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Letters: Rocky Fork is for everyone

Johnson City Press • Aug 4, 2019 at 6:00 AM

Want to have your voice heard? Send a Letter to the Forum. Authors must sign their letters and include addresses and phone numbers for verification. Letters may be no longer than 300 words and will be edited for grammar, style and length. Send your submission to Mailbag, P.O. Box 1717, Johnson City, TN 37605-1717 or [email protected]ss.com.

Rocky Fork is for everyone

I felt compelled to respond to Mr. John Beaudet's letter (June 28) in which I feel he was very disrespectful towards David Ramsey, especially since Mr. Beaudet, unlike Mr. Ramsey, wasn't involved in saving Rocky Fork and wasn't even a resident of Unicoi County or Northeast Tennessee.

From 1996 to 2008, people in Unicoi County and our region struggled to "save" Rocky Fork, but if not for David Ramsey's efforts that would not have happened. David was the main local person who worked diligently for Rocky Fork and brought key organizations together, such as The Conservation Fund, to save it for future generations to enjoy.

Rocky Fork wasn't as pristine as Mr. Beaudet claims. The land was logged for decades and there are still logging roads all over the 10,000-acre tract. There were even tractor-trailer roads, one of which would be utilized for the very road on Flint Mountain Mr. Beaudet opposes.

The park land was purchased with taxpayer money to develop a state park for everyone, not just an exclusive few. The disabled and elderly, including many veterans, want to enjoy the park and need access to it. Not everyone can hike or bike into Rocky Fork. We're all concerned about development at the park, and while it should be done with minimal environmental impact, it should also enhance the experience for everyone.

I want to thank David Ramsey for his past and continued efforts on behalf of Rocky Fork. David's passion, instincts and integrity have united people from all walks of life to preserve this beloved place. We should continue our unified support of Rocky Fork State Park and its wise, sustainable development.

MARIE RICE
Flag Pond

With a previous Question of the Week, we asked our readers if they believe justice had been served by the jury’s “not guilty” verdict in Tristan Rettke’s civil rights intimidation case. We printed some the responses we received last week, but here is another we couldn’t fit in with the rest.

The target is important

1. A group of African American students were protesting a culture that allows an inordinate number of black people (men, especially) to be killed by white policemen, most often for insufficient reason. Their slogan was “Black Lives Matter,” which points to the blasé attitude of officials toward those killings.

2. Another student, who is of Anglo descent, was protesting the protestors. He was dressed in a costume and had props that denigrated the persons, but he said and did nothing to rebut their statements. In other words, he didn't argue with the protestors, he made ad hominem attacks.

3. The Anglo student targeted people while the protestors targeted a culture of indifference.

4. The defense attorney argued that the Anglo student’s actions were lawful, because they were “free speech,” which is guaranteed by the Constitution.

5. With the help of the judge, who failed to understand No. 3, above, the defense attorney turned the trial into a referendum on free speech, and of course, no one wanted to deny anyone their right to speak freely.

From all this, I conclude that the Anglo student, at the least, was guilty of civil rights intimidation, if not something more grievous. I suspect he interpreted the slogan, “Black Lives Matter” to mean “Black Lives Matter More than Other Lives,” a common misconception among those who object to the slogan.

REV. JEFF BRIERE
Johnson City

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