WSV’s Charles Thomas writes, “Denial is considered an unhealthy defense mechanism while suppression is considered healthy. Sure, you could sit around all day and ponder the inevitability of death, but thanks to suppression, most of us are able to put that nasty little detail out of our minds and do the dishes, mow the lawn or write the column. But the denial of death, on the other hand, can lead to people making risky decisions or living what Plato called ‘an unexamined life.’ When it comes to defense mechanisms, it’s important to make the healthy choice.”

WSV Columnist Amy East writes, “In researching my own genealogy, I’ve found a number of ancestors who fought for the idea that all men were created equal in the American Revolution, and some that owned slaves. The movement of my ancestors to Cass County was very near to the time the Potawatomi were forcibly removed. Were they involved? I don’t know. Did they benefit? Without a doubt. But just because this knowledge might make me uncomfortable, or challenge how I’d like to see myself, it doesn’t mean it’s wrong. When you ask ‘what did you learn that you didn’t know before?’ you don’t get to choose if that knowledge aligns with your worldview. That’s the cost of curiosity, my friend.”

Michigan Advance’s Susan J. Demas writes, “We’ve rethought a lot of our ideas about conservation since Yellowstone was established as the nation’s first national park in 1872. Roads were built everywhere to accommodate travelers, often with little regard for the lands that were supposed to be protected. Wildlife was fed for visitors’ amusement, but we’ve sadly learned the toll that’s taken on the parks’ first inhabitants. Stemming the flow of visitors in our busiest parks is a win-win for the environment and weary travelers who will have more space to revel in their majesty.”

Michigan Advance’s Jarvis DeBerry writes, “(Republican lawmakers) don’t think officially recognizing June 19, 1865, the day Black people in Texas learned of their freedom, costs them anything or that it benefits Black people enough for them to get worked up about. Acknowledging Juneteenth definitely doesn’t mean as much as police reform, voting rights, a higher minimum wage, Medicaid expansion or other policies that Black people have been demanding.”

WSV’s Charles Thomas writes, “I know a lot of people my age often talk about how contemporary music isn’t as good as it was when they were younger, but that hasn’t been my impression. There’s still a lot of great music being made in 2021. What has struck me, though, as I compare the music of my youth to the music of today is the general lack of musicianship in today’s popular music. I’ve sampled dozens of popular songs in the last few weeks and I’ve been struck by the total and complete lack of songs featuring a guitar solo, or any instrumental solo for that matter.”

WSV’s Aundrea Sayrie writes, “One gets weary. Not including last week, Newsweek reports that an additional 181 Black people have been murdered at the hands of police since George Floyd, and it hasn’t been a year. When Derek Chauvin’s verdict was read last week, I did not rejoice. I did not feel excitement of any sort. I was in total shock witnessing the anomaly of accountability of a police officer. This never happens.”

WSV’s Beca Welty writes, “February in southwest Michigan might seem like an impossible time to enjoy your favorite meal on the deck of your ideal restaurant, but Martell’s in Kalamazoo has transformed that dream into a reality. Like a few of their sister restaurants in the Millennium group, Martell’s has installed cozy igloos for outdoor dining, and I was one of the lucky few to indulge in the experience.”