Your Letters: Gates And Lonesome George

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Host Scott Simon reads listeners' responses to a discussion about the arrest of Henry Louis Gates Jr. and the tale of Lonesome George, the last known Galapagos giant tortoise.


Time now for your letters.

(Soundbite of typewriter and music)

SIMON: Emails and comments came pouring in after NPR News analyst Juan Williams offered his reflections on Professor-Gates-and-Officer-Crowley-gate. Juan explained he makes a special effort to be deferential around police officers, and has taught his sons to do the same.

Clay Williams of Brooklyn said that gave him pause. He wrote: I've learned many of the same lessons about being deferential and moving slowly around police officers. These are steps we take because to not to take them is to risk our lives. Williams teaches his sons the same thing because he understands that this is the world we live in, but that doesn't make it right. Fifty, 70, 100 years ago, the lessons were not to look at white women and to know your place. Gates was certainly belligerent and insulting to the officer, but that's not a crime and he shouldn't have been arrested for it.

Thomas Cooke of Minneapolis said, Thank you, Juan. I think your view on the Professor Gates police scandal is right on. The cops are not only doing what cops are trained to do, they were under the impression there was a break-in and not racial profiling. Gates made it about race - he was tired and not thinking clearly. If he just waited it out, he would've been let off the hook.

Our discussion with Barbara Lippert, the ad critic, about Starbucks locations masquerading as independent coffee houses prompted this from Alice Caterlin(ph) of Seattle, Washington, where the first stealth Starbucks is being tested.

Here there is a huge backlash against Starbucks, not for driving our small coffee houses out of business, which seems to be impossible in a city overrun by independents, but because Starbucks coffee is just not very good. Apparently the marketing geniuses at Starbucks think it's easier to change décor and name than the way they roast their coffee. Until they do, their wacky and desperate moves are doomed to failure.

Last week we shared some exciting news about Lonesome George, the last known Galapagos Tortoise. George is estimated to be between 90 and 100 years old, and after years of unfulfilled attempts to become a father, he may soon be destined for fatherhood.

Well, that struck a chord with L.J. Gibbs of Portland, Maine. Our community just lost Florence Castman(ph), who died at age 105. She was the daughter of a Civil War veteran who was 89 years old when she was born. Her father married her mother when he was 65. It appears it takes some men a while to come out of their shell.

We welcome your comments - hard shell, soft shell, already shelled. You can look for the listener comment section for every story at the new, where stories, topics and shows are easier to search and share. You can also reach me on Twitter at NPRScottSimon - all one word - and the WEEKEND EDITION crew, producers and editors, at NPRWeekend.

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