I wonder if Audubon Society of Missouri would be willing to provide an on-line forum for discussion of the Smithville Gull incident. That way, those who are still interested in the subject could see both sides. Those who are tired of it could avoid it.

As the matter now stands, the ASM leadership has allowed only one side of the issue to be presented at the Fall Meeting and then declared the matter settled. Persons who were not at the meeting are expected to accept an abbreviated summary of the presentation of  that one side. By adding a "no discussion of collection" rule, the list owner is censoring all further discussion of the matter within our community, unless it is through the back channels of private e-mails.

I think it would be helpful if Mark Robbins were to state his explanation on the ASM web site so that persons who were not at the meeting could have more than a summary of it. From what I have heard of it second hand, it won't stand close scrutiny, but it is possible I might have a different opinion if it were available first hand. I would like an opportunity to present the other side, unless the first-hand version persuades me otherwise.

As for the "no discussion of collection rule," the list owner is within her rights to impose it, but I still feel that my point of view is being censored so long as the issue remains unresolved and no other avenue for discussing it is available.  I have received a lot of private e-mails supporting my stand. To the extent that they agree with me, their point of view is being suppressed also.

I have not recently tried to do any more with the issue on the list than to keep it alive. I am not not proposing further discussion of it on the list. However, the more I think of it, the less sure I am that I want to remain a part of a community that cannot find any way to deal openly with an issue of such importance to it.

I hope that ASM will ask Mark Robbins to state his justification for collecting the Smithville Gull in writing so that it can be posted on the ASM website.  I would like an opportunty to reply. I'll try to open my mind as much as possible. If I am persuanded, I'll admit it. I would also welcome other discussion, pro and con. I think such an open airing of the matter -- but only for those who choose to attend it on the web site -- would be constructive.

Bob Fisher
Independence, Missouri
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