To the Editor:
I am only 14 years old, but today, Sunday, Jan. 21, my life was changed forever. I have lived in a sheltered world where the only real hatred and discrimination I see is on T.V. It never seemed real. But today I saw a group of people outside of the United States Air Force Academy carrying signs that read "God Hates Fags" and "AIDS Cure Fags." I couldn't believe that kind of hatred was taking place in my own front yard. I was amazed that people could carry that much venom. I was heartbroken.
Not only does this group hate gays, but they are convinced that God hates them too! But according to the New Testament, God loves everyone. Wasn't He the one whose own son washed Judas' feet? Forgave us for all of our sins? Was a friend to the friendless? Most true religions hold the belief that their God loves everyone.
My father sat me down and began to explain to me that this happens every day. He reminded me that we Americans have a constitutional right to freedom of speech, and should protest against what we see as wrongdoing. He reminded me that discrimination can be found everywhere, not just against gays or people of certain religions or races.
He told me that he wanted nothing more than for me to grow up and be a force for change against discrimination. He would like me to work as hard as I can to bring peace to the world, to take people like those I saw on the street and make them realize that in spite of differences, we are all humans.
This message goes out to all of you who have said you hate someone: Next time you look at someone and think that they are weird because they are different, remember that they are human. Realize that Matthew Sheppard was killed because of those kinds of discriminatory thoughts. Millions of Jewish people were murdered because of their religion. Black Americans were beaten because of the color of their skin. And people each day are made fun of merely because of the style of their clothes, or the way they talk. Just make yourself a better person and love everyone no matter how they look or act or seem, just as Jesus did.
As a young American of today's society, I am disgusted that religious people thought they were doing good by telling everyone how God hates people for being the way they are. If God really did hate gays, then would He even make them?
Freedom of speech is an important right in America, but expression of hatred is not what will bring our nation together. We all need to learn how to love one another. Perhaps [those demonstrators] should read [their] Bibles.
-- Morgan Weinert
Cure the illness of domestic violence
To the Editor:
Yes, the children are suffering in this day and age in America. But it's not because some bureaucracy fails to do its job, but because of us adults who have failed the children.
All too often we fail to take responsibility for our lives (and our children's), projecting responsibility onto the government. Thus, the government, at whatever level, encroaches more and more on our personal lives. This is easier, we think, as it's always easier to blame someone else and initiate a lawsuit (the American way) than take responsibility and solve whatever ourselves.
I sympathize with the Dunn tragedy ("Suffer the Children," Jan. 25), but the story is so familar now, I'm not sure even the networks would be interested in this story as a movie of the week as it's so commonplace.
Domestic violence has reached epidemic proportions in the United States. Why? What's wrong?
I think the biggest challenge is curing the illness, rather than, as usual, just treating the symptoms (and creating commerce in the process). The illness gets worse and worse in this country, but nobody seems to want to deal with it.
Isn't it time we start taking responsibility for our lives (and our children's) and stop blaming others?
Murder could have been prevented
To the Editor:
We are so accustomed to the government finding itself innocent of wrongdoing that we are not seeing the insidiousness of the trend. While the list of incidents, both national and local, could fill this newspaper, my heart is especially heavy about one: the murder of Aaren Dunn ("Suffer the Children," Jan. 25).
This murder was preventable. Aside from the fact that five reports were made against the father/murderer, the mother of Aaren and her sister Nadine tried desperately to convince the DHS and the courts that the girls were in danger living with this man. But the mother was dismissed as using wiles to get custody. Obviously, there is much more to this story. Why haven't we heard more about it before now? Could it be that it would be too damaging to the "powers that be"? Those are the powers that frighten me.
-- Julie Jamison
Texas Seven rant
To the Editor:
Yesterday (Jan. 24), on the Joseph Michelli Show on KVOR-AM 740, Michelli was all over Eric Singer saying what a local hero he is and how he should get a local man-of-the-year award. I have to ask WHY? What did he do that was so above and beyond his call-of-duty? The man is a local newscaster. He was doing his job. I'm sure Mr. Singer was sitting in a broadcast van across the street on a phone line with lots of cops with large guns and other protective devices all around him. He would've been brave if he had gone into the room with the two convicts.
Besides all that, the media is making these guys out to be the ultimate evil. Well, yes, they are bad and they did commit horrible crimes, but they are still just men. It's not like they are evil of the same caliber as a Manson or Bundy. What is the big deal of talking to them on the phone? They sounded like they were a few cards short of a full deck anyway! I certainly wouldn't call these guys criminal masterminds!
And, on a related tangent, why is this community freaking out so much over having these guys in town? OK, I will grant that they are bad and convicts on the run and all that, but are they going to take the whole town hostage? Did any of these people ever think about that we have really bad people walking around this town every single day? What about the guy who raped the one woman and assulted the other in Rockrimmon a couple of weeks ago? The community forgot about him. Well, he's already out on bail! That guy is walking around our streets, threatening our women! He's a threat to me as a woman and they let him out on bail! I should be scared to death! I am not, however, because I refuse to live in fear of the low-life scum of the world. Of course, I am careful and I know my surroundings, and I always act with caution when I'm out by myself, just as every self-respecting woman should.
Instead of this community being scared to death by some idiot criminals, we should all go home, get our nice friends Smith & Wesson, Berretta, and Winchester together and dare the f**kers (sorry, but it's appropriate) to threaten our lives! Oh, but I forgot, guns are evil and we should just wait for the cops to come and clean up our bloody, bullet-ridden bodies after the criminals leave.
OK, I feel better now.
-- Marian McNatt
Over the Internet
A liberal/conservative Democrat speaks up
To the Editor:
Daniel Arcelay's letter ("Harsh light on reality," Jan. 18) is harsh and dim, and reality doesn't visit his letter.
Mr. Arcelay uses a phrase, "rage of the ignorant." This implies that those who disagree with his views on the Florida debacle are ignorant. He uses other volitile phrases, such as "self absorbed, selfish and self serving," to demean those of us who believe something was horribly wrong in Florida -- that perhaps Al Gore did have the most votes there. We might never know what happened, but for Mr. Arcelay to dismiss the whole Florida mess, especialy with the flimsy proof he offered, could be construed as a rage of the ignorant, self absorbed, selfish, self serving and, dare I use the word, "conservative."
I do not know if what he said about the manufactures of those infamous voting machines is true, but I watched and listened to the inventor of those machines and he said that when those machines are jammed (as they were), votes were not counted. Concerning Mr. Arcelay's accusations that the Florida Supreme Court was partisan, could not others (including me) agree that the U.S. Supreme Court was equally as partisan? As a sometime liberal and conservative Democrat, I do indeed live in the harsh light of reality and the reality is, the people's choice lost and that, Mr Arcelay, ain't no sweet buffering of spin!
-- Phil Kenny
Payback time for the compassionate conservative
To the Editor:
It's payback time for President Bush to those supporting his election, even though it means that women worldwide will suffer.
One of the new president's first acts was to help religionists fulfill what they feel is their command to "multiply and fill the earth." Never mind that the current population of six-billion-plus already overflows our fragile world. Never mind that God gave humans brains as well as sex organs, so logically we should stop when the earth is full. President Bush hurried to issue the "Global Gag Rule" which affects family-planning efforts worldwide.
And never mind that this action is imperialistic by dictating laws in foreign lands. The legislation prohibits foreign recipients of funding from the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) from using their own money to perform legal abortions or even to advocate for abortion rights. USAID has been prohibited from funding abortions since 1973, so only methods of contraception are being ended. But now, even that money will be withheld if people in foreign nations dare to lobby their own governments to liberalize their abortion laws.
As usual, abortion is the red flag to hide the real goal of eliminating contraceptives, which some religionists consider sinful. Withholding contraceptives will force more women into a choice of unsafe, illegal abortions, which already kill thousands of women worldwide each year, or too many pregnancies spaced too close together, contributing to infant mortality, maternal mortality and economic hardship.
The United Nations reports that at least 120 million women would avoid pregnancy if they had access to effective contraception, yet our Republican Congress has been trying to cut funding for family-planning ever since they took control. In a 1998 letter to Republican legislators in Congress and Republican Governors, James Dobson listed the defunding of Planned Parenthood as his first priority of what he wanted them to accomplish. He knows full well that abortion constitutes only a fraction of that organization's operation, with contraception their main objective.
How ironic that our new president, who campaigned as a man of compassion, cares nothing for the suffering of women. Instead, he panders to those with an archaic, superstitious notion that contraception is evil.
-- Janet Brazill