The June 14 Post and Courier article, “Awendaw man charged in SC shark branding case,” details a despicable animal branding case in which a man was rightly ticketed for harming a shark.
It’s not, however, until the last few lines that the “lucrative trade in shark fins” is discussed as the bigger threat to shark populations.
One of the greatest threats facing sharks is the demand for their fins, with fins from as many as 73 million sharks being sold globally every year. And some of these fins are coming into the United States, often from countries with few or no shark protections in place.
But there’s hope for these animals. This year, Congress introduced the bipartisan Shark Fin Sales Elimination Act (H.R. 737/S.877) to ban the trade nationwide.
This bill would not only reduce demand for fins but reinforce our country’s status as a leader in shark conservation.
The movement to outlaw the trade in shark fins is growing. More than 500 U.S. businesses and organizations support the bill as well as 150 scientists.
Twelve U.S. states have banned the sale of shark fins, and polling shows 8 in 10 Americans support a national ban.
I urge Sen. Tim Scott to stand up for sharks and co-sponsor this bill.
To protect sharks, we need to end the demand for their fins, starting here at home.
Sen. Scott, please help pass the Shark Fin Trade Elimination Act before it’s too late.
Marine Biologist and Protected
Eighty Oak Avenue
I am writing in support of S.C. Rep. Wendell Gilliard’s bill to introduce swimming lessons into the state of South Carolina’s public school curriculum.
I own Kids First Swim School of Charleston and have been teaching children to swim for almost 10 years. I established a swim school because I saw a need to have a dedicated facility to promote water safety and help young children become strong independent swimmers.
South Carolina ranks No. 10 nationally in drownings per year. Most who die from drowning are young. In the United States, drowning is the second leading cause of death for children under 14 and the leading cause of death for children between 1 and 4.
A young child is more likely to die by drowning than in a car accident, yet the government makes it mandatory for all young children to ride in car seats.
Studies show that by taking organized swim lessons, the risk of drowning can decrease up to 88 percent for a child. Just one swim lesson can potentially save someone’s life.
These life-saving skills, however, should not be taught by just anyone but by experienced swim teachers who understand curriculum, pedagogy and student abilities levels.
Just as the school system uses educators who are licensed in early childhood, elementary and secondary education, the school system should have educators who specialize in water safety for their students.
Please support this life-saving bill.
Too often these days we hear of South Carolina’s antebellum period as our “shameful past.”
Because slavery existed here? Yes, it did, and in its time, it was a legal institution.
Though the advance of humanity has followed several paths, the understanding of equality has moved more slowly. Not until 1776 in America did representatives of 13 former British colonies join together and pronounce to the world: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal … ”
But wait: What about slavery, a woman’s right to vote?
Historically, slavery was never just a matter of white ownership of blacks. In ancient history, wars usually found the losing side thrown into slavery without prejudicial selection.
Even the New Testament did not condemn slavery. It was accepted and part of human society. What the New Testament found to be a sin was the failure of the master to adhere to his duties to slaves and vice versa.
Slavery today is simply unacceptable to the point where it is difficult to accept the practice. But therein lies the answer.
We have no ability to conceptualize lifestyles or laws of an era with which we have no direct or personal experience.
So where does it stand that South Carolina deserves to have its history referred to as our “shameful past”?
It doesn’t, not any more than any other state or region we now call America. Such a base defect should be sternly rejected.
Historically, this is my family’s home and mine by choice. I proudly declare it. Those who dismiss South Carolina’s history as our “shameful past” do themselves a disservice.
THOMAS PINCKNEY LOWNDES JR.
On June 21, I read that U.S. Sen. Tim Scott of South Carolina talked to Jeff Sessions about running again for the U.S. Senate seat in Alabama.
In a world where nothing comes as a shock, I still did a double-take.
Scott, a native of the Lowcountry where nine African- Americans were killed by a white supremacist in 2015, appears to have no qualms about supporting Sessions, whose policies and political beliefs go hand-in-hand with racist and segregationist ideologies.
The further irony is that Sessions’ would-be Democratic opponent Doug Jones successfully prosecuted Ku Klux Klan members in the 1963 Birmingham church bombing that killed four African-American girls.
This is a truly sad statement on politics and politicians.
AGNES F. POMATA