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This week: Straw Hat for Warren; and Wrong Slant on Vassell

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Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Straw Hat for Warren

I was disappointed to read Maureen Turner’s column (“Warren’s Hick Problem,” November 22, 2012) suggesting that Elizabeth Warren is not in touch with small farmers. Nothing could be further from the truth.

Turner’s mistake was that she interviewed only one person, Matt Barron, a political consultant who clearly took it as a personal affront that Elizabeth Warren did not come to a Hilltown event in which he was involved. Had she talked to anyone else, she would have quickly learned that Elizabeth Warren has been, and will continue to be, a strong advocate for rural agriculture.

During the campaign she spoke out, on the record, to the New England Farmers Union in favor of new legislation supporting dairy farmers, local and organic farms, specialty crops, new farmers and conservation programs. She vowed to “fight for sustainable policies that work for Massachusetts and New England farmers,” specifically recognizing that “dairy farmers are a vital part of New England’s agricultural industry” who need to be protected.

In short, contrary to Matt Barron’s fears, Elizabeth Warren will be an outstanding advocate for small farms in the United States Senate.

Thomas Lesser

*

Wrong Slant on Vassell

Thank you for the article re the reactivation of the Amherst chapter of the NAACP (“Amherst NAACP Back in Action,” November 29, 2012). However, the paragraph about the Jason Vassell case presents a view that is a matter of concern: one that makes Vassell look like the perpetrator, rather than the victim that he was.

Facts: African-American honors student Jason Vassell was in his own UMass dorm room when the two intoxicated, white, non-student perpetrators began peering into his room while threatening him using racist language. When they broke his window, Mr. Vassell left his room, called a friend for help, and headed into the lobby. The two perpetrators accessed the locked lobby by following the friend when he entered. Mr. Vassell had taken a pocket knife with him for protection. The two perpetrators continued the racist language and physical threats. Mr. Vassell told them to back off, took out his pocket knife, and told them he was prepared to use it if they didn’t back off. The larger of the two perpetrators punched Vassell in the nose, breaking it.

It should also be noted that the two perpetrators, John Bowes and Jonathan Bosse, were well known to police in the Milton, Massachusetts community, [had police records containing evidence that they] had been involved in prior racist assault cases, and [according to court documents] have been members of a white supremacist group referred to as the East Milton Mafia.

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