Editors, Vineyard Gazette:

My friend Brandy once told me that when she grew up and had a place of her own that she wanted to have a beautiful purple garden. When Brandy died in January, everyone who knew her died a little inside. For her birthday, May 14, I decided that Brandy should have her purple garden. Within a week of her birthday, my friends Nikki and Laura had already started planting various purple items. When I returned to the Island for the summer and had the time, I purchased many purple plants, prepared the soil and added to the garden. I was working at Mahoney’s at the time, so it was very easy for me.

I was so excited to see how the plants would flourish. I needed to leave the Island for a few days and asked my good friend and co-worker Jillian to water the plants for me. I was astonished to hear that almost all of the plants had been dug out of the ground or cut down to nothing, after not even a week had passed. I was only able to enjoy the plants for one day before I left the Vineyard for the weekend, and by the time I returned, they had been taken.

My good friend Kristy immediately contacted the Oak Bluffs highway department and was told directly that the men had specific instructions to leave that stuff alone. I do not understand what would possess a person to steal from a memorial site. Brandy deserves to have her own place, her own purple garden. It kills me inside to know that if I try to invest the time and money again that someone could just come and take away all my hard work. I would like this garden to flourish so that everyone can enjoy it in her memory, to serve as a reminder as to how much she loved and affected us. If you have any information regarding the plants please e-mail me at Any information is greatly appreciated.

Brandy was an amazing individual, unlike any other, and she touched anyone who had ever met her.

Emma Vancour



Editors, Vineyard Gazette:

It’s a dangerous world for sure, but being attacked by a turkey doesn’t rank as a major risk.

It’s true that during mating season, some turkeys can seem aggressive when they go after inanimate objects and sometimes people. Even their own reflection in a window can be enough to provoke them.

But it’s important to realize that this behavior is merely an artifact of social dominance during breeding season.

Turkeys are social birds who establish a hierarchical pecking order. This pecking order becomes very important during breeding season. Dominant males typically do all the breeding, while juvenile males hardly ever get the chance. Thus frustrated turkeys, especially those who have become accustomed to humans, may tend to chase those beings who are perceived as subordinate.

Problem turkeys can be taught to stay away from people using a variety of mild harassment techniques ranging from hose-spraying, banging pot tops or using other scare devices.

A biological understanding of the turkey’s antics can help us laugh at, and hopefully tolerate, those breeding season behaviors which will soon end. Killing is not the answer.

Laura Simon

Woodbridge, Conn.

Laura Simon is field director for the urban wildlife program of the Humane Society of the United States.


Editors, Vineyard Gazette:

I don’t think the Chilmark police overreacted by killing the aggressive turkey. And it is very foolish to punch a police officer.

There are, however, facts reported from patrolman Jeff Day himself that I find disturbing. It is not Monday morning quarterbacking to wonder and worry why the police stepped out of their cruiser to investigate a call about a turkey attacking people , without a net, a blanket, or even towel in their hands, so they could safely capture this bird gone berserk before killing it.

Had they prepared themselves sensibly and professionally for their job, Jeff Day would not have had to fire at the turkey while it was loose, wound it, chase it, and fire two more bullets into it, for a total of four, before putting it out of its misery. Chief Rich remarked on this being a humane euthanasia. It was not.

Because the police were ill-equipped when they approached the aggressive bird, an unannounced shoot-’em-up on private property in a residential neighborhood occurred. Why didn’t the police arrive at the scene of a known aggressive turkey with a net, not a gun, at the ready? That strikes me as just as foolish as the punching of a police officer.

It disturbs me that Chilmark police can safely restrain a combative, aggressive grown man who weighs a lot more than a turkey, but Chilmark citizens can’t rely on police to safely capture a (40-pound) combative, aggressive turkey so it can be humanely and properly euthanized, without shooting up the neighborhood first and terrorizing anyone nearby. A bullet could have ricocheted off a tree or rock. It’s lucky no one was injured.

When you’re told it’s going to rain and you go for a walk without an umbrella anyway, you shouldn’t act surprised when you get wet.

Jackie Mendez-Diez



Editors, Vineyard Gazette:

In the novel 1984, George Orwell gave us the concept of doublethink, the mental capacity to hold resolutely to a view in the face of overwhelmingly contradictory evidence. A characteristic of a person well-versed in doublethink was the ability to articulate such a view without betraying any sense of inconsistency.

Audra Parker’s recent commentary shows that the Alliance to Protect Nantucket Sound has learned the Orwellian lesson well. I sat at the Minerals Management Service public hearings on Cape Wind in March and counted for myself the pros and cons among the speakers. The raw total showed a preponderance of opinion in favor of the project — not inordinate, but certainly measurable. Yet Ms. Parker is so unequivocal in her assertion of “an overwhelming display of project opposition” that one is bound to conclude that she actually believes in her heart what she puts on the page. As did White House spokesman Scott McClellan, I suppose, but in his case he was never given the truth to work with.

Ms. Parker goes on to claim the high ground of “quality” in the comments made by her fellow opponents at the hearings. Assuming this includes the abusive and defamatory comments made by one such opponent against the persons of the attending minerals service staff (occasioning a rebuke from the moderator and the attention of the police officer in attendance), this represents a classic case of doublethinking her way around reality.

It also seems that the Alliance has called upon the minerals service to initiate a process in which “local stakeholders would work to identify a community-supported alternative to Cape Wind.” If memory serves, the last independent opinion poll on Cape Wind showed a 74 per cent approval rating of the project on the Cape and Islands. That suggests to me that Cape Wind itself has so much community support that an alternative would be nugatory. But then, I’m not trained in the techniques of doublethink, so perhaps I’m missing the point.

Or is someone else?

Chris Stimpson

Keene, N.H.


Editors, Vineyard Gazette:

Monday, June 30, may be remembered in history as the day Americans began, in earnest, the moral and solemn process of holding their servant government accountable to the Constitution under threat of withdrawal of allegiance, support and tax money.

To secure this end, the people have begun to claim and exercise a little-known but unalienable right of redress, rather than depending upon the will of the majority as defined by precinct voters, those who cast votes on Capitol Hill, and those that vote from the inner sanctums of our courthouses.

Most do not know that this profound natural right, first articulated 800 years ago in the Magna Carta, is embodied and protected by the petition clause of the First Amendment, the same amendment which protects your voice in the defense of freedom. Very importantly, academic research since 1986 makes clear the right to petition for redress is not a redundant statement of the right of speech. It is, in fact, the individual exercise of popular sovereignty.

To be sure, the widespread exercise of the right holds significant implications for our nation and are most worthy of your interest.

Here’s what some of the Founders sitting as the first congress had to say:

“If money is wanted by rulers who have in any manner oppressed the people, they may retain it until their grievances are redressed, and thus peaceably procure relief, without trusting to despised petitions or disturbing the public tranquility.”

On June 30, approximately 1,200 American citizens will begin the process of exercising the right by formally serving a legal notice and demand for redress upon the president, the attorney general and every member of the U.S. Senate at their local district offices. This includes our own.

Demanding an official response within 40 days, the notice includes seven petitions for redress of grievances regarding substantial violations the Constitution:

1. The Iraq invasion in violation of the war powers clauses.

2. The Federal Reserve System’s violation of the money clauses.

3. The USA Patriot Act’s violation of the privacy clauses.

4. The direct, unapportioned taxes on labor in violation of the tax clauses.

5. The federal gun control laws in violation of the Second Amendment.

6. The failure to enforce immigration laws in violation of the “faithfully execute” clause.

7. The construction, by stealth, of a “North American Union” without constitutional authority.

We the people cannot elect our way out of tyranny. Any assertion that by electing either Senator McCain or Senator Obama we can cure the ills that now plague America is simply naive or based on a lack of information regarding the corrupting forces that truly influence and control our government and political process.

Remember, when our president originally led us to war in Iraq, he did so with the majority support of not only Congress, but of the people. Credit or blame for whatever actions our government takes, whether it turns out to be for better or worse, cannot be laid upon just one man, administration, or congressional gathering. Whether through apathy, ignorance, vigilance or brilliance, all our nation’s citizenry have some responsibility for what our government does.

We urge you, the media, to learn about this profound right and to cover this event. Our republic faces a watershed moment no less historically compelling or newsworthy than the emergence of the civil rights movement. If liberty is to survive through peaceful means, you must embrace your ability to bring this critical information to your readers.

I know our local papers don’t usually cover national news so much, but this really does have the potential to affect us all personally. I also must admit that I am not so well versed in constitutional law as some, but in the past couple of years I do feel I have learned enough to support this cause and wish that others would do the same.

If you wish you may visit for details about the plan to restore constitutional order.

I also recommend that every citizen take a closer look at our constitution than most of us do. Some of it is a tough read, but during a time when there is significant discussion about what it’s all about and how important it is, I think it’s a good thing for every one of us to take a good look at it.

Christopher D. Osborn

Vineyard Haven