Letter Box

Wednesday June 12, 2013

Open your eyes
to what’s happening

Editor of the Reformer:

Regarding Friday’s editorial ("More government overreach"), it’s good to see that someone in the conventional news mainstream is finally getting it.

There is no "conspiracy theory." There is only what is and what is not. There is only what is true and what is not. There is only what has happened and then conjecture about what might follow. There is certainly obfuscation, though, but it’s not on the part of the citizenry.

Unfortunately, this opinion piece is perhaps two decades too late. The Project for a New American Century published its "Statement of Principles" (nothing short of a modern-day "Mein Kampf," in the collective) in 1997. The outstretched arm has been overreaching for quite some time and it’s now circling around to complete the squeeze.

Hopefully, Friday’s column will encourage the citizens of southern Vermont and elsewhere to have a thorough look at the U.S. Constitution and the Bill of Rights, comparing the same to the Patriot Act, the NDAA and the U.N.’s Agenda 21. It’s not a bad idea to get up-to-speed on something like the Georgia Guidestones (in Elbert County, GA), either, or the origin and history of the Federal Reserve Bank.

Oh, and let’s not leave out Orwell. I hate to pander to the cliché, but "1984" has fully arrived ... with efficiency, ruthlessness and legerdemain. Drones, anyone?

There’s no reason to expect that this particular empire won’t operate like every other empire. Sadly, there’s also no reason to expect that we’re not lulled to sleep by bread-and-circuses ... because we mostly are.

John Shannon,

Brattleboro, June 6

Beware the undertow

Editor of the Reformer:

Recently someone told me a story of almost drowning while swimming across the Connecticut River, and being rescued. He said he had been pulled downward by an undertow. I had never heard of such a thing, and did some research to find out if undertows really happen in rivers.

They do. There tend to be undertows near the riverbank, at and near bends in the river. The most dangerous undertows are on the outsides of bends, where there can also be undercut river banks, where the water has washed away some of the soil under the trees at the edge of the river, leaving an undercut with exposed tree roots. The undertow there can be strong and can pull a person down into the undercut, where they can get snagged by tree roots. Being snagged on a tree root underwater under an undercut river bank would not end well.

My advice is to swim in straight sections of river, and especially not to swim on the outsides of bends where the banks are muddy or sandy and might be undercut. I also highly recommend wearing a PFD when boating in any water condition in which you would have trouble swimming if you were to capsize. If the PFD is in the boat and you are not wearing it, you are counting on being able to swim to it to go get it after a capsize.

Currents tend to go different speeds in different places in the river; in a current, you are unlikely to be able to reach a PFD you are not already wearing. In strong wind, the wind will blow the PFD away from you faster than you can swim. Waves tend to do that, too. There are inflatable PFDs that activate with a ripcord. This is a good way to stay cool while also having a PFD already attached to you in the event you capsize.

PFDs go a long ways toward keeping you out of undertows and otherwise safe in a capsize while boating. So do swimming skills. Most public swimming pools have swimming lessons for all ages, including adults. The better you can swim, the less currents and waves mess with you.

To rescue a swimmer in a current, use tools such as ropes and PFDs. If you think you are likely to be in the position of needing to rescue someone (such as if you go boating with a child on a regular basis), there are some lifeguarding courses locally and there is a river rescue course at Zoar, in Massachusetts.

Heidi Henkel,

Putney, June 10


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