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Everybody's Column

Dealing with bullying must be high priority

Marian Wright Edelman wrote, "If we don't stand up for children, then we don't stand for much." In mourning Jamey Rodemeyer's tragic death, let us acknowledge society's failure to reduce the increasing ravage of youth bullying.

Resources must be devoted to overcome it. Parents, families and schools need to identify how to effectively deal with the youth-bullying epidemic in their communities. Children now have communication advantages of personal cellphones, Internet and burgeoning social media. However, those can also be used for anonymous, intimidating bullying.

Talking and counseling are helpful in dealing with suicide, but much more is needed to overcome youthful bullying. Students who bully should face restrictions, losing privileges until abandoning that behavior.

As a 78-year-old retired educator, a parent and a grandparent, I contend our society has not adequately dealt with the qualitative and quantitative changes in structural support systems for youth that have occurred during the past half century. Dysfunctional, unconcerned parents, and worse, also existed in my childhood. While things then were far from perfect, I felt I had a closer, more readily aware and protective circle of family, neighbors and school. It seemed more inclined to become involved in helping with children's difficulties than I observe today.

The parent/community/school continuum has to respond better to seminal changes in family structure. More effective supervision of young people is needed as single-parent families and those with both parents working increase. Despite selfless efforts of the majority of those parents, it takes a whole village to raise a child. Youths need more effective approaches to serve them in today's circumstances. Dealing with youthful bullying must receive high priority.

Conrad F. Toepfer



Anti-Christian art is offensive to many

How ironic that Colin Dabkowski's Sept. 25 column was titled, "It's time to fight our culture of hate." He glibly states that "virulently homophobic conservatives complained about the presence of a work they claimed to be anti-Christian" in a taxpayer-funded Smithsonian Institution exhibit. Dabkowski doesn't describe the piece in question, which depicts a crucifix being eaten away by large ants. Most people of good will would not consider a Christian offended by this as "virulently homophobic." In fact, one could argue that Christians were the victims of "hate culture" in this case.

If Dabkowski wants to argue that degrading the things that others hold sacred is good art and worthy of public funding, so be it. But let him have the honesty to say so and not hide behind vague statements and name-calling. Tolerance has to cut both ways.

Suellen Brewster



Post office should raise the rates for junk mail

After reading in the paper about all the money the Postal Service is losing and the possible closing of local post offices, I offer a simple solution to the problem. Every day, I throw out junk mail. Simply raise the postal rate for junk mail. It would stop companies from wasting paper and allow the post office to become more cost effective and competitive with other carriers.

Thomas G. Scholl



Money is at the heart of nation's problems

Clarence Page's column, "Ron Paul's idea of freedom," is hopping onto Wolf Blitzer's debate question to Paul about covering expensive medical costs without insurance. Instead of the right-wrong demarcation on the issue, it is actually one of tweedle-dee or tweedle-dum. That is: Is costly medical care for a gravely ill person one of the unaffordable personal debt consequences, or one of the unaffordable mass debt consequences?

The nation will have to travel one of the two roads, either of which involves an abridgement of freedom of one kind or another. Paul understands both the issues of personal insolvency and government insolvency. The Gordian knot posed by current socioeconomic policies will let no one off the hook. The problem of money, or fiat currencies, is at the heart of the dilemma. Its misuse and misallocations are also at the root of the unemployment-jobs dilemma.

Page and other commenters choose to paint just a narrow side of the topic. The national debt clock will continue to run and run. Then, even insurance plans would become unaffordable. Tweedle-dee, or tweedle-dum.

David R. Conners



Rails-to-trails project unfair to homeowners

I, as one of the "misinformed people" who border the proposed bike and walking trail from Orchard Park to Springville, would like to respond to the letter writer who strongly supports that trail. I do not support it. People, most riding ATVs, have started using parts of this trail. Already they are going off the old railroad right of way and onto my land. They have camped on my property, built campfires, cut my trees, defecated and left trash. I have repeatedly had to clean up their mess after they leave. That is why I oppose this rails-to-trails project.

I would also oppose rails-to-trails on a cost basis, as should all homeowners in towns living in the path of that trail. Preparing the trail for safe use would cost millions of dollars, and the maintenance and policing of the trail would cost tens of thousands each year. All of these costs will fall upon the citizens of towns like Colden. As I see it, the writer wants me to pay for her free use of this trail, a trail that would only be a problem for me. Sorry, but I must oppose the idea.

Philip J. Kintner



Robertson's comments on illness are outrageous

I implore faithful members of the "700 Club" to not send another penny to their shepherd, the Rev. Pat Robertson. He doesn't deserve it. It's perfectly OK for you and I to opine about a legitimate reason for prematurely ending a marriage based upon a spouse's deteriorating health. I can't imagine how heart-wrenching it would be to anguish through your lifelong partner's descent into the abyss of Alzheimer's or dementia.

But for a man of the cloth, who has done such a wonderful job of preaching to us about conducting our lives between the lines of American-made Christianity, to say it's perfectly OK to walk away from our sacred vows of "in sickness and in health till death do us part," come on!

Robertson has completely invalidated his claim to reverend-ship. Maybe he's a nice guy, and maybe he's a snake. Maybe he's slipping a little, or maybe he never had it at all. But please, no more donations. And cancel that TV show of his.

Joe Sullivan


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