Teaching kids respect at home is the key to stopping...

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

March 31, 2001

Teaching kids respect at home is the key to stopping violence, U.S. Attorney General John Ashcroft links the recent California school shooting incident to "violent video games" ("Vice principal called target of shooting," March 24). Others blame guns or the lack of trigger locks or of discipline at home or school.

There always seem to be something to blame.

But note that students responsible for murders, as well as employees who go on shooting sprees seem to be generally described as loners who have few friends.

People who feel disconnected from family, friends, or the greater community thus have no checks and balances.

Connection is not about love or religion or discipline or the lack of these thing; it is purely a matter of respect. Treating all people with respect, no matter their age or position, is the basis of connection.

There are ways to teach children to respect each other, that "dissin'" people who are different is just not acceptable behavior.

These lessons begin at home, with parents showing respect for their children. Teaching by example is still the best method.

K. Kerchner McConlogue, Baltimore

Banning firearms would curb carnage

In El Cajon, Calif., experts are puzzled about how to stop violence in their schools ("Vice principal called target of shooting at Calif. school," March 24).

All the young school shooters had guns at home. If we outlaw guns, someday they will disappear.

We will always have angry people in the world. Let's stop providing them with an outlet for their anger.

William Roemer, Baltimore

Let me get this straight: The leading cause of death among pregnant women is murder by guns and teen-agers are getting shot at schools all over the country.

But we allow guns so that people can shoot deer?

Maureen McCarren, Ellicott City

Tough-guy mentality perpetuates violence

We, as a society, need to approach the problems of youth violence through prevention, not stiff punishment that the child, who is probably quite confused, does not understand or deserve.

We need to recognize the media's and the entertainment industry's role in these issues and hold them responsible for sending more positive messages to our youth. Above all, as parents, we need to take responsibility for what we teach our youth.

The mentality that America is better than everyone else, tough and owes no apologies will not stop school shootings or teach compassion for and acceptance of others, but will perpetuate the problems.

And when the little man who some of us call our president stoops to calling a troubled teen-ager names ("Boy, 15, accused in school killings," March 6), the mentality that put that boy where he is is quite obvious.

Brian Straub, Baltimore

Making the whole country as ugly as New Jersey

The Bush administration is suspending another environmental rule, this one on gold and silver mining ("Bush team would suspend Clinton environmental rule," March 22).

Thank you, Ralph Nader, for helping to elect these people.

Soon Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Christine Todd Whitman will have the whole country looking and smelling like her New Jersey.

Herbert B. Shankroff, Towson

Cutting aid to adversaries could bring peace to Mideast

The Sun's editorial "U.S. role in the Middle East" (March 21) rightly called for an end to violence between Israelis and Palestinians. One sure way to help end the violence would be for the United States to stop all aid to both parties until they negotiate a final peace.

It doesn't make sense for a mediator to a conflict to bankroll either party. Let's see what they can work out on their own, then help both get back on their feet.

Lloyd P. Tyler, Cockeysville

Flashing a badge is no excuse for violating the law

I am not angry that Mass Transit Authority police officer Kevin Anderson did not issue a ticket to the off-duty police officer he stopped for speeding on Interstate 95 ("On area highways, police step up efforts against aggressive driving," March 20). What does anger me is this officer's arrogance in flashing his badge.

Naive citizen that I am, I had no idea the badge was a ticket (no pun intended) out of a criminal offense.

I am a teacher. I teach my students, and my own children, respect for the law and for the men and women who wear a badge. I hope this officer's conduct is not representative of the entire police force.

No one should be above the law. After all, an off-duty officer is just as capable of causing an accident as any other citizen.

Brenda Payne, Catonsville

Monetary requirements keep foreigners from visiting

The Travel section of The Sun presented a valuable lesson for Americans in "An encounter with Ashok" (March 18) but did not tell the whole story.

The whole story is that not only can most people not afford to travel to the Americas but that even if they have a sponsor they often cannot obtain a visa to visit the United States.

Visitors to the United States are considered potential immigrants and "ties" to the home country must ensure their return home. These ties are monetary.

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