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Bravo Linda Stansberry ("Not Even From Around Here," Aug. 25). You hit the nail on the head and, sheepishly, I felt that you were talking directly at me. When selling our Mattole Valley property a few years ago, one potential buyer was of Eastern European descent. Gold capped teeth, gold chains around the neck, this muscle bound man was accompanied by two "friends." Different? You bet. Threatening? Maybe in my mind. AK-47s? Nary a one. Offered a cash deal, "I couldn't refuse?" Sadly no; not enough secluded land for his purposes.

Have I been guilty of telling the story of my "Bulgarian" as part of a movement taking over? Sadly, yes. Your poignant recollection that all nationalities have been outsiders at one time or another rings true. Our basic instincts to mistrust those who are not like us is deep seated. It developed out of necessity and is based on a need for family and tribal survival.

I fear that many of us are closer to those ancient roots than we would like to admit. In an era where fear mongering wins votes and garners attention, when uncertainty is prevalent, we tend to circle the wagons and hunker down. Is it right or wrong to do so? Hindsight is a good guide, but situations in the moment don't benefit from the long view back. I expect that suspicion is part of our nature but needs to be tempered with trust in the future.

Thanks again for a very timely and thought provoking piece.

Stephen Avis, Ferndale

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