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Raw Nerve

Every week in the U.S. there is a report of unpasteurized milk testing positive for listeria or salmonella or E. coli or campylobacter; every month there is a report of people, largely children, sickened after consuming unpasteurized milk in the misguided belief that all things natural are good (for a thorough listing of outbreaks linked to raw milk, see http://www.foodsafety.ksu.edu).

Supporters claim that it is foods other than raw milk that are responsible for the hundreds of illnesses linked to raw milk; such claims endanger public health.

Many also claim that consumers should be free to choose ("Niche Farming," June 20).

Choice is good. But as the 19th-century English utilitarian philosopher John Stuart Mill noted, absolute choice has limits, stating, "If it (in this case the consumption of raw unpasteurized milk) only directly affects the person undertaking the action, then society has no right to intervene, even if it feels the actor is harming himself." Excused from Mill's libertarian principle are those people who are incapable of self-government — children.

Science can be used to enhance what nature provided. Further, society has a responsibility to the many — philosopher Mill also articulated how the needs of the many outweighed the needs of the one — to use knowledge to minimize harm. Adults, do whatever you think works to ensure a natural and healthy lifestyle, but please don't impose your dietary regimes on those incapable of protecting themselves: your kids.

Douglas Powell
International Food Safety Network at Kansas State University

The Problem is More than Missing Teeth

I just moved to Charleston, so to acclimate myself I thought I'd start by reading the popular City Paper. To my astonishment, the first thing I read was "A Walk Down King Street," an opinion piece by Barney Blakeney (p. 10). It's shocking to me that an article of this nature can make its way to the pages of a city newspaper. To start, Mr. Blakeney makes a flawed point saying that black men are the most disadvantaged demographic group in the U.S. because "America is afraid of black men." If Mr. Blakeney had done his homework, he would find that studies overwhelmingly cite and acknowledge that black women have it worse, but that's not even the point anymore.

My real point is that this article is disorganized, cluttered with senseless statements like "You don't see that crap in the hood" and "I miss the teeth a whole lot less than I miss those uncomfortable dentures." Yet, the most disheartening bit is that in spite of his claims, Mr. Blakeney still tries to imbue his nonsense with a political message in the dwindling final sentences.

This article undermines the intelligence of the City Paper readers. But there is a sincere, perhaps bigger, problem here, begging the question: who read such a vacant piece and decided it was worthy of publication? I'm not sure who to point the finger at anymore.

Emily Denham
Charleston, SC

FireFighters Heroes

I was a volunteer firefighter out west for many years. It doesn't make sense to most people to go into a burning building, but firemen are not most people. It takes a different perspective to put saving someone else before yourself. I don't know the details of this fire, but I do know firemen and they were probably doing what they loved the most: fighting fire. This is a tragic loss for your city and we'll be praying for you and the firefighters' family.

Dave Koelzer
Annapolis, Md.

Superintendent part of the problem

Quote: "White South Carolina is still absorbed with its Confederate folly, with its vainglorious past, with self-delusion and denial (Will Moredock's "Goodloe-Johnson's Parting Words," June 20)." Mr. Moredock truly lives in his own reality with this comment. His comment is racist in itself, and it totally ignores the majority of "white" people in this state who want S.C. to progress and move forward successfully. The events that occurred under Goodloe-Johnson's tenure were due to the fact that she was an incompetent administrator, regardless of her race, and the lawsuits from those teachers demonstrated that. A good administrator is supposed to be the advocate and supporter of teachers, and now I worry about what Seattle's teachers will have to deal with when she begins her tenure there.

Chas-native
Columbia

Superintendent part of the solution

Um ... Dr. Goodloe-Johnson did the best she could. She cared. She tried to make changes. She's done more than any other superintendent this city has had. Attempted to do more than any other superintendent this city has had. I'm almost positive you couldn't do any better. So until you can clearly say what would, beyond a shadow of a doubt, make Charleston schools better, get off your high horse.

Furthermore, Goodloe-Johnson is right. This city and this state has been stuck in the muck of racism for centuries. Since its beginning, in fact. That's clear, isn't it? Please don't embarrass yourself by refuting that. The education system is a clear consequence of such pervasive inequality. Until people get interested in adequately educating every student, nothing will change.

There's a mind set on the part of blacks and whites that has to change. Blacks, shed your complacent attitudes. Whites, shed your southern romanticism.

Halcyon
North Charleston

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