Saturday, July 21, 2001
Cat 'attack' coverage was sensationalizedI am disappointed by an increasing emphasis on the sensational in your coverage of such events as the recent feral cat incident in Moiliili.
Two days of extensive and incendiary front-page coverage, referring to the chance attack as "horrific" and "a nightmare" and to the feral cat colony as a "pack," only fuel age-old antipathies toward cats.
Feral cats do not run in packs nor do they engage in unprovoked attacks. On the contrary, as Humane Society officials told your reporter, cats tend to be fearful of humans and run away at the slightest perceived threat. And their fear is well based, given the abuse stray cats have often endured.
It is interesting that the witness who referred to the attack as unprovoked and expressed her concerns about the safety of pedestrians and health problems linked to feral cats had, according to a later article, trapped four or five cats in the days preceding the incident. Little wonder that the cats were on edge and that the Humane Society investigator finally determined, as you reported in a short "Newswatch" item, that the cats were feeding in an enclosed space when surprised by the dog and "had no place to go but at the dog."
The problem of feral cats is a human problem, and can only be solved by responsible human behavior. Feral cats exist because humans, who originally domesticated the cat to provide valuable pest control and companionship, have so devalued cats as to abandon numbers of them to fend for themselves as semi-wild animals. Sensational coverage of the Moiliili incident contributes further to such devaluation.
"We can't have real pepperoni and cheese in the garden, but children can use their imagination and have a good time in the garden anyway." Steve Nagano,
Garden architect, explaining that yellow flowers and pieces of wood painted red substitute for cheese and pepperoni in the Pizza Garden, part of a 31-acre Children's Garden owned by the University of Hawaii. The Pizza Garden features tomatoes, bell peppers, onions, basil and other ingredients found in pizza.
"Life throws those uncertain curves to you." Donna Prince,
Mother of Natalie Prince, observing the one-year anniversary of her daughter's death. Natalie was one of seven who died in a sightseeing helicopter crash on Maui, one of the worst helicopter disasters in Hawaii in the last decade.
Eyes need protection from the sun, tooHelen Altonn's article on the increased danger of skin cancer caused by prolonged sunlight exposure in Hawaii was a very fine public health message (Star-Bulletin, July 5). I would like to also add a warning of danger of sunlight for the unprotected eye. It has been proven beyond a doubt that intense sunlight exposure, such as we have in Hawaii, increases the risk of cataracts and vision loss in unprotected eyes.
On the other hand, good quality sunglasses or a special coating on lenses to prevent ultraviolet light damage would be protective. Wearing sunglasses would be a simple public health measure that is as important as sunscreen protection in preventing skin cancer.
A recent survey of Hawaii residents found less than 50 percent of the population wear sunglass protection outdoors. Hopefully, our children can learn to use sun-safe measures for their eyes as well as their skin.
Malcolm R. Ing, M.D.
Professor of Ophthalmology
John A. Burns School of Medicine
Kudos to legislators who overturned vetoI would like to express my gratitude to the legislators who voted to overturn the governor's veto of the bill raising the age of sexual consent. I can't believe Governor Cayetano's response was that it was just politics. How can he trivialize something that is so important as our children's safety?
I am very proud of the legislators and their courage to make a difference in our state.
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