Letters to the Editor

Voice of the People - March 3, 2008

Animal activists too heavyhanded

In response to the letter written by Inge Smith: Besides containing numerous logical flaws, it demonstrates a common theme from environmentalists and animal rights activists. That theme is the same as in Cuba: There is no room for dissent. If someone disagrees, they must be an evil person. They must be an illiterate moron or a coward.

Civil discourse is something that seems foreign to these activists. Apparently, they're not like the rest of us. When someone claims that animals have "rights" just like humans, we shake our heads and go about munching on our burgers. And until they learn some manners, that's exactly what we should do.

Tyler Huff

Rock Hill

Mascot has a noble history

In a recent letter to The Herald, Pat McMurray criticized the University of South Carolina for having the gamecock as the school mascot. In her rambling tirade, she claimed the founders of the school had chosen cockfighting to represent our state university. As a proud USC student, I would like to take this opportunity to educate Ms. McMurray and any others who may share her misconceptions about this great school.

First of all, the gamecock was not chosen by the founders. Like many universities, USC did not adopt a mascot and school colors until the late 1800s, when collegiate football teams began to be organized. Second, the selection had absolutely nothing to do with cockfighting. The origin of USC's mascot can be traced to a Revolutionary War hero -- Thomas Sumter.

There was a time when British forces controlled most of South Carolina, and the fight for independence seemed lost. But just as the British assumed victory was at hand, a mysterious figure appeared, causing fear and chaos among their ranks. On moonlit nights, Gen. Thomas Sumter and his small band of guerrilla fighters would strike British camps without warning, inflicting heavy damage before disappearing into the woods as quickly as they appeared. Sumter's tactics had a devastating effect on British morale. Whispered tales of ghosts in the South Carolina woods began to circulate among British troops. Meanwhile, British commanders were infatuated by their army's inability to apprehend this elusive foe. Because of his ferocity and fearlessness, and his habit of wearing rooster feathers in his hat, they had a special name for Thomas Sumter. They called him "The Gamecock."

Many years later, when University of South Carolina students formed a football team, they decided to adopt a nickname as some other schools had done. They wanted a name that had some relevance to the history of South Carolina. Inspired by the legend of Thomas Sumter, they chose to call themselves "Gamecocks."

I hope it is now clear that Pat McMurray attempt to insult a fine university was based on a false premise. USC does not promote cockfighting. To argue otherwise is absurd and laughable. In the future, Ms. McMurray needs to get her facts straight before she goes off half-cocked.

Justin Pryor

Rock Hill

Small businessmen need help, too

According to the paper, local government officials recently agreed to pony up $3 million of taxpayer money to go along with $2.5 million provided by the Norman Co. to advance a development of theirs. The same old argument is that this advances economic development and is a great use of taxpayer money.

Didn't Mr. Norman run for Congress spouting the Republican small government, less taxes and closed borders mantras? So how does that square with seeking the use of $3 million taxpayer dollars for a private enterprise? As one paying local taxes, I am offended by these actions. Certainly there will at least be no illegal immigrants working on these job sites (even if hired by a subcontractor).

As to the government leaders who approve of this, years ago local lawmakers (prodded along by large developers) made it illegal for a small landowner to subdivide his land and build a few houses unless he put in roads, curbing and other infrastructure meeting local codes. This infrastructure then must be given to the county. This effectively took economic opportunity away from small landowners and protected the large developers.

Now the same lawmaking bodies give away $3 million tax dollars for exactly the same purpose, just on a larger scale. If they do this, the councils should immediately announce that they will pay 60 percent of infrastructure costs any small landowner incurs meeting construction codes.

Benny R. Dawkins

Rock Hill