Letters: Readers weigh in on issues of the day

Farmington Daily Times
Letters to the Editor

Justice must go beyond jail cells

Any time tragedy strikes on the reservation, when the dust begins to settle, there is always a call for more policing of the area. And every time that happens I can't help but disagree. At the most I see it as a half-measure. In the long-term, it is not the beneficial response for the root of our troubles on the rez.

If anything, a call for more policing should go in hand with a call for providing more social services for mentally disturbed people (such as Ashlynne Mike's murderer clearly displays) and victims of abuse. The Women's Shelter recently closing in Shiprock is a clear example of our failure of priorities when it comes to addressing these problems.

Given the social context of the reservation, with high unemployment and a variety of suffering that many face, and taking into account the economic problems that nearby areas such as Farmington face, we have a multiplicity of issues to confront.

I want justice for Ashlynne. Yet I want the man who murdered her to receive help. He has no love in him. When one gets to that point, you succumb to the worst of this world: embodying the message of our violent capitalist society that values profit and instant-gratification while devaluing and exploiting the lives of women, Native women in particular.

Seeking peace, justice and harmony is a long, difficult process. But it is worth it in the end. And it will not come from creating a bigger security state and prison industrial complex. Those are merely short-term answers – bandaids to wounds that require radical soul-searching. We need to dig deeper - to tackle the roots of colonialism, capitalism and misogynist patriarchy that have come to plague our society for generations now. In theological terms, these are the forces of death to confront, and that's where the fight for a better world for our children begins.

Kirbie Bennett


Ozone threatens area residents's health

A recent report from the American Lung Association had very troubling things to say about the quality of our air in Farmington. San Juan County earned an "F" grade from ALA when it comes to ozone. Ozone molecules are harmful to air quality, and can cause serious health problems. Breathing ozone can trigger health difficulties for asthma sufferers and other vulnerable populations in our community.

According to the ALA's State Of The Air Report, not only were our county's ozone levels considered failing, but there are tens of thousands of people who are put at risk as a result. There are more than 30,000 children under the age of 18 in our county. Studies have shown that children growing up in elevated ozone levels can suffer lung capacity problems throughout their lives. The adverse health effects are nearly the same for children living in elevated ozone areas as for children who grow up with second-hand smoke in their homes.

Oil and gas facilities leak methane pollution and other pollutants which are precursors to ozone. Oil and gas emissions may be contributing to increases in ozone in our area. There are simple changes these industries could incorporate to make their operations safer and without raising their costs much at all — however they have refused to act.

Air pollution from oil and gas facilities can have damaging, noxious consequences for our community. Methane and other pollutants that are leaked into the air by oil and gas companies are dangerous and unsafe. We should do all that we can to protect ourselves and limit the harmful, devastating impact of such pollutants.

Marijean Stephenson, RN


Great Strides walk helps those with cystic fibrosis

Dear Editor,
We are pleased to report the success of the 2016 Great Strides Walk to Cure Cystic Fibrosis (CF) held Saturday, April 23rd. With our awesome business community, families and friends, we were able to raise over $14,400!

There are over a dozen CF families in our area that come together for this annual event. The great medical care CF patients receive at the CF Care Centers in Albuquerque, Denver and across the U.S. is directly related to our fund raising efforts. There are many daily medications they take to aide in airway clearance, anti-inflammation, anti-infection and better nutrition. We hear of new, exciting medicines and therapies that are progressing through clinical trial studies every day, including a gene corrector that our family members will hopefully be able to benefit from within the next decade. That research could not happen without the generosity of our community. Please check out the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation website at

Thank you again Four Corners! We look forward to next year’s walk!

Great Strides Co-Chairs
Lisa Willems

Dave Turnbull