Massachusetts Daily Collegian

Not in my backyard

By Alex Perry

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When Barack Obama decided he wanted to close Guantanamo Bay in order to appease his liberal base, one of the main questions that came up was what would become of the detainees. Well I guess Amherst has decided to chip its two cents in foreign affairs, as a couple of the town‘s selectpeople have decided that it would be a good idea to have a few detainees cleared for release to settle down in Amherst.

Well, that raises a few questions. My first is: Really? According to the Pentagon, 11 percent of the detainees released from Guantanamo Bay have returned to terrorist activities. Why would Amherst take the risk of encouraging detainees to come to here, even if they are cleared? An 11 percent chance of terrorist activities is a larger risk than I’m willing to take. Any chance above zero is a chance I’m not willing to take. It’s one thing if these selectpeople are proponents of released detainees being allowed to return to their normal lives. But I think they’re just out to make a statement. They could be putting innocent lives in danger for their politics. What if one of these welcomed detainees made a terrorist attack here?. Why would we want to go out of our way as a community to take this risk?

I guess none of us should be surprised that Amherst’s leaders felt the need to get on a soap box and call attention to how far leftist the town is, though. This isn’t the first time the town’s select board has wrongly thought that the townspeople care about their thoughts on foreign affairs. At town meetings in the past, according to, Amherst selectpeople have “debated and approved resolutions such as urging the United States to use diplomacy and avoid military action against Iran, opposing genocide in the Darfur region of the Sudan, calling for the withdrawal of troops from Iraq and to impeach then-President George W. Bush and then-Vice President Richard B. Cheney.”

Who do these people think they are, voting on foreign affairs or the impeachment of President Bush? Their opinion on these matters is about as important as Paris Hilton’s. Normally, I just wouldn’t care about the circus these people are making to feel important, but now their actions may have real life consequences. The decision they are making to have Guantanamo Bay detainees come to Amherst is not the same charade it was by supporting the impeachment of President Bush. This vote may affect the lives of everyone here for the worse.

Sometimes liberals simply take their ideals too far. I think this is a prime example. They opposed to people being held at Guantanamo Bay and they want to prove it so much that they are willing to put the people of Amherst in jeopardy. It’s ridiculous, but it really isn’t much more ridiculous than closing Guantanamo in the first place.

President Obama originally said he would close the prison by Jan. 22, 2010, but some reports indicate that it will not be possible for all the inmates to be removed by that time because nobody in their right mind wants them. Our allies don’t want them and the states don’t want them in their jails or their communities – besides Amherst.  

People can argue that some percentage of individuals at Guantanamo are innocent and that may be true. But that doesn’t justify releasing all of them. The people in charge of Guantanamo clearly can’t tell who is a terrorist and who isn’t based on the percentage released detainees who have returned to terrorism. Let’s not risk making another mistake with the detainees they want to send to Amherst. There are no benefits to doing so. It’s a needless risk.

Alex Perry is a Collegian columnist. He can be reached at [email protected]


10 Responses to “Not in my backyard”

  1. Scientific Nature of the Whammy on November 2nd, 2009 1:18 pm

    So, according to the amazing Mr. Perry, the people of the United States have no capacity for intellectual thought whatsoever and the only people with any right to talk about these things are the ones elected BY the people in Congress.

    After all, we’re about as important as Paris Hilton, right? In that vein, Alex, you should not have bothered with writing this article at all. Your logic is confusing at best.

    The fact of the matter is, the residents of the town of Amherst have decided to speak up about the things they deem more important and have actually passed resolutions about those things. This is already much more than what the idiots from both parties could only hope to accomplish in several terms.


  2. Alex Perry on November 2nd, 2009 7:03 pm

    “So, according to the amazing Mr. Perry, the people of the United States have no capacity for intellectual thought whatsoever and the only people with any right to talk about these things are the ones elected BY the people in Congress.”

    Nah thats not it at all. Its just that the town officials of Amherst have no business whatsoever voting on resolutions to impeach president Bush and to stay out of Iran.

    That isn’t their place. They can discuss it and have an opinion on it, quite frankly i hope they are educated and have an opinion… but keep it amongst your colleagues. Dont drag the wohle town down with the political ideals of a few leftists… which is what they are trying to do bringing these detainees here.

    leave foreign affairs to government and military officials. If people dont like what they are doing, vote for a new administration next election.


  3. Michael Foley on November 2nd, 2009 8:21 pm

    Considering that Bush (and Obama, and Reagan, etc.) are the SERVANTS of myself, you, Paris Hilton, the town officials of Amherst, etc. we have every right to condemn them for doing what we consider wrong.


  4. chris russell on November 2nd, 2009 10:18 pm

    amherst town officials do have the power to invite foreigners who have been cleared by the government to come live in town. thats a local matter.


  5. Sam on November 3rd, 2009 2:03 am

    So it is not our place to want to do something about gross misconduct of the government? We simply have to wait 2 or 4 years to do something about it? I just can’t believe you have the audacity to believe that the common man is completely irrelevant as far as how his country is run.

    In my opinion, comments like yours only go to prove how far removed we are from the ideals that the “patriotic” blindly believe whenever they accept mainstream media and history from textbooks as fact.

    If that’s the case, then, as Thomas Jefferson once said, “A little rebellion now and then is a good thing and as necessary in the political world as storms in the physical.”


  6. Zack on November 3rd, 2009 10:53 am

    Personally I am torn on the issue of whether to let the detainees come to Amherst, however, the referendum by the Amherst town committee was a laughable attempt to draw national attention to what is quite possibly one of the most radical, unrealistic towns in the entire country.


  7. Zack on November 3rd, 2009 10:55 am

    I also think its comical that many of you who trash on Mr. Perry’s article are saying that the government works for us, which is very true, but then you very quickly turn around and trash Glenn Beck, and other conservatives/libertarians who want some accountability from this administration.


  8. Sam on November 3rd, 2009 1:13 pm

    What do you mean from THIS administration? There was ZERO accountability from the Bush administration.


  9. Sam on November 3rd, 2009 1:14 pm

    Hahah, I mean, the Vice President shot a judge in the FACE and nothing happened!


  10. Mike on November 5th, 2009 3:02 pm

    Let’s not dwell in the mistake of the past, or we will be doomed to repeat them. Stop asking, “Should we do something?” and actually take action.


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