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Letter: Seneca Nation could offer officials best bear advice

I’m embarrassed to say that Sean Kirst’s July 14 column, in which he interviewed two Seneca Nation members about the Amherst Police Department’s decision to solve an otherwise-solvable problem with a gun, was the first of his that I’ve read but it won’t be the last. A quarter-century ago, when we moved here from Queens, I was horrified to read (also in The News) that sharpshooters were shooting pigeons in the city in a mind-boggling attempt to reduce the pigeon population.

Nothing happens in isolation. The News publishes yet another ode to the overheated local housing market as banks restrict inventory (and, not coincidentally, maximize their mortgage-interest income) by sitting on their foreclosures, which will inevitably trigger yet another building boom. This will worsen our already-notorious sprawl and eat away at what habitat is left, all in the relentless pursuit of profit. The population sickens (largely because of environmental degradation), but that’s no big deal because we have a medical campus!

I’m sure the story of the Amherst bear has spread beyond the region, giving us yet another (justified) black eye. I wish I could be as certain that the next time there’s a black-bear “problem,” local law enforcement will have the humility to contact the Seneca (or Tuscarora) Nation until we learn that we are part of nature, not lords of it. Nature has a way of getting even, though, and our epitaph (which will be needed sooner than we think) will be that we were too smart and not wise enough.

Anne Fanelli


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