I wanted to publicly thank Suzanne Ashe for her reporting in, “Crowd rallies against recreation map plan” on last week’s front page. She accurately reported that, “…more than 100 residents turned out Tuesday to criticize the effort.” Neither did she describe them as anti-skiers or haters-of-newcomers; many identified themselves as skiers when they began to testify and I myself am a skier. Nor would I say that the crowd could be described as “haters-of-newcomers.” I think the issue here is that so many people coming to Alaska are leaving someplace that they dislike for some reason or another, but then they come to Alaska and try to make it like the place they left.

These people, having peacefully gathered, came to voice their concerns about having their rights taken away. Attempts to marginalize or dehumanize them is not only bad form, it’s bad reporting and only adds to the divisiveness. My mom and dad witnessed this in Europe prior to and during World War II. It’s how you take rights away from people, and then you move onto stripping other things away, too. It begins with disregarding their perspective as unimportant, backward or ignorant. It can end with making them brutes or beasts – not your neighbors.

Thank you, Suzanne, for taking the high ground and doing an excellent job of reporting the facts as well as some of the background history and issues. We applaud you.

Michael Mackowiak