Time’s up for crying wolf

The recent letter by Krys Crimi of Mars Hill [“When the Wolf Is at the Door,” Sept. 26] was yet another installment—and a particularly fine one—in a long series of letters decrying the ruthless manipulations of developers who, seemingly in cahoots with indifferent county commissioners, are ripping up our mountains for the sole purpose of reaping exorbitant profit. Notwithstanding their epistolary merit, these letters, I believe, are no longer effective in obtaining their stated objectives.

The commissioners have seemingly sold their souls to the highest bidders. Voting them out, the accepted democratic solution for attaining better and honest public officials, no longer works. The replacements always seem just as corrupt. I’ve given much thought to this revolving-door conundrum, and the only common denominator I can detect is the acceptance of bribes that turns commissioners, sworn to uphold the public interest, into voting blocks serving the diabolical intentions of irresponsible developers. Writing letters will vent one’s spleen, but it will not silence the rumble of the bulldozers. Those who sugar the fuel tanks of these bashing behemoths are called vandals; those who use these machines to destroy a work of nature are called developers.

Finding alternative avenues of protest, such as physical involvement, is difficult in this area because there is not a sufficient number of dedicated members embedded in the prospective protest pool—such as the group that recently invaded Bank of America. The local citizenry is overloaded with sybaritic yuppies, who think that recycling and out-greening each other will somehow save the mountains; whose commitment of choice is to protest the putative maltreatment of circus elephants and the barbarism of meat-eaters; but who, giving them their due, occasionally make the supreme sacrifice by waving placards in Pack Square denouncing the Iraq war and the rapacious developers (whom many of these dilettantes might have patronized).

We are now faced with momentous decisions regarding our stewardship of our forests and mountains. We need a Gandhi and a Dr. King to provide the gritty, steadfast leadership for the valorous few who are not afraid of committing civil disobedience, who are willing to pay a heavy price to halt the despoilers. Such robust resistance will disabuse the commissioners of their condescending attitudes. The developers will be notified that they no longer have carte blanche to run amok in our cherished mountains.

Finally, a real and therefore dangerous battle to save our piece of the planet will have begun. And if this reconstituted duo of Gandhi and King fail, we will, perforce, summon Heyduke and his monkey-wrenchers from the wings.

The time is over for writing to the editors. Go now and tell it on the mountain, shout it with all the might you can muster while you are chained to a tree or lying in front of a bulldozer, because if you don’t have the stomach for courageous demonstrations, the mountains you supposedly love dearly will become Levittown aeries, the rivers and streams just so many brown smudges oozing off to the sea.

— David J. Stanley
Asheville

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