¡Baja Libre! for the Real Arizonans
Thank you for noting our Baja Arizona movement [“Noted,” April 4]. One small quibble: since the term “secession” has some unpalatable history, we prefer “separation.” Our model is West Virginia, which separated in order to stay in the Union when Virginia seceded. We have a drink too, the Baja Libre. It’s tequila and Squirt. Don’t waste the boutique stuff in these; any cheap tequila blanca will do. ¡Salud!
The Insanity of the Nuclear Age
As Japan reels from the cataclysm of earthquakes and the tsunami—and the greatest nuclear disaster since Chernobyl—Jonathan Schell’s linkage of the horrors of Hiroshima and Nagasaki with the folly of Fukushima should serve as a cautionary tale about militarism, the nature of war and the dangers of nuclear proliferation [“From Hiroshima to Fukushima,” April 4]. Although more than six decades have elapsed since President Truman ordered the atomic bombardment of two densely populated Japanese cities in World War II, we are still haunted by this mass incineration of civilians.
When Italian physicist Enrico Fermi produced the world’s first controlled, self-sustaining nuclear chain reaction on December 2, 1942, the objective was the disruption and elimination of Nazi Germany’s war machine—not the wholesale eradication of noncombatants. Nuclear energy is a fact of life in the Land of the Rising Sun, and Japan has borne the brunt of yet another atomic tragedy.
ROSARIO A. IACONIS
West Kingston, R.I.
Jonathan Schell’s conclusions on the nature of nuclear crises are biblical. This is what we get for fooling with nature. We humans are tropical animals, akin to monkeys and chimps. It is not a great step from fireplaces to steam engines to nuclear power. Each of these methods of creating heat and fuel is severely flawed and unsustainable.
If we are doomed for fooling with nature and taking on necessities too complex to handle, then we were doomed 1 million years ago when we conquered fire. The control of fire ultimately resulted in our taking over the planet. I suppose one could argue about whether that was a good thing, especially for the other living things on the earth. But the alternative was to remain in the tropics as just another group of quarreling smart apes.
I think of the human species in classical Greek terms. Our nature contains our strengths, beauty and incredible creativity; also the seeds of our destruction through arrogance and greed. We can do nothing but appreciate this fact and try to overcome as we watch and suffer and feel sorrow for our fateful limitations.
The Legacy of the Triangle Fire
Joshua Freeman, in “Remembering the Triangle Fire” [April 4], did not mention a major change in worker protection inspired by the fire. The day before the fire the New York Court of Appeals declared the state’s first workers’ compensation law unconstitutional. It took until July 1, 1914, three years after the fire, before a new law would come into effect, after amending the New York State Constitution.