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Re. Monahans article

Hi All,

So far everyone seems very restrained about this article... well, I'm sorry,
but I'm not going to be. Someone has to say something in defence of the many,
unseen "little people" on this list who have been insulted by the references
in the article in question.

But first of all, I have to say that the subject of the auction itself is so
far over my head - the politics, personal issues, legal ins and outs, the
fairtyale figures, all of it is just *so* not a part of my life that I can
dismiss it. For God's sake, just sort yourselves out, okay? This is a
dreadful, shameful mess, very sloppy, and reflects very badly on us as a
community. I share Julia's concerns. It's worrying, as she points out, that
meteorites and investment are joined at the hip in the article... don't want
to, but I have to say "I told you so" and people argued against it. Okay, WE
know they're NOT a good investment, but people with money to spare aren't
going to know that, and are going to scan articles like this in their papers
and on the net and just see the $$$$$$ signs and go in search of meteorites of
their own. That will suit the big dealers just fine, maybe that's just what
they want, but it will mean there'll never be a hope in hell of all us little
guys adding to our collections, because it'll become a chain reaction, a
buying frenzy: the genuinely rare pieces will go first, as they have the
largest prices, and then investors' attentions will turn to "what's left", and
eventually even pieces of Canyon Diablo and Sikhote Alin etc will be priced
beyond the range of beginning or even modest collectors. 

I'm also concerned and distressed about the way we will be portrayed in future
- as greedy, etc - because that's just not fair! I've made so many friends on
this List since joining, several people have been outstandingly generous to me
- and they know who they are - so I recoil from the word "greed" because it
only applies, I think, to a very few people. But it's been used, and will be
used again, so I think that we really, really should consider some sort of
response to the article, or ask for a right of reply, I'm not sure which would
be best. 

Call me naive, but I can't help feeling very sad about this. This whole thing
should have been a classic "meteorite fairy tale": kids find meteorites, get
shafted by local govt, public stand beside them and they win... meteorite
becomes famous and community gains... instead we have this whole "greed" thing
taking over, creeping over us and our dealings with each other like some
escaped martian lifeform ( :-)  ) and we look like a bunch of money-obsessed
fanatics. There's a lot of jealousy, personal dislike, indignation and
discomfort here which I don't pretend - and have no desire - to understand. I
just know that there's something... I don't know... "grubby" about this. 

As for the poor, innocent meteorite itself - oh my god yes, that's right,
there IS a meteorite at the heart of this story! - well, it sounds like it
could be special, with those crystals and all, and we should be filling our
postings with discussions about its structure, appearance and origins - you
know, stuff about meteorites..? As for its contamination, well, I've been
following both sides of this argument, ducking as each accusation whistles
over my head, but I'm in no position to comment on if it's been damaged or
contaminated or not because I wasn't there and haven't seen the pictures yet
cos I've been to busy with my REAL life to check them out. If it has been
damaged in any way then that's a great, great shame, and the people
responsible for that damage should be ashamed and remind themselves just how
important these wonderful things are. Damage - to the meteorite for the sake
of a good photo must be considered a crime against science, surely? 

And one sentence leapt out at me: "Scientifically there's a limit to its
value." WHAT?? Did I really just read that??? What "limit" is this? I thought
we were all being told how rare and exciting it was, and how the blue crystals
are exceptional... who knows what we might learn from studying this meteorite,
what questions it might answer? What new questions it might pose? Is there a
"scientific limit" to the value of the lunar rocks brought back by the Apollo
crews? (See ya Al, take care Out  There... and thanks...!) Would there be a
limit to the scientific value of samples returned from Mars? Has the limit of
the "scientific value" of the Viking, Voyager and Galileo images been reached
yet? Should we just throw out all the unprocessed data? Good grief... I really
can't believe I read that... 

But what has REALLY annoyed me is the article's derogatory reference to
meteorite collectors, specifically the less financially secure collectors.
Maybe this is a veiled personal attack on just a couple of people but I don't
care, it tars us all with the same brush. How dare he say that! Damn, what
business is it of *anyone's* how much money someone else makes? I'm well aware
that there are some people on this list who I would consider to be VERY
wealthy, but I haven't read any postings from them bragging about that. Me, I
earn next to nothing for a crummy job, so I value the few meteorites I posess
even more because I've sweated for them, personally. I admit it, I don't have
two nickels to rub together, and the only way I could afford to bid in the
"auction" would be if a) I won the Lottery this weekend, b) an SNC fell in my
backyard, tonight, or c) I rubbed at that dusty old oil lamp on the shelf over
there and saw purple smoke start to come out. But that doesn't mean I'm not
allowed to give an opinion!! Just because I don't earn big bucks doesn't mean
I'm not allowed to voice my comments on and concern over this issue! (Hey,
Art, maybe access to the List should be permitted only to those who can prove
they earn over a certain amount? Or maybe after running  a Credit Check? What
do you think?) I may have missed something here, but if that *is* the case,
then does the fact that I scan the aisles at my local store looking for items
with "Reduced" stickers on mean I'm not allowed to join in conversations about
such things as food safety, world hunger or disarmament? Last time I checked
the size of your bank balance didn't dictate the level of your participation
in democratic discussions. Duh. Stoopid me.

Sorry if you think I'm ranting but... well, no, actually I'm not sorry, not at
all, I'm very annoyed about this. How much money I earn is no-one's business.
Just because I can't afford to bid in the auction doesn't mean I can't express
an opinion about it, just the same as I can moan about CD prices even if I
can't afford one. 

Anyway, that's how I feel. Feel free to write and condemn me for over-
reacting, I'll live with it. 

I just feel like I need a shower right now.

Stuart A 

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