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  • Last modified 2393 days ago (March 8, 2012)

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When did I lose the desire to fight?

I noticed in the Sunday edition of the newspaper from the big metropolitan city to the south of us that the U.S. Navy has admitted to hauling battleships out into the middle of the ocean and using them for target practice until they sink to the ocean floor. The ships are the size of three football fields. Part of the story included figures on the number of tons of toxins left on board to seep into the water over the next several decades.

Much of the material from which the ships are made is recyclable according to the waterfront businesses that salvage it. Several salvage yard owners said the new practice of sinking the ships was creating a hardship on their bottom line and their employees’ ability to earn a living. The solution to that seems so simple, doesn’t it?

I thought it was pretty amazing that the government can force a city like Peabody to spend $160,000 to move truckloads of dirt to a special landfill in Louisiana because the dirt MIGHT be contaminated by a few ounces of mercury once used in the local sewer system. However, that same government (or a branch of it) can sink hundreds of thousands of tons of rusting scrap iron and toxic substances in an ocean that belongs to all of mankind.

I think the point must have been that the government can do whatever it pleases. No surprise there.

I am 65 years old. I remember Little Rock High School and Freedom Riders. I remember multiple assassinations, Selma and Montgomery, Ala., Kent State University, and the Watts riots. I belonged to a church youth group that went into Chicago with some regularity to take part in protest marches. There was a time when I thought my voice could make a difference when it joined with others fighting for a like cause. Now, not so much.

So I am sorry for the ocean floor and all of its sea life and eco-systems. I am embarrassed that it is my government that is doing the damage. However, I have no more letters to the editor in my portfolio. I do not have the fire any longer to take on the “times that are a-changin’…”

I didn’t just come to this after reading about the battleships. It has been creeping up on me for a couple of years now. It is simply time for a new generation to work on fixing issues facing the world. I am part of the baby-boomers, and we did do some good things, but we made a mess of some others. So have at it. I am ready to turn my part over to the next generation.

Maybe, with a little luck, you can save the world’s water mass from the U.S. government. That might be a place to start.

— SUSAN MARSHALL

Last modified March 8, 2012

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