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05-28-1999, 02:22 PM
Why is there a Holocaust Memorial Museum in the USA (D.C.)?
1. The holocaust did not take place in the USA.
2. The victims were not US citizens. Sure, some of the survivors later immigrated to the US, but so did other victims of the war from other countries (France, England, Poland, etc).
3. The US did not take part in it. The US entered the war for other reasons before the holocaust started. The only way the US was involved in the holocaust was because their fighting helped end the holocaust and free the victims. Although, it has been speculated that if the US had not entered the war, there wouldn't have been a holocaust.

Thus, it seems like a strange event for the US to memorialize. It seems like holocaust memorials belong in Europe and Israel, but not the USA. Is there any other memorial in the US dedicated to non-US citizens whose hardships occured in foreign countries? I can't think of any.

If the US is going to memorialize holocaust victims, why not memorialize the other victims of WW2 (French, English, Slavic, Chinese,...)? Why not memorialize the South East Asians who suffered in the Vietnam war? I don't see a difference.

05-28-1999, 02:31 PM
Why not? Are there rules for setting up a museum? I thought it was whoever had the dough to build it, they built it.

05-28-1999, 02:38 PM
Most likely because the US has a very large Jewish population. I've **heard** (that means I can't substantiate it ;) ) that the US has a larger Jewish population than Isreal does. Anyone out there confirm or deny that? I'm getting ready to go up north and am too lazy to do any kind of net search on the issue (hey, just being honest). Besides that, why not have a museum to remind all peoples what a tragic and horrible the Holocaust was?

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Carpe Diem!

05-28-1999, 02:40 PM
Ever heard the saying "Those who do not remember history are doomed to repeat it"?
There are a lot of people in the U.S. who need to be informed about the horrors of the Holocaust who will not have oppurtunities to examine Yad Vashem (That's the one in Isreal, which I toured) or any of the sites in Europe. (And recall, being Jewish does not preclude one from being French, English, Slavic, etc.) I believe something on the order of 6 million Jews (and others) were killed during a relatively small time frame. One may argue that if there is a memorial to victems of the Holocaust, there should be memorials/museums for the victems of various other atrocities. You may be right, but the absence of interest/funding for others does not make it less appropriate/desirable to have this one.

05-28-1999, 02:42 PM
.. thing... a tragic and horrible THING the Holocaust was. Whoops!

Cheese, where did you hear that thing about the Holocaust not happening if the US hadn't entered the war? I haven't heard that before. It seems that Hitler had already started the persecution of Jews with the resultant camps and killings long before the US was involved.

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Carpe Diem!

05-28-1999, 02:47 PM
Good question.

I can think of two reasons.

First, people like Simon Wiesenthal (sp?) have done an excellent job of educating people about the Halocaust. The promise to not let people forget, has been well kept.

Second, The American Jewish community is reasonably influencial and civicly active. They readily contribute to causes that are important to them.

The Cambodian, Central African, and Albanians communities in America do not have the similar numbers or wherewithall to bring that kind of attention to their past suffering.

I must say however, that I wouldn't be surprised to see a memorial to the victems of 1915 in Fresno, where there's a large Armenian community. There's probably a famine memorial somewhere in one of the Irish-American neighborhoods on the East Coast.

05-28-1999, 03:00 PM
I agree, but I also think that the Holocaust is a reminder of the degree and breadth of evil that mankind can visit upon it itself, and it should be remembered for that reason, regardless of the ethnicity or religion of the victims, and regardless of where it occurred. And I think many believe it merits special remembrance because of its enormity, in terms of the number of people killed and the ways in which they were killed.

My understanding of the history of World War II is that the removal of Jews and other "undesirables" was well under way before the Americans joined the war in late 1942. Like BunnyGirl, I would be interested to hear about the theory that holds that the Holocaust would not have occurred if the Americans had not intervened.

05-28-1999, 03:32 PM
I agree with all of you. I think there should be a Holocaust Memorial Museum in all the countries in the world, to remind us of the atrocities and horrors commited. To think it was human beings, just ordinary boys who took part in it is apalling. I once saw a television show where an army officer said, "give me a boy, any boy, and I will turn him into a killing machine".

There are actually people who think it all a lie, a hoax. We need this reminder so it will never happen again!

Unfortunably it does...

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05-28-1999, 03:47 PM
Unfourtunately, I don't have the census data in front of me, but I am fairly certain that the US has the largest Jewish population in the world. Yes larger than Isreal even. This point is the most likely reason for the propensity of memorials in the US. Not to mention that fact that Americans love Memorials, Museums and the like. We haven't had enough history to realize that remembering every aspect is fruitless and impossible. If China and Italy etc. had memorials remembering every notable event in their history you likely wouldn't be able to walk through town without bumbing into one.

The fact that still stands is that this memorial is one that deserves all the respect and reverence it can get. Regardless of curcumstance there should be a international memorial to assure that it doesn't occur again.

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The facts expressed here belong to everybody, the opinions to me. The distinction is
yours to draw...

Omniscient; BAG

05-28-1999, 04:09 PM
- - - Every now and then somebody tries to erect a monument at one of the "gas chamber" camps, and somebody else protests, for one reason or another. The last time I read, I *think* it was a cross being erected, and Jews (?) protested. Search newspaper archives.
-
- There is an old fellow that lives nearby, who has the numbers tattooed in his arm from when he was a prisoner in a German POW camp.

05-28-1999, 04:27 PM
Since judaism is a religion/belief system and not necessarily an ethincity or racial category there's no reason why one shouldn't be in the US. I know "why not?" seems like a pretty smart-alecky answer to a "why?" question but the US does have a significant jewish population.

05-28-1999, 04:38 PM
In case someone has not noticed, there are many people and organized groups afoot these days seeking to deny the holocaust ever happened. Their motives are many and varied, but I say any tragedy of this magnitude cannot be denied by men, or forgotten in the least. Holocaust memorials are a simple way of putting the evidence on display for all to see. Questioning their existence in this, or any other country belies an underlying attitude "is this stuff really important anymore?" to which I reply, Yes, your damn tootin' - your lives and the lives of your descendants may depend on it. Next time you hear "we didn't know" or "they were just following orders," just trot those people over to D.C. and take a look at what happened as a result of the very kind of national apathy your question betrays.

05-28-1999, 04:43 PM
The most memorable, touching, important thing I personally have ever seen is the obelisk outside of Auswichtz that says, simply, "Never Forget." I don't care why the Holocaust Museum is in the U.S., but I think it's an honor that it is.

05-28-1999, 06:41 PM
Um, "Never Again." It says "Never Again."

05-28-1999, 07:24 PM
(A) I feel there should be museums to this sort of thing simply because it should be remembered.
(B) Given that I am Polish, I have a bit of interest in what happened to the people of Poland during WWII, Holocaust included. Also, a great number of non-Jews died in the Holocausts including Catholics, homosexuals and Communists.
(C) US involvement in WWII had nothing to do with the Holocaust. Hitler had announced the 'Final Solution' and opened the camps long before 1942. In my opinon, one of the great shames of the Allied forces is that they did nothing much to stop the Holocaust from occuring, and it ended as a result of Germany's fall, not as a goal of the war.
(D) I remember a Jewish friend of mine telling me once that at least some Jewish people prefer the term Shoah to Holocaust. The reasoning being that holocaust refers to a holy sacrifice made by fire, whereas Shoah is a Hebraic word meaning 'to obliviate'. Any one else know of this? On the other hand, it also struck me as a deeply personal term and I'd hesitate to use it in conversation, which seems about the same to me as wishing someone 'Happy Hannukah'.

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"I guess it is possible for one person to make a difference, although most of the time they probably shouldn't.

05-28-1999, 07:29 PM
You know what? There's a Slovak History Museum in some G-d-forsaken place in the mid-West-- Oklahoma or something. I know this, because my mother was one of the Slovak/English interpreters when it opened. I have a photo of her standing in between Pres. Clinton, and the president of Slovakia.

I am willing to bet there are more Jews in the US than Slovaks.

(Yes, there are slightly more Jews in the US than in Israel, however, Jews make just about 3% of the US population, and more than 85% of the population of Israel.)

And there is a museum of African art in the US. And the last time I checked very nearly all of what is on disply at the Museum of Natural History in DC originated outside the US. Maybe the Smithsonian should disassmble the Egyptian exhibit, not to mention the rocks and gems-- most of those diamonds are imports.

Who said there are no stupid questions?


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--Rowan

05-28-1999, 07:44 PM
I gotta take umbrage with this one.

(C) US involvement in WWII had nothing to do with the Holocaust. Hitler had announced the 'Final Solution' and opened the camps long before 1942. In my opinon, one of the great shames of the Allied forces is that they did nothing much to stop the Holocaust from occuring, and it ended as a result of Germany's fall, not as a goal of the war.

I'm sorry and I know your heart is in the right place, but it is absurd to say that the Allied didn't do much to stop the Holocaust. Fact is there was nothing that could be done short of ending the war. And unlike in todays media saturated society the common American, and likely any Allied state, had very little knowledge of what went on there. Not to mention that at that most of the Eurpoean countries were pretty conserned about not being wiped off the map. I don't think you can fault countries for putting their survival above that of the Jews. Especially considering that if they didn't assure themselves of survival Germany would have won and the Jews would be in a rough spot.

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The facts expressed here belong to everybody, the opinions to me. The distinction is yours to draw...

Omniscient; BAG

05-28-1999, 07:45 PM
I gotta take umbrage with this one.

(C) US involvement in WWII had nothing to do with the Holocaust. Hitler had announced the 'Final Solution' and opened the camps long before 1942. In my opinon, one of the great shames of the Allied forces is that they did nothing much to stop the Holocaust from occuring, and it ended as a result of Germany's fall, not as a goal of the war.

I'm sorry and I know your heart is in the right place, but it is absurd to say that the Allied didn't do much to stop the Holocaust. Fact is there was nothing that could be done short of ending the war. And unlike in todays media saturated society the common American, and likely any Allied state, had very little knowledge of what went on there. Not to mention that at that most of the Eurpoean countries were pretty conserned about not being wiped off the map. I don't think you can fault countries for putting their survival above that of the Jews. Especially considering that if they didn't assure themselves of survival Germany would have won and the Jews would be in a rough spot.

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The facts expressed here belong to everybody, the opinions to me. The distinction is
yours to draw...

Omniscient; BAG

05-28-1999, 09:01 PM
I'm sorry and I know your heart is in the right place, but it is absurd to say that the
Allied didn't do much to stop the Holocaust. Fact is there was nothing that could be done short of ending the war.


Ok, I'll say this and then stop because I'm getting off topic.

What I meant by that statement was that the concentration camps, train lines for transporting Jews, etc where not considered to be targets of much importance during the Allied attacks. We knew where many of these camps were, but we weren't fighting the war to save Jewish lives, we were fighting it to stop German aggression. An excellent idea, I admit, but it's not the same thing. I don't argue that the preservation of your country comes first, but I have to roll my eyes when someone says we fought WWII because of the Holocaust. The camps that we took were taken more or less because they were on German held territory, not because we were heading there to save Jews. We *did* know what was going on. Hitler made no attempts to hide the fact that he was trying to remove the Jewish population although I will admit we didn't realize the entire situation until later. But the Nuremburg Laws were passed in 1935. In 1939, Hitler publicly announced that "the result.. [will be] the annihilation of the Jewish race of Europe." It's not as if we had no clues as to what was going on. The end result is much like the American Civil War. Yes, the slaves were freed which was a good thing no matter what, but saying the North fought the war because of slavery is foolishly inaccurate. Although, I guess it does make it sound more noble when taught in 5th grade history.

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"I guess it is possible for one person to make a difference, although most of the time they probably shouldn't.

05-28-1999, 09:22 PM
Papa, can't compare Armenians who were killed by Turks and a famine in Ireland. As far as a museum goes, I don't know who said "Those who don't know know history are doomed to repeat it". But all great leaders are historians. Therefore, museums!

05-28-1999, 09:38 PM
Most Irishmen would beg to differ, Popokis5. Read up on the famine of '45 and you may have a different opinion on the matter. It's not a good idea to insist that one people's holacaust is somehow less painful than another's.

05-29-1999, 09:13 AM
In addition to the points made above, it should be remembered that a huge number of Holocaust survivors emigrated to the U.S. after the war.

On the question of whether the U.S. or other nations could have done more to stop the Holocaust, that's a difficult question. It used to be argued, for instance, that if the Pope had spoken out, Hitler would have stopped. I think that the last few years -- Milsoevic and Kosovo, among others -- have shown us that such murderous tyrants don't really give a rats-ass what the Pope or President or other world leaders say. It would still have been a nice gesture if the Pope had spoken out against Hitler, but it most likely wouldn't have had any impact.

The fact is that the lesson of "NEVER AGAIN" has not been learned. There have been many genocides since: Cambodia, Rwanda, Bosnia, and Kosovo, among others. It saddens me greatly to realize that people can still be so depraved and cruel... a petty dictator can still rouse up murderous hatreds and massacres.

05-29-1999, 10:46 AM
It was not until mid-1940 that Hitler actually decided on his "final solution" for the "Jewish problem." One idea being considered as late as early 1940 (proposed by one Werner Rademacher) was to send all European Jews to the Island of Madagascar.
The 4 Einsatzgrupen (death squads) had been operating for many months before Hitler and his henchmen realized that particular method (mass execution by firing squads) was extremely inefficient, and they were troubled by reports the executions were taking a terrible psychic toll on the soldiers responsible for carrying them out.
The death camp plan was designed partially as a "humane" (for the executioners) way to kill people.

05-29-1999, 11:10 AM
As far as Washington goes, there WERE two available plots of land left facing the Capitol Mall. Lots of thought went into what to put there. It was eventually decided (@ 20 years ago) that a "Holocaust" museum and a "Native American" museum would be most appropriate.
Construction on the latter begins soon, and hopefully it will be as much of a distinctive architectural triumph as the Holocaust Museum is (say what you will, it's an amazing building). When the Native American Museum is completed, the Capitol Mall will be full.
Like most museums, both are/were set up with a blend of government and "private" funds, which includes corporate endowments and foundation grants etc.

jodih: :) (never again/never forget) ... that reminded me of that old Steve Martin bit, where he talks about the most important thing he learned from his yogi, the wisdom of which he carries with him every day ... "He said: 'Always - ' oh, wait, it was: 'Never ...' "

05-29-1999, 11:27 AM
I haven't been on the East Coast in a while, so I haven't visited the Holocaust Museum. Does it confine its exhibits to those dealing with the 1933-45 tragedy or does it also explore other attempted genocides?

In LA we have an excellent museum called the Museum of Intolerance. It deals with all aspects of hatred, and although the abominations of the Nazis are well covered, they are not the primary focus.

05-29-1999, 05:06 PM
It's a great museum, Papabear, but it's called the Museum of Tolerance, not the Museum of Intolerance. Eldest Son was eligible for extra credit points for visiting it on Spring Break during Seventh Grade. Very thought-provoking place.

-Melin

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I'm a woman phenomenally
Phenomenal woman
That's me
(Maya Angelou)

05-30-1999, 01:16 AM
To add to the difficulty of the question of this thread:

- The United States can hardly be said to have entered the Second World War on the grounds of moral outrage. If that were the case, the US would've declared war on Germany when the United Kingdom and other countries did. The fact remains that the US entered the war to punish Japan for the attack on Pearl Harbor.

- Even if the US did have a moral reason for its entry, that was negated by the mass imprisonment of United States citizens without trial solely based on their race.

05-30-1999, 08:58 AM
What I would like to know is following:

Is this museum stricly about the jewish holocost of Nazi Germany or is it also about the comunists, gypsis, homosecuals and just about every other minorety in Germany....

Also lets not forget the 17000000 citizens of Russia killed in the war.

"If you could grow sadness, Russia would be the fruitbasket of the world"



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Thor

05-30-1999, 11:48 AM
The museum addresses EVERY minority that was persecuted by the fascists, everywhere.
That includes the USSR. Though I would think that they are due for a little holocaust education of their own.

05-31-1999, 01:41 AM
it's a very good thing that everybody is represented in the museum.

But tell me this, why do you think the Russians need to educate their citizens on the Holocost?



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Thor

05-31-1999, 09:38 AM
You ask why, Thor? The following is a very siimple answer, so I hope the rest of the board's readers will bear with me here.

The Russians need to educate their citizens as to the facts of what happened during the Holocause but also what happened during the Soviet purges throughout the history of the Soviet Union.

The best example I can give is your postings on this board. You evidently get your "information" from certain state-controlled media in the former Soviet-controlled areas of Europe.

Yet, according to your profile here, you live in Iceland, a land with a long tradition of Democracy and Learning.

Your assertion that my statement above about moral outrage had something to do with the current conflict in Yugoslavia is weak at best. I made that statement to counter the prevalent, as I see it, mistaken opinion that the US entered the war because of the Holocaust.

The situation in Yugoslavia is the opposite. The rapes, killings, mass graves, forced deportations, forced separations of families, and so on, are already in the public eye.

NATO, to which YOUR COUNTRY also belongs and to whose plan in this case YOUR COUNTRY agreed to BEFORE THE UNITED STATES DID, has moral outrage on its side.

All the current government has on its side is two things: (1) an extremely prejudiced population as evidenced by the ease that this situation exists, and (2) a state-controlled media.

You live in a country which enjoys freedoms of speech, life, and liberty. Try to use those freedoms for something better than inane connections between events unrelated in time or place.

Any further comment I have on this particular issue will be in the BBQ Pit.

05-31-1999, 09:42 AM
Sorry folks, in addition to misspelling "Holocaust" above, I left out the bolded words below in my last posting above.

All the current government in Yugoslavia has on its side is two things: (1) an extremely prejudiced population as evidenced by the ease that this situation exists, and (2) a state-controlled media.

06-01-1999, 03:44 PM
Thanks for the responses to this difficult topic. Atrocities are hard to discuss without getting upset. In the interest of conversation, I will address some of the responses:

Archimedes, "One may argue that if there is a memorial to victims of the Holocaust, there should be memorials/museums for the victems of various other atrocities."

Right, that was my main point.

BunnyGirl, "I've heard the US has a larger Jewish population than Isreal does."

According to the CIA World Fact Book, http://www.odci.gov/cia/publications/factbook/country.html the Israel pop is 5.6 million and is 82% Jewish. The US pop is 270 million and is 2% Jewish, which is 5.4 million. So the Jewish pop is similar in Israel and the US.

Nickrz "is this stuff really important anymore? to which I reply, Yes, your damn tootin'".

This comes from Nickrz who complained about the Littleton shootings still being discussed only a month after they happened (see the thread in the BBQ pit). Do you want to remember the holocaust for generations but forget about Littleton a month later?

Jodih "Never Again."
What about the Khmer Rouge, Northern Ireland, Rwanda, Tibet? Are those atrocities going to happen again? Or don't they qualify for a museum in the USA.

Jophiel "US involvement in WWII had nothing to do with the Holocaust."
I think the US was a factor. The worst period was after the US entered, 1942-45. Most analysts say that conditions worsened after the US entered, sort of like what is happening in Kosovo now. Pacifists say that is one resason the US should not enter foreign wars.

RTA "The museum addresses EVERY minority that was persecuted by the fascists, everywhere."
OK, there were a few minority groups persecuted, and it was entirely in central Europe. What about the other people persecuted at other times/places (Khmer Rouge victims, Northern Ireland, Rwanda, Tibet)?

Rivkah Maccabi "forsaken place in the mid-West-- Oklahoma or something." Is Oklahoma the midwest? I consider it a South Central state. It's not the same as Wisconsin, Ohio, or the other fine, midwest states.

"Maybe the Smithsonian should disassmble the Egyptian exhibit, not to mention the rocks and gems-- most of those diamonds are imports."
Yes, that does seem to be the faulty reasoning that I am questioning. Why have only memorials to the holocaust in the US? What about memorials for the suffering other people have endured (Khmer Rouge victims, Northern Ireland, Rwanda, Tibet)? It is like having museums in the US that display only art/exhibits from one group of people.

"Who said there are no stupid questions?"
There aren't, only stupid answers.

06-01-1999, 07:24 PM
CHEESE HEAD -- The logic flaw in your last post appears to be a presumption that if we cannot or will not commemorate EVERY SINGLE genocidal event in recent history, then it's wrong to commemorate any. I strongly disagree with this. A memorial to victims of ANY genocide is, in a way, a memorial to the victims of ALL genocides, if it touches one human heart or educates one human mind about the inhumanity we, as a race, can visit upon one another. Just because no one has organized a memorial to Rwandan genocide (or pick the enormous mass-murder of your choice) doesn't mean that the Holocaust memorial is somehow inappropriate. Just because we have failed to light all possible candles doesn't mean we were wrong to light the candles we have.

06-02-1999, 02:06 AM
While I have no problem with a holocaust museum on U.S. soil as such, it does seem odd that there is no museum commemorating our atrocities. Why no slavery museum, Native American museum, etc.? This isn't to say we need to commemorate every single atrocity but I wonder if we Americans have an easier time with other peoples' crimes than our own.

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In this house we OBEY the laws of thermodynamics
__Homer Simpson

06-02-1999, 08:35 AM
"The Holocaust was an obscene period in our nation's history. I mean in this century's
history. But we all lived in this century. I didn't live in this century."
-- former Vice President Dan Quayle, 9/15/88

I hope having the museum in the USA doesn't confuse people like Quayle into thinking that it happened in the USA.

06-02-1999, 02:02 PM
Also, remember that we like to think of the Holocaust as an aberation. I'd have a difficult time making the arguement that it was really all that unique, but I think that is how it is perceived. No other great power has mechanized and dehumanized the process of slaughter the way the Nazis did. Other genocides were certainly more emotional and haphazard than the Holocaust.

In the 19th century, slavery, racism, and the opression of aboriginal peoples was NOT an aberation. The US was hardly any more guilty of these atrocities than was the rest of the industrialized world.

Not an excuse. Just a reason.

06-03-1999, 01:16 AM
Although, it has been speculated that if the US had not entered the war, there wouldn't have been a holocaust.

I have seen this speculated on the net at the Holocaust denial site I cited in the Pat Buchanan thread. Holocaust deniers do not deny that Jews were imprisoned in concentration camps, they deny that genocide was the goal. Their claim is that the Jews were only to be held there until they could be deported, not exterminated. They say that the Jews were well cared for, the very young, very old, and very sick were put in hospitals, not liquidated. And they say that people began to die of starvation or illness only after the Allies began bombing German supply lines cutting off food and medicine from the camps. Therefore, it's America's fault that anyone died in the camps.

Holocaust deniers are also deeply offended that there is a US museum commemmorating the holocaust and not "real" genocides. I sure hope this isn't what the OP was driving at.

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"I hope life isn't a big joke, because I don't get it," Jack Handy

06-03-1999, 01:41 AM
Frank said:

Why no slavery museum, Native American museum, etc.? This isn't to say we need to commemorate every single atrocity but I wonder if we Americans have an easier time with other peoples' crimes than our own.


Well, I can't speak on the Native American museum (however, someone else on this thread pointed out that one will be built in DC.), but as for not having a slavery museum, I have a few thoughts. First, the only museum I've ever seen deal with slavery was the National Civil Rights Museum in Memphis. (Wonderful place, btw. I felt the same way there as I did going through the Holocaust museum.) As for why it's not seen elsewhere, a few reasons. One, in my experience, some black people do not want that area of their history explored. Therefore, it's not covered. Second, in the museums I've been to in the south, slavery is covered as a fact of life, and that they just LOVED working on the plantations. I know this is incorrect, but it's the mentality of a lot of people there.



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"There is such a fine line between stupid and clever." -- David St. Hubbins, Spinal Tap