What Is Respect?Neal R. Peirce (Opinion * Commentary, Jan...


January 31, 1995

What Is Respect?

Neal R. Peirce (Opinion * Commentary, Jan. 9) quotes a student's response to the Philadelphia Inquirer's invitation to submit letters describing their experiences of, and reaction to, youth-on-youth violence: "I am appalled by the hostility and hatred in our society. There is no respect for human life anymore. Violence is everywhere."

"No respect for human life anymore." What does it mean? Let me suggest what respect for human life entails:

1. Respect by prospective parents for themselves and for each other, particularly before they contemplate and engage in potentially life-producing behavior. This means wanting a child, being prepared financially and psychologically for the birth and support of a child, and thinking through the responsibility of rearing and educating a child.

2. The discipline, maturity and responsibility underlying a willingness of prospective parents to commit their time and effort to loving, caring for and providing the moral guidance for a child.

3. Knowing and being prepared to practice the skills of good parenting: setting a good example, knowing how to set limits without violence or denigration of a child's self-esteem and providing a consistently, warm, loving, non-stressful and responsive relationship with the child.

If these values were inculcated early in a child's life and followed up during a child's growing years, a child would not feel the anger and frustration which, without impulse control and negotiating skills, inevitably lead to violent behavior.

Lawrence B. Coshnear


The Mallers

Mike Littwin is right about the suburb factor in locating football teams (column, Jan. 18).

A look at the map shows that Washington won't have a football team, either. Not if the stadium ends up in Laurel, which is exactly halfway between the D.C. and Baltimore city lines.

The Census Bureau has declared both cities part of a single metropolitan area which stretches from Virginia to the Pennsylvania line.

And it is no coincidence that Laurel is almost exactly at its heart.

In his book, "Edge Cities: Life on the New Frontier," Joel Garreau describes the working of this new kind of sub-urban place.

He points out that our future lies in edge cities like Laurel, with their shopping centers, offices and malls, rather than in the declining center cities of the past.

So if the Redskins leave Washington, all we have to do is rename the team to reflect their new sub-urban status.

And this gives us a wonderful chance to one-up those lesser, isolated, single-centered franchise towns. We'd like to suggest that a new name should be catchy and more up to date, something which reflects the team's new sub-urban location.

Perhaps a contest is in order. To get the ball in motion we'd like to suggest changing the Washington Redskins to the Edge City Mallers.

Bob Corbett

Diana Corbett


Fearful Newt

Jack Germond and Jules Witcover (Jan. 19) drove straight to the real reason Newt Gingrich 'n' friends are trying to shut down public broadcasting. It is not fiscal, it is fearful.

It is the same reason that when dictators of whatever stripe try to take over, their first act is invariably to seize the radio and TV stations and newspapers.

They recognize, hate and fear the power of an independent press, of divergent voices and of informed criticism. This fear is born of insecurity and -- ultimately -- of a lack of faith and conviction in the validity of their own ideologies. And fear that these ideologies lack the ability to withstand close scrutiny.

Thomas Jefferson, in a letter to Henry Lee in 1824, perhaps said it best when he warned against "those who fear and distrust the people, and wish to draw all powers from them into their own hands."

Jerry Dyer

York, Pa.


Councilman Louis L. DePazzo committed a serious crime. He had the temerity to use his own brain to make a decision.

Shame on him! How dare he differ from "The Club," "The Unions," and "The Party Line." Imagine someone so radical as to speak his conscience for what he believes. (news article, Jan. 22)

Baltimore County voters should laud his actions and support him.

Clubs are silly, and unions constantly suck wages from workers in the name of unity and good. No one has made it more clear than the comedian who said, "I refuse to belong to a club that would have me."

C. D. Wilmer


Quality TV

House Speaker Newt Gingrich must not watch public television very much, or he would know that it is, in my opinion, the only really worthwhile television that one can watch nowadays.

In order for me just to have watchable reception where I live, I have to pay over $27 monthly to cable television just for basic service and get mostly re-runs for my money.

Public television has no violence, no sex, and I can't think of a better way to have someone use my tax dollars.

I am appalled that I have to pay taxes to have the services of someone like Newt Gingrich in our Congress.

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