Employ common sense and give bears a break
To the editor:
As I read Phyllis McGuire's "That's Life" comments on encroaching bears Thursday morning, I was a bit dismayed with several comments.
First is a perception the black bear is prone to attack; "Trying to outrun a bear is not an option" and "I would be easy prey for the bear." Please — when is the last time you heard of a black bear chasing a person?
Granted, there was an underlying comedic theme to the column, but then there were comments like "There is a leash law for dogs in Williamstown, but what can be done about the bears that are roaming free and putting a crimp in my lifestyle?" I'm unsure of where Ms. McGuire's condo is located, but my guess is when it was built it was the bears who were displaced from their habitat. I think it's their lifestyles that may have been crimped. Take a look at the mountainsides to see how many are simply forest any longer, and not subdivided with roads and dotted with human residences.
I agree there is a potential safety issue, but there are also common sense protective actions. Ms. McGuire states, "Would anyone be brave enough, or should I say foolish enough, to pat a bear on the head?" My answer is maybe not pat its head, but how about feeding it? When Tyringham Road was rebuilt last year, a photo was taken (and posted to Facebook) of a construction worker handing a sandwich to a bear near the roadside. Yes, people are foolish enough to do some really stupid things.
The answer to the increasing bear population is not a simple one, and I certainly don't have it. Let's relax, use some common sense and give the bears a little benefit of the doubt — they've earned it.
Dave Simmons, Lee