Stereotyping Teen-agersThe editorial, "The Young and the...

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

June 04, 1995

Stereotyping Teen-agers

The editorial, "The Young and the Restless," that ran in The Sun for Howard County on May 17 was offensive, ill-informed and indicative of the ignorant attitudes that many teen-agers face today.

The editorial faulted teen-agers for finding Howard County boring and using this assertion as an excuse to "hang out" and do drugs and alcohol. I agree that using boredom as an excuse to hang out and get high is wrong, but the editorial misses the mark and degenerates into being insulting to all teen-agers, whether they are users or not.

First, it invalidates the common feeling of many teen-agers that there just isn't a whole lot to do in Howard County. In refusing to recognize this feeling, the writer closes off any possible insight into the problem.

The writer then proceeds to list places such as the mall and the ice skating rink as things to do in Howard County. Any teen-ager knows that you can only go to the mall so many times before it becomes a drag. Then the editorial goes farther by giving the writer's supposed reasons as to why teens find these places boring and why some turn to doing drugs and drinking at hangouts.

It states that it is a "lack of imagination and strength of integrity." This is an easy, ready-made answer that does not take into consideration why some teen-agers feel compelled to use drugs and alcohol. Most people are not users because they lack imagination. It goes deeper and the writer fails to see this.

The editorial was also offensive in its description of teens who don't spend their time hanging out and doing drugs. It says that these teen-agers are seen as "weird" or "drama geeks," but that they're really teens "who aren't easily misguided by peer pressure or by a misguided notion that doing something wrong is 'cool.' "

It sounds as if the writer is getting his or her information from one of those booklets they hand out in middle school describing the evils of peer pressure.

The fact is, there are many teen-agers who are non-users and have perfectly normal social lives. The article does not credit teen-agers with having a brain and a substantial amount of intellect. Young adults personify more than the stereotypes of the "druggie" and the "nerd."

But the most disturbing part of the editorial is at the end where it states that the only "remedy" is for teens to "grow up." I'd like to see the writer face a teen-ager whose parents are divorced or one who is physically or mentally abused and tell them to "grow up." I wonder if he or she would then feel the same way.

Seo Hee Ko

Ellicott City

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I am writing to applaud members of my community who took it upon themselves to help out in a community event. These teen-agers needed to get their community service hours for high school graduation and took it upon themselves to help out in bettering their community.

They used one afternoon of their time to help out in an annual Easter egg hunt that was held by Gray Rock Farm Community for the smaller children of the community. Their help assisted the organizers of this event allowing them to make the event even better.

Doing things for somebody else's benefit can only help them in the future. If they ever needed someone else's services, I know that they would appreciate aid in return.

By showing that they are putting someone else's needs ahead of their own, they not only deserve recognition, but also a big pat on the back.

This act by these teen-agers shows that not all teen-agers care only about themselves or what the latest fashion is, but that they value their community in their minds and hearts.

Mindy Levit

Ellicott City

Feaga's Comment Was Irresponsible

We find it appalling and irresponsible for Howard County Council President Charles C. Feaga to have made the statement that firefighters may have to occasionally "let the building burn." We're sure if it was his house that was burning, he would be calling everyone from Chief James Heller to County Executive Charles Ecker to make sure that the fire department put the fire out.

Mr. Feaga made the statement that "two minutes shouldn't make a difference." . . . It takes only four to six minutes for someone to die from a lack of oxygen. A fire can progress from a small area of origin to a major inferno in two minutes. Temperatures at the ceiling can go from being 70 degrees to more than 700 degrees in two minutes. . . .

Mr. Feaga refers to the proposed two-cent increase as just the start of uncontrolled growth in the fire department. . . . the County Council and executive have been remiss and negligent in the past years for not providing necessary staffing. The county was proud to open the new fire house in Scaggsville this past year yet minimum staffing is not maintained for that station. . . .

E;With that kind of attitude, Mr. Feaga should resign. . . .

Capt. Ronald Brown

Sgt. Jon Fielder

Peter Fiackos

Trent Lee

The writers are members of the Montgomery County Fire and Rescue Services and Howard County residents.

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