Once again Terry Coburn and Brent Tubbergen haven't a clue on issues that they feel it is their duty to inform people about (Letters, "Going Deep on Mike Halprin," February 5). Dave Earp made a character statement about himself the day he chose to name his commercial boat Sea Kill. He knew it would be offensive to a majority of decent citizens that not only make this county their home but depend on tourism to make a living.
Dave Earp, Randy Whitneck, and several other commercial boat operators in the area actively promote the fact that the only reason for scuba diving is to hunt and kill everything they see. There was a time when the commercial dive industry of Broward and southern Palm Beach counties could unite and police itself without fear of violent retaliation. That was when the industry consisted of a majority of educated people who had a common goal of preserving the marine life not only for those that make [South Florida] their home but for those who visit the area. During this time there was an agreement amongst dive operators not to allow spearfishing at dive sites, and the majority stuck to that agreement. Approximately eighteen months ago, this unity began to show signs of deterioration. Then in June of last year, night after night, the physically threatening and harassing phone calls began disrupting our life. These calls were not only traced back to the same group of boat operators, but messages were left on our answering machine. Terry, did the guys ever share with you the fact that one of them threatened to rape and kill me? Maybe if they did, you and your passengers would better understand Mike not welcoming you to dive at the same destination -- to the same ocean for that matter!
One common component shared by the key players in this industry's violent deterioration was that their businesses were being operated without a city or county occupational license. I only became a whistle blower to prevent further harassment. Not being a street fighter or gang member, I felt this was the civilized approach -- I was wrong! My husband has the right to vocalize his belief that Dave Earp, Randy Whitneck, and other commercial boat operators are a serious threat to our local environment, and not have to endure three hours of surgery to reconstruct his face for having that belief. Mike still feels one person can make a difference! I do not believe Dave Earp felt threatened the evening of December 23. If I were in the same situation, I would have stayed inside the store and had someone from management call the police to escort me to my car. But then again, I wouldn't name my boat Sea Kill, either.
Clueless Is the Hunter
While passing through South Florida, I read Sean Rowe's article "The Hunted" (January 8), and I felt compelled to write. I am a physician, not a hunter or a yuppie environmentalist or an ecologist. From this neutral position, I can see objectively and must mention that the article was incomplete and that these hunters are at best disturbing and at worst frightening in their viewpoint of those whose opinions they don't understand.
Like the long path of abuse that finally leads to symptoms of a heart attack or a stroke, the Everglades is at the end of a long history of abuse and neglect that involved robbed water, polluted water, and a continuing human population explosion. How can anyone expect the days of the Indians to compare to this? Heart disease and the state of the Everglades are similar in the sense that chest pain, like the core of Mr. Rowe's article, presents itself as a symptom after many years of abuse and neglect that could go unnoticed. It must be viewed in the context of passing time, not as a snapshot.
If this is where we are now, where will the Everglades be in 50 years? The picture is dismal. I side with the yuppie environmentalists.
Peter J. Walton, M.D.
Sean Hits the Bull's-Eye
Sean Rowe's "The Hunted" rates as one of your very best stories.