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Letters: Times failed in publishing opinion piece; Thankful for column, therapy dogs; Farrakhan example of figure with mixed record l READER COMMENTARY

Times failed in publishing opinion piece

The Carroll County Times dramatically failed its readers on July 14 with the publication of the column by Commissioner Bouchat. Yes, it was in the editorial section, and he is entitled to an opinion. However, Bouchat made claims that he purported to be fact. Lacking both the academic and professional credentials to lend any credence to his claims, Bouchat makes statements that contradict consensus positions of the medical and scientific communities.

Why the Times would publish such an article, is a mystery. Was it in deference to his being an elected county official? His position should have given the Times more pause, not less. There are already enough people in the county who accept a host of misinformation and silly conspiracy theories as fact. By virtue of his position, Bouchat’s words are given more credence by those who accept claims without critically thinking.

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Perhaps the Times is embracing the misguided notion that all opinions are of equal value. Everyone is entitled to their own opinion, which doesn’t mean that all opinions are of equal value. When experts in a field opine, this certainly holds more weight than the musings of the uninformed. Unlike the silly claims of those who believe that the Earth is flat, or that there was a vast conspiracy to fake the moon landing, providing misinformation on COVID-19 has life and death consequences.

The Times owes its readers accurate information, particularly on critical issues. Allowing claims that fly in the face of prevailing scientific information in a pandemic is grossly irresponsible. Publishing the sophomoric claims that people’s health determines their ability to spread the virus, or that the use of masks is not a viable means of reducing transmission is a complete abdication of the Times’ responsibility. On this one, Carroll County Times, you failed.

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John Carr

Linwood

Thankful for column, therapy dogs

I very much appreciated Iris Katz’s recent column about therapy dogs. It was encouraging to learn of the current development of therapy dog programs that specialize in comforting victims and first responders.

With my numerous disaster deployments, I was most concerned after 9/11. I was sent to New York City to oversee and coordinate mental health teams providing services onsite at the Twin Towers. Would I return home with my own sanity intact? Could I be there for others throughout? Could I help those first responders as the white dust of the buildings and the deceased continued to rain upon us?

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Therapy dogs and their “tenders” arrived from across the country. They didn’t wait for an invite! We used them extensively. Also there were all the dedicated professionals with the cadaver dogs.

These sweet animals, often dealing with injured paws, gave me the strength to get through each day … in addition to family and friends back home who were holding me in their hearts.

I had to be strong for others. But when I could rest my face in the fur of a therapy dog; I could let the tears come through if only for a minute or two.

God bless them!

Capt. Carol Coley (ret.)

Taneytown

Farrakhan example of figure with mixed record

From the Southern Poverty Law Center: “[Louis] Farrakhan is an antisemite who routinely accuses Jews of manipulating the U.S. government and controlling the levers of world power.”

Certainly, Minister Farrakhan has made statements which have led many reasonable people to agree with this conclusion, and one need not go back too far in history to see the horrendous effects of such thinking on the Jewish people. That said, it is also true that Minister Farrakhan’s work on behalf of the African-American community has been substantial and he is revered by many within that community for his work - revered to the point where schools and streets are named after him, and statues have been erected in his honor. I think it would be fair to say, Minister Farrakhan has a mixed record.

Many people, especially Jewish Americans, find his comments concerning Israel and Jews offensive, in a way I would think is similar to how some African Americans find the life stories of other historical American figures offensive.

Would those so offended be right to take it upon themselves to seek out and tear down the statues of Minister Farrakhan and to deface schools and street signs bearing his name?

Chris Roemer

Finksburg

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