It has been awhile since I have shared fan mail generated from my haranguing of the radical anti-biotech crowd.
However, I received an e-mail a few weeks back that prompts me to share a couple of recent cyberspace communiqués. The first is from a young Mendocino County, Calif., resident, 16-year-old Ryan Mayfield. Ryan rightfully took me to task for painting all Mendocino County residents with a broad brush in recent commentaries about efforts to organically certify marijuana production in Mendocino County and the county's dubious distinction of being first to ban biotechnology. He let me know in clear, precise fashion that there are people in Mendocino County who did not carry medical marijuana cards and also realize the benefits of GMOs.
Then full context of Ryan's well-crafted and forthright e-mail is on Page 5 of this edition along with other e-mails to the editor. I responded to Ryan's e-mail, telling him I appreciated him taking the time to e-mail and that his e-mail would appear in an upcoming WFP edition. He was pleased and responded:
“Your commentary was pretty much spot-on, yet I felt the need to defend the few of us in Mendocino County who are against these absurd practices,” he said.
Ryan is part of this commentary to commend the young man for his convictions, and my appreciation of his thoughts.
It's also here to sharply contrast a series of e-mails received earlier from a man who is opposed to biotechnology; who clearly does not have the communications skill of a teenager or the intelligence of a banana slug.
He says his name is Stephen Anthony. He declined to provide an address. He apparently picked up my e-mail address from my friends at the Organic Consumers Association (OCA), the Minneapolis-based group playing a major role in the anti-GMO movement in California. OCA is the group that crowned the editor of Western Farm Press “biotech bully,” an invigorating moniker for a curmudgeon.
Don't know if Mr. Anthony is a card-carrying OCA member, but he did copy OCA his e-mails to me.
Before sharing the e-mail exchange; couple of warnings. You may have difficulty deciphering all Mr. Anthony wrote. Western Farm Press goes into homes; therefore, you will find blanks after the first letter of several words Mr. Anthony uses. You will have to use the dictionary found on sleazy gas station bathroom walls to translate.
E-mails similar to ones sent by Mr. Anthony have appeared in past commentaries, and some well-meaning people in agriculture have objected. They believe I am characterizing everyone who has concerns about biotechnology as kooks and nuts. This certainly is neither my goal nor my opinion. I realize there are respected scientists, successful, commercial farmers and agricultural professionals who have concerns that should not be summarily dismissed. There needs to be thoughtful, scientific debates on the subject.
However, it is a waste of time and taxpayer funds to conduct these meaningless county initiatives to ban or impose moratoriums on biotechnology. They are as meaningless as holding county initiatives on gun control or anti-smoking ordinances. Biotechnology is a federal and/or state issue.
I continue to hear within the agricultural industry the best way to counter the California anti-GMO movement is with scientific information. That would be valid, if the radical leaders of the anti-GMO movement were interested in science rather than the spouting little more than antidotal pseudo-science designed to scare the public into supporting their political cause. Scientific debate is futile with the radical element that is now controlling the anti-GMO movement in the state.
You've have got to be a junkyard dog sometimes as my friend and mentor Earl Williams of the California Cotton Ginners and Growers Associations has said when confronting people like Mr. Anthony. Read on and you will understand why science will get you nowhere with the radicals:
E-Mail Subject: Why the war on organic farmers?
Dear Harry my old chum:
What's up mate, why are you all agribusiness c_________s? Agribusiness screws the farmers why do you have no integrity at all? Are you all soulless scum just for the money?
It is only a matter of time before the whole world takes India's lead and banning all the man-made crap — trust in Gods creation?
(Steve's e-mail address: email@example.com)
I love you “organic farmers” You have created a whole new, highly profitable market for commercial, production, industrial agriculture. I love it. If fooled consumers want to pay 25 percent more because they think organic is better, God love ‘em. Commercial farmers will take their money all the way to the bank. Thank you very much.
P.S. Your e-mail address is withgodslove and you enjoy calling people soulless scum and agribusiness c________s, and we should trust in God's creation? Stevie boy, you should find a new e-mail address. I will publish your e-mail address, but would love to have your home town. Minneapolis, Minn.?
(Mr. Anthony's response)
E-mail Subject: Keep polluting the water tables with your effluences and laugh as you bank your. (Editor's note: That is how the line reads)
F____ God as long as you guys are laughing to the bank God hates Monsanto and all you soulless scumbags Your duty is to tend and love creation and preserve it for our children NOT TO LAUGH AS YOU FAT OF THE LAND SCUMBAGS PROFIT
Love is the Vine
Life is its shadow
Would you like to set the controls for the heart of the Sun
(Editor's note: The above is the close of each e-mail from Mr. Anthony.)
It is such a thrill to receive your e-mails; to address a highly intelligent soul such as yourself. Not sure what you are stoned on, but I would not answer the next knock at the door. It will probably be the DEA. It is amazing you can still see a keyboard. Sure would like to have your address so we can all send get well cards.
Mr. Anthony apparently has not found his computer keyboard to send more e-mails and does not want to receive get-well wishes.
An associate warned me about these exchanges with my new found e-mail pals that “when you play with skunks, some of the stink can rub off.” It already has in the minds of some who occasionally read this space.
Nevertheless, I do not plan to back off. It is disheartening and frightening to hear that biotechnology field research is declining due partly to the likes of Mr. Anthony. Those who spread fear and misinformation about bio-technology are stopping science to the detriment of man. They must not win this war in California.