Your Views for January 10

Immodest proposal

Science waits for no man — or tradition. Its ability to improve our lives looks back to Galileo staring up in wonder into the heavens and finding that the stars could be touched for the good of all.

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Not a moment passes that does not bear witness to science’s benefits in our lives. But in its haste to help the lives of ALL people, science can forget the very human need to belong to a particular place and its people.

Keeping the ancestral spirits alive in that people’s memory, which the sacred mountain tops do, spells the difference between a living and a dead tradition. Without these living traditions to sustain our unique identity, we would become “lost in space.”

To help reconcile these equally valid views, I would make the following proposals (immodest, because they involve deep compromises on both sides).

1. Acknowledgment that both sides begin in the wonder of the heavens and earth.

2. Paint all observatories in earth tones so that they no longer stand out as monuments to scientific rationality, at the expense of traditional views of the sacred mountains.

3. Require all new visitors to stop at the 8,000-foot level of the summit road to undergo a brief education in the significance of the sacred mountains to the Hawaiian people, and the taboos concerned with its desecration, in a structure under the management and control of the Department of Hawaiian Home Lands. But it must be left completely up to the visitor to decide whether or not they will proceed to the summit.

4. Have neutral moderators at all junctures. A hotline could be set up between decision makers on both sides to address more difficult issues, with the proviso that traffic to the summit is left open.

5. Finally, and perhaps most importantly, the summit road above the 8000-foot level should be closed on significant ritual and holy days to both visitors and observatory personnel (beyond a skeletal crew).

William Love

Hilo

Use tracking devices

Failing-to-return furlough worker inmates seems to be an ongoing revolving-door problem.

Many furlough workers are so close to going home to start life anew. Failing to return ends up with an escape charge for the individual, and the chances of going home soon are gone.

Why can’t tracking devices be placed upon these inmates when they leave for their work program? Too many fail to return.

Worse case scenario, while out, an inmate commits a serious crime against someone. The victim sustains serious injuries, even death. The Department of Public Safety would be on the receiving end of a major lawsuit. The recent incident on Oahu involved a gun in the possession of a fail-to-return inmate. Need I say more?

Tracking devices are needed on work furlough inmates; the sooner they are found, the better the chances of the public being safe.

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Rick LaMontagne

Hilo

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