On the national guard in schools

These letters were published in the February 13, 2022 print edition of the Las Cruces Sun-News.

The guard is good

We keep hearing the pros and cons of using the New Mexico National Guard as substitute teachers in our public schools. There was no doubt in my mind that this was a good plan and I recommended that after completing their background check and replacement license process, they should be in uniform when replacing for identify themselves as proud members of the New Mexico Army National Guard.

I am not a veteran. My introduction to the New Mexico Army National Guard began on 9/11 when our local guard members were deployed to Iraq and I was a councilman representing District 3. It was an honor and a privilege for me to be a member of their home committee.

Later, when available, they offered to help us with many of the events we had for our veterans. They helped us with the annual Veterans Day Parade. Their help was appreciated at our annual Memorial Day Candlelight Ceremonies at Veterans Park. Our WWII Honor Flight veterans were treated with respect and care as they helped them up the stairs to the buses taking them to visit their WWII memorial in Washington, DC for the first time.

So what does this have to do with their ability to be a substitute teacher and keep up with daily lesson plans? Their education not only qualifies them to replace but without even opening a book, students will learn what they demonstrate daily in the Seven Army Values: Loyalty, Duty, Respect, Selfless Service, Honor, Integrity, and Personal Courage.

Thank you to everyone who has made teaching their career. It’s stressful work and the pandemic has added another layer of stress when you have to provide emotional support to students who have lost a family member or good friend to COVID-19.

Dolores C. Archuleta, Las Cruces

Super Mario

We’re not “sports fanatics” in the truest sense of the word, but we’ve been following the Aggies closely for years. No one is surprised that the many achievements of AD Mario Moccia, with minimal financial means, attract other institutions. Hoping that we keep him, but, whatever it is, we wish him the best!

Beverly and Jack Skinner, Las Cruces

Natural forces, not capitalism, at play in sea level rise

Algernon D’Amassa’s op-ed, “How Capitalism Is Surfing the Rising Seas of Human Madness,” is the product of an imaginative, fine-arts-trained mind demonstrating creative writing skills, but without knowledge of earth sciences and history.

We have data on sea level and CO2 concentrations at the New York Battery since 1856, when Franklin Pierce was president. The rate of sea level rise has not changed since 1856, providing strong evidence that natural forces, not capitalism, and rising CO2 concentrations are causing seas to rise.

In my Watts Up With That blog post, I describe sea level and human history.

Sea levels were 400 feet lower than they are today 20,000 years ago when the Wisconsin Ice Age ended. At that time, the Wisconsin Ice Sheet covered New York with glacial ice. The ice sheet then began and continues to melt; since then sea levels have risen over the centuries. But sea level rise was interrupted by the Little Ice Age when sea levels fell.

In the Middle Ages, Pisa was a powerful city-state. Maritime trade brought goods on ships into its port. Goods were taxed; the revenues supported Pisa’s reign as a military power. It ended in 1309 AD, the start of the Little Ice Age, when sea levels dropped and ships could no longer sail to its port. Today, Pisa is 11 km inland from the Ligurian Sea. At the height of Pisa’s power, the sea level was much higher than today.

The Little Ice Age ended about 160 years ago; tide gauges show that sea level has risen steadily – with no correlation to CO2. Sea level is a dynamic property of the Earth, not of capitalism.

D’Amassa’s thesis that sea level rise is caused by capitalism ignores sea level and human history.

Robert Endlich, Ph.D., Las Cruces

Dog attacks are not acceptable

A man walks through his neighborhood and is fatally attacked by two loose German Shepherds. The owners are not held responsible. The public does not know if these animals were euthanized or not. We have read or heard of several other attacks that have occurred since we arrived here in October. Not acceptable. Our community deserves better. In the words of Ricky Ricardo, “LC, you have some explaining to do”.

Debra Leyndyke, Las Cruces

Taking forest management seriously

As we enter fire season in New Mexico, I guess it’s obvious, but apparently it needs to be reaffirmed:

  1. Trees drink water to live.
  2. More trees require more water.
  3. Today’s tree growth on public lands in some places exceeds 2,000 trees per acre compared to 200 decades ago.
  4. Even if we get the same rainfall as in the past, the increase in the number of trees ensures that each tree receives less water than it did decades ago.
  5. Trees with less water are drier.
  6. More trees use more water, leaving less water to replenish aquifers.
  7. It’s not a climate change problem if it’s caused by something else, like poor forest management.
  8. Even if the problem really is climate change, why would the state’s water advocates allow 10 to 20 times more trees per acre to rob the state of its fresh water supply?
  9. Depriving trees of water is unhealthy and can lead to damage, including insect infestation.
  10. Trees damaged by insects can die, resulting in sections of dead forest that are easier to burn, leading to more intense wildfires.

It might be wise to address the problem of overgrowth of trees in our forests before blaming wildfires on climate change which may or may not be to blame.

To have two effects that could explain a single problem, but then ignore science to blame only climate change is unscientific and propagandistic.

New Mexico and its forests deserve better. They deserve to be properly managed, as Native Americans did hundreds of years ago when they cleared the forest. Forestry should go hand in hand with good forest management rather than being seen as an enemy.

David Tofsted, Ph.D., Las Cruces

No substitute for real dogs

Why does the Border Patrol need robotic dogs when the agency already has real dogs, not high-tech fake canine prototypes.

These robotic dogs would save Border Patrol a lot of money because they wouldn’t have to be dressed, fed, or paid like agents are. But I can’t help but believe that the Border Patrol and the American people would be harmed one way or another.

Accept no substitutes for real dogs. Plus, these mechanical canines don’t have teeth!

Paul Hoylen, Deming

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