Home Valley Advocate Back Talk: Nuts to Safe Spaces, Decriminalize DMT

Back Talk: Nuts to Safe Spaces, Decriminalize DMT

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This is the featured photo on the University of Chicago's anti-safe spaces website, freeexpression.uchicago.edu.

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Here are some comments in response to an expert from “Between the Lines: In Defense of Safe Spaces,” we posted on our Facebook page with the quote: “It’s a blessing to be somewhere — even if it’s just for an hour — where women can talk about rape culture without someone yelling about ‘Not All Men!’ or black people can discuss Black Lives Matter without someone insisting it should be ‘All Lives Matter.’”
Joshua David: Maybe they wouldn’t need “safe spaces” for their ideas if they weren’t inherently hypocritical, thereby causing most people to question them. People are free to insulate themselves and even go out of their way to surround themselves with people who support even the worst of ideas. This isn’t what education is about, however. Certainly not a classic liberal arts education, which is about a free exchange of ideas and challenging each other.
William G. Petrone: They do have a safe space — their homes.

Lack of performance space is universal problem

In all due respect, isn’t “Save the Last Dance: Rent woes for a downtown troupe highlight Northampton’s lack of arts space” (Aug. 25-31, 2016) just hyperlocalizing things to the center of Northampton rather than the rest of the Pioneer Valley?
Make no mistake, much of what is here is true: the costs have clearly increased. Having said that though, it might be worth it to counter it by showing Gateway City Arts. Artists have somewhat left Northampton for Holyoke and to a lesser degree Springfield. “But it also serves as a stark reminder that the Northampton of previous decades, which saw an influx of artists drawn to the city for its large spaces with low downtown rents, is gone.” That’s pretty much what is happening in Holyoke right now; large spaces and low downtown rents.
To be honest, Holyoke is easier to get in and out of versus Northampton. The canal walk is nearly finished. There is a rail stop and, technically, the electricity is mostly green. If you get too expensive, businesses move. That’s how the Route 128 belt developed out of Boston and then I-495. All things being said, I-91 is really easy to drive down and as a result anything along it is developing off of Northampton. Even in Greenfield, with places like the Root Cellar, it just starts to add up.
Matthew Dovell
Springfield

Decriminalize DMT

As a former Pioneer Valley resident, I was saddened by the news that police destroyed a lab in Northampton (Aug. 31, 2016) that was allegedly being used to produce the psychedelic drug dimethyltryptamine, or DMT. Not only does this mean another victim of the War on Drugs, but it involves the destruction of perhaps the most fascinating chemical on Earth. I’m an independent scholar working on a book about DMT. Its effects as a drug last 10-15 minutes and according to thousands of users it hurls people into a space inhabited by what appear to be discarnate “entities,” which often seem to exhibit intelligence. The experience is so dramatic that it often changes the entire worldview of the user; it is in no way considered recreational. DMT is the primary active component of the indigenous healing tonic ayahuasca, and celebrity Joe Rogan as well as the late author Terence McKenna have famously promoted it as a spiritual tool.
This extremely unique compound should be decriminalized and studied. If a high percentage of its users are to be believed, it may be a key to uncovering some of life’s greatest mysteries.
Adam Hurter
Boulder, Colorado