To the editor:
I would like to use your platform to respond to the recent letter from Larry French in which he addressed me personally.
Mr. French, it’s good to see there’s much upon which we can agree:
• Nothing – no matter whose political views Conner Betts, or any other mass murderer, aligned himself with – makes his crime any less terrible.
• The mental health system in the U.S. is lacking and needs to be improved.
• All kinds of people commit murder.
• We must enforce our current laws.
• The education system needs to be improved.
• Parents should receive help to do a better job of raising their children.
• The drug addiction problems need to be addressed.
Here is where we disagree, have a different perspective or where I’ve simply expanded upon what you said:
• Regarding the issue of assault weapons, why should average citizens have access to them?
• Many people suffer from mental health issues, women as well as men, people all over the world, yet it’s the U.S. that leads by far in the number of mass murders committed by men. The same is true for video games; they are not the problem.
• By enforcing our current laws, I assume that includes Roe v. Wade which protects a woman’s right to choose what to do with her own body, as well as laws in many parts of the country which recognize gay marriage.
• Improve the education system by raising teachers’ salaries, ensuring smaller class sizes and preparing students to be citizens of a global community whose responsibility it is to protect our planet.
• Local people should not decide but play a role in educating students about regional history and economics; however, it is only by adhering to national standards that students from different areas of the country will be competitive.
• Help parents do a better job of raising their children by providing maternity and paternity leave after the birth or adoption of a child, offer resources to low income families and single parents in the form of affordable quality day and after school care. Make health care affordable.
And here are a few clarifications and caveats:
• Pro-choice does not mean pro-abortion or pro-death; neither I nor anyone I know would advocate for aborting all children.
• With regard to my grandparents’ immigration status, it’s not so much about “legal” versus “illegal,” as it is about moral and humane versus inhumane. What Hitler did was “legal;” to oppose him was “illegal.” Moreover, when my grandparents came to Ellis Island, all immigrants were “legal;” the only criteria influencing admission was an individual’s health.
• Truthful press is in the eye of the beholder, what can’t be disputed are the words coming out of a person’s mouth. Additionally, facts are facts.
• I wrote my letter as a private citizen of Park County, not as a representative of any organization. I imagine that you too, have certain allegiances or affiliations which help frame your political, social and, perhaps, religious views. It is your right, as it is mine, not to be reduced to labels or stereotypes associated with those groups when voicing our positions.
Finally, we obviously represent two very different points of view, Mr. French, and are not likely going to change each other’s opinions with regard to some fundamental issues. Aren’t we fortunate, then, to have a local newspaper that prints all sides and gives its readers an opportunity to engage in healthy debates?
The challenge is keeping it civil because, as you suggested, our problems are best solved with the help of our neighbors and community.
(s) Harriet bloom-wilson