Letter did not encourage respectful, dignified conversation
In the Dec. 2 Beachcomber, “Luke” Lukoskie begins the second paragraph of his opinion piece stating that “The Beachcomber has become an instrument echoing the German Reich: Take down people who aren’t like us.” He continues by invoking an image of bodies carted away from the gas chambers. This is not the common sense language that honors divisions within a community and works to create the possibility for respectful and dignified conversations across deep divisions of belief, opinion and perception.
I take umbrage at the comparison of The Beachcomber to the German Reich and at the unnecessary mention of the gas chambers which invoke the horrors of hatred and genocide. Unfounded, hyperbolic comparisons and dire warnings of this nature have no place in civil conversation. Instead, they shut down opportunities for what is most needed in these troubled times — genuine dialogue that encompasses well-chosen words, open-minded listening, and respect for differences.
Merna Ann Hecht
Rhetoric was too harmful to print
Last week, The Beachcomber printed a letter in which the writer, W M “Luke” Lukoskie, compared the idea of “economically shunn[ing]” unvaccinated people to “the German Reich: Take down people who aren’t like us. We are not carting away people from the gas chambers. But it all starts with the belief that some are lesser humans.” I’d like to encourage the writer, and all The Beachcomber’s readers, to really reflect on whether it’s valid to compare vaccination during a global pandemic to the Holocaust. In reality, it is a tired and disgusting repetition of antivax dogma so wrapped up in its own misguided self-righteousness that it thinks responding to a public health crisis is on par with Nazi atrocities. When we make such comparisons, whether in a letter to the editor or on the TV programs or social media we consume, we open the door to extreme ideologues that take advantage of our implicit acceptance of the analogy. I endorse the right to free speech, and I believe that local media should provide opportunities for community members to express their beliefs and opinions. But rights come with responsibilities: it is irresponsible to provide a platform for harmful rhetoric such as Lukoskie’s.
Agree with letter writer
We will be canceling our subscription to The Beachcomber after decades of support since it refuses to provide a balanced view of the “news.” News is not presented in an unbiased fashion and is often fraught with opinion. News should be just that, news. Even letters to the editor are censored as I know from personal experience. Additionally, it appears some people are more worthy of having their letters published than others presenting almost identical messages. Case in point, Mr. Lukoskie’s letter in the Dec. 2 issue with which we totally agree. My husband sent in a letter with a much less controversial tone yet it was refused. The Beachcomber is a private entity and as such many might point out, can run the paper as it wants. True enough. We will just be expressing our right to disagree with it by no longer supporting it.