The rest of the story – cleaning up hazardous waste

To the Editor:

In response to “Would-be robbers weighed down in attempt to get the lead out” [January 2], in the episode of attempting to clean hazardous waste on property, when at the time of the confrontation and arrest there was not one, single “No Trespassing” sign, I’d like to say that there are two sides to every story. This article, in my opinion clearly has a tone of bullying and denotes a small example of the sad state of our country’s affairs of the One percent who clearly don’t have to follow the rules.

It certainly seems unfair Ross Gannon was given a voice in this episode, when the two “would-be robbers” were not. The article stated that Mr. Gannon in his comment as he approached the two was one of wanting to know if he could help them. According to my interview, the men arrested both said Mr. Gannon’s approaching question to them was, “Are you planning to pay me for that lead?”

Immediately, the young men apologized and remarked they were only trying to rid Martha’s Vineyard of hazardous waste that was being openly stored in what they thought was abandoned property, as there were no signs posted. (Interestingly enough, a week later, there are signs). The young men were open, honest, and very apologetic when they were approached by Mr. Gannon, who, as we all know, is a well to do man on this Island.

Lead does not sell for a dollar a pound. It sells for about 30 cents. I love how this is such an example of bullying. This is hardly a profit making venture, considering the time, effort, labor and transportation cost.

How did we get here? How is it okay for someone like Mr. Gannon to report to the news his side of the story, which is not the entire truth? How is it his property is allowed to have a thousand pounds or more of solid lead stored openly in a residential area or would-be construction zone abutting residents and homes of children? How is it there were no No Trespassing signs posted on this property at the time these young men were discovered? For all these young men knew, it could have been town owned, Land Bank, or abandoned. There are many people out of work, barely have enough money to buy food, looking to do what they can for their families.

Did these young men commit a crime, or were they just innocently ignorant and eager to do several things: 1) clean up lead in our neighborhoods, and 2) perhaps get through a very tough winter on the Island?

In my interview, these men are not being charged by Mr. Gannon, but by the Tisbury police. I have to ask, “Really?”

As a taxpayer in this town and long-time resident, I would think we could work a little harder to arrest the real bad guys.

Another question, “Where is our board of health?”

Kelly Wheeler

Vineyard Haven