condition."
Thank you, INDY and all of Jason's family and friends, musical and otherwise, who spoke up and shined the light.
Jimmy C, Chapel Hill
Bob Geary's article "Dix Park, mass transit: Mayor Nancy McFarlane's vision for Raleigh" updates us on the light rail project for the Triangle. Presently, due to a 4–3 opposition on the Wake County Board of Commissioners, the project is at a standstill.
Ever since I heard about that project, I have been excited to see it come to its fruition because it would mean that as an out-of-state freshman at UNC-Chapel Hill, I would finally have an efficient and quick way to get to my internship in Raleigh.
As of now, the main means of transportation in the area are cars, buses with long routes or cabs. If we cut back on travel time by using a car, then we release more carbon pollution into the atmosphere. This is why I support Mayor McFarlane's plan for the completion of this new development that would provide the Triangle with a more eco-friendly commuting alternative.
Sandrine Charles, Chapel Hill