Don’t expect us to learn a thing

You write, in your April 2 Local editorial: “One thing that is clear about this pandemic is that little is certain.”

In the last paragraph you write “A crisis like this is bound to dramatically change the way we do things in the future.”

To my way of thinking the first sentence is far more correct than the second. More serious catastrophes have occurred in the past, both locally and globally, such as the loss of about 1/3 of the Chinese population at the time of the Three Kingdoms war in the Third century CE, the death of over half the Eurasian population in the 14th century from the bubonic plague, the hundreds of millions lost in wars in the 20th century and the almost 40 million from AIDS in the recent years.

None of those events changed human behavior, except in the most superficial ways. Nor has the extinction of thousands of species of plants and animals due to humans, starting around 10,000 years ago and increasing exponentially ever since. slowed the rate at which we are eliminating almost all living things except ourselves.

Consider the obscene fact that during a time in which we are witnessing massive numbers of lives lost on this planet, the “best minds” are planning ways to colonize extraterrestrial areas. Until we start having at least some understanding that, for a variety of reasons we are not God’s gift to the planet, and that we are not even as powerful as a small molecule that isn’t even alive until it gets into a living cell, what seems certain is that this crisis will not change human behavior. How tragic that is.

George Spaeth
Chestnut Hill

Missing Russell Goudy

I was sad to read Russell Goudy’s obituary in the March 26 Chestnut Hill Local.

I first met him in 1962 when my landlady Miss Helen Shultz recommended I go to Kilian’s for some hardware supplies I needed for my twin home on Devon Street. I found him mostly at the cash register or helping his many customers locate items they were looking for.

My most candid memory of Russ, as many customers called him, including me, is from a time when I was looking for a tiny screw for some gadget I had to fix.

Russ spent over 10 minutes looking in his many boxes of different sized screws in three aisles of the store with no success. Then he fetched a ladder from the basement and found the screw I was looking for in one of the boxes at a higher level.

When I asked him how much I owed him for the screw he said, “Just a nickel.”

What an icon he was! He will be sorely missed. May his soul rest in peace.

Chuck Gupta
Blue Bell

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