We must change this 'culture of death' we live in
I watched the memorial service for the victims of the Newtown tragedy. I was struck by one phrase used by a priest during the closing prayer. He asked that we be delivered from this "culture of death" that is rampant in our society. Since that time, I have been reflecting on this phrase and believe it is an accurate description of our culture.
We teach our children from a young age to be violent. We ourselves enjoy violence. We watch TV shows where serial killers are made into heroes. TV police dramas portray real murders. They discuss the details of a person's death to a national audience for our amusement. We hand our children toy guns and allow them to pretend to shoot people. They play video games that simulate death and carnage. We are teaching our children to kill and are desensitizing them to violence.
There are best-selling books that portray teenagers fighting to the death. In one of our most popular sports, two men beat each other into unconsciousness.
Murder, death and violence permeate nearly every aspect of our culture. Until we change this, the violence will continue. No matter how many laws we enact, as long as there is a culture of death in this society, the violence will not stop. If there is to be meaningful change, we must change. We must have a reverence for human life. Murder, death and violence are not forms of entertainment.
Sarah B. Smith
Surely, you jest
I believe the Herald-Leader's Dec. 28 editorial about the problems at Bluegrass Regional Mental Health Board was at best cavalier. To excuse their practices, or lack of them, is by itself criminal to say nothing of the practices themselves.
That lower-level employees went without pay raises may or may not be justified, but the excesses of management certainly are not. Remember, these are taxpayer dollars.
For you to claim that the board should reform itself is almost foolish — somebody belongs in prison for stealing my money.
Embracing voter fraud
Coming on the heels of several Herald-Leader stories on vote fraud and voting abuse, it's certainly encouraging to see the paper endorse efforts to expand opportunities for such fraud ("Making voting easier," Dec. 21).
"Extended voting" schemes are just that, more doors opened for those who seek to abuse the system. So by all means let's give the election thieves another avenue to buy votes and skirt the system.
And, of course, let's support the Democrats' nationwide effort to thwart any accountability and honesty in the vote by fighting against any and all voter identification requirements.
After all, how many times have they told us there's just no evidence that vote fraud is a problem.
But, wait, don't those Herald-Leader stories contradict that?
Ditto on leaf pickup
Recently a reader wrote a letter saying that the city should eliminate leaf pickup. He is right.
Here it is a few days after Christmas and the leaves still have not been picked up on my street. The nice neat original piles of leaves on the curbs have now been blown all over.
Rains and snows have washed many of these leaves down the storm sewers. Cars running over these leaves have ground many of them into a mess.
I called the city to find out what the situation was. I was told my street was on the schedule and should be picked up soon. That was a few weeks before Christmas.
I use yard bags, which the city furnishes free, and have no problems except for the leaves my neighbors leave on the curb for pickup.
Why so dreadful?
I was disgusted by Donna Ison's characterization of her "worst" New Year's Eve, which was terrible because of an inept application of self-tanner: "I was Latina" (The New Year's Eve letdown, Dec. 28 Weekender).
Was she horrified that she became less white? She ended up, according to her, the color of Tina Turner. I am certain she has nothing of Turner's talent and grace.
Ison is the former editor of Skirt, the free newspaper that is surely better off without her. It is hideous that she would imply that darker is uglier, and that she would reduce the rich heritage and culture of Latinos to a temporary application of tint.
People of Latin and African background have many different skin colors, all of them lovely. Her hateful perspective should be discarded along with the racist views of the late Sen. Strom Thurmond and the "paper bag test."
Shame on Ison.
Nitrogen adds to life
I would like to add to John Thelin's letter ("Caution on connections," Dec. 22) another cause for the gain in longevity over the last century: The dramatic increase in agricultural production.
Among the important factors contributing to this increase was the invention of the chemical process of producing synthetic nitrogen. In the early 1900s we were running out of natural nitrogen deposits and without the production of synthetic nitrogen our farmers would not have been able to produce enough food to sustain the large population.
Without this increase in food production most of us would still be on the farm.
Don't need basketball
Coach John Calipari said, "We don't need assault weapons." He's right. We also don't need beer, wine, bourbon, etc. Heck, we don't even need basketball. But I enjoy basketball and I enjoy shooting sports; need is not the issue.
In 2009, there were 8,583 gun-homicides in the United States. In 2010, there were 10,228 DUI deaths, and it has been estimated 75,000 alcohol abuse deaths occur each year, not to mention the social costs and problems it brings.
But we know that banning alcohol doesn't work, it's been tried. Why do we think that banning guns will work?
There are an estimated 280 million guns in the United States. Unless we focus on the real problem of evilness (you can call it mental health), breakdown of the family, complete failure of the individual to take responsibility for their actions and glorification of violence in music, video games, movies and the media, we can pass all the laws we want.
Gun control issues are nothing more than a political ploy that certain politicians use for their own benefit. They are the vote getter of the day, along with "let's sock it to the rich."
That said, the electorate being mostly naïve and uneducated, and the media being mostly liberal (does the media ever print when a gun in the hands of a law-abiding citizen has saved a life?), I have no doubt that statistics will be ignored and there will be serious restrictions on the law-abiding minority.