Readers’ comment on Native American graves, library bullies, road work chaos, AI dangers and more

Bring the ancestors home

My first reaction after reading about the Native Americans’ concerns over museums holding on to the remains of ancestors was that most Americans have the same thing happen to their distant ancestors in Europe. I don’t care if my Druid grandfathers are exhumed in Britain or French archeologists collect ancient Gauls’ skeletons and display them in museums. (And) as a Catholic, it’s a tradition in my religion to revere the bones of Saints as holy relics. Skulls and stacks of human bones are displayed in catacombs in many places in Europe. But I don’t live next to the old graves and my linage is not in a direct line with those long-dead people. According to the story, Native American tradition is to allow their dead to rest in peace undisturbed forever. It is time we respected their culture and return Indian remains for reburial.  – Kevin Powers, Fernley

Boycott bullies who disrupt meetings

Maybe it’s time to name the bullies at local meetings and expose them. A nice piece about who they are and what businesses they run would help the public make decisions on whether they want to continue business with such hate-filled people. – E.D.P., Reno

Gun control works elsewhere

In response to April Pedersen’s “guns are forever” letter, one only needs to look at how we did actually ban assault weapons nationally under the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act of 1994. Or look at countries where the citizens decided “enough is enough” (New Zealand, for example.) Banned weapons are first rounded up using buy-back programs. Over time, more banned weapons are removed as they’re confiscated as part of crime investigations. Basic logic: If it has been done before, it can be done again, if we choose to do so. – Michael Rottmann, Reno 

Hot August traffic cones

Every year, the city of Reno and the RTC wait for the Hot August Nights event before they start tearing up the streets and making Reno and Sparks into an obstacle course of construction equipment, holes in the road and traffic cones. I really think the engineers get a big laugh out of that before they probably go on vacation and leave the rest of us to deal with the results. – Manny Rodriquez, Reno

AI is a dangerous technology

One of the dangers of artificial intelligence comes from excessive reliance on it without verification. For instance, a New York federal judge recently sanctioned lawyers who submitted a legal brief written by the artificial intelligence tool ChatGPT, which included citations of non-existent court cases. Humans are lazy enough by nature without AI encouraging us to be even less diligent. Another even greater danger is the growing ability to create deep fake videos that are virtually indistinguishable from reality, with the ability to change the outcome of elections. In the international arena, I can easily see countries even going to war based on provocations that never occurred, credibly faked on a computer. And some of the tools used in social media to increase user engagement can be repurposed to incite mass fear. So I can see (literally) explosive results coming from bad actors using AI to manipulate human emotions.

On the other hand, maybe AI will only be used for good, perhaps to make even more adorable puppy and kitten videos for YouTube. – Gary Marks, Reno

Trump and his minions trash democracy

Former President Trump has now earned his fourth strike as a public official but still insists on standing up to bat. The fact that his supporters attach no importance at all to his wild swings at the plate indicates that a large minority of the electorate have become incompetent citizens, unable to recognize the difference between right and wrong, good and evil. Historically, the loss of discernment by the “mob” of citizenry becomes a dog whistle for the wealthy class to assert an exclusive right to govern. That is exactly what is happening in America. Trump supporters have backed almost completely away from consideration of the massive evidence of criminal activity rolling out into the public view over the past few months. They believe the propaganda narrative “I alone can do it,” not the historical, legal, political, and constitutional evidence that he cannot do it alone, especially while breaking the law. Democracy by very definition requires that everyone be a participating hero, not just one wealthy white man, and not just a single flock of obedient sheep. Kimball Shinkoskey, Woods Cross, Utah