Cockfighting is illegal and inhumane, even if the Founders did it, too
Danny Milner's March 16 column on the "sport fowl tradition" successfully re-enforced the Humane Society of the United State's dim view of animal rights in Kentucky. The roosters are bred to fight each other, sometimes to the death. I fail to see how anyone who thinks they are "majestic" believes this is fun to watch.
Regarding the sport's enthusiasts, Milner writes, "Many don't gamble, drink, do drugs." Well at least he was honest, he didn't use the word "most." He also believes the sport has a place in this country because some of our Founding Fathers and elder statesmen participated in it.
We all know that some also participated in slavery. The humane society is far from perfect. But at least we have one and after seeing how Russia handled the strays at Sochi, I am doubly thankful for it.
I was a little surprised to see the Herald-Leader publish a commentary defending an illegal activity. Perhaps next week we'll see a column on the benefits of stealing cars or one on how to set up a heroin sales network.
United Way wrong on Boy Scouts
The United Way of the Bluegrass has refused to contribute to the Boy Scouts of America for the first time in its history. The reason is that the national board adopted a policy that anyone who is gay and above the age of 18 cannot be a Scout leader. All young men up to the age of 18 can be scouts, without question.
This is not a gay issue. I have several friends who are gay and highly respected members of this community. The decision was to avoid pedophiles infiltrating the organization.
Even gay friends of mine despise them. Lawsuits dealing with pedophiles have bankrupted at least six Catholic dioceses. The BSA is simply trying to head off a problem before it exists.
Why should you contribute to the United Way, which takes money off of the top for administrative expenses and salaries, when you can pick your own charity and have 100 percent of your money go there?
I urge readers to give what you can to organizations who have "boots on the ground" such as the Bluegrass Council of the Boy Scouts of America, your church, The Salvation Army, a little engine doing a lot of good called Sonshine Ministries, The Hope Center, etc.
Finally, I must acknowledge that I am a member of the BSA board. The incoming national president is Bob Gates, former secretary of defense, and you can bet that he is not homophobic.
Somehow we will overcome this hit from the United Way.
Gordon W. Moss
No need to punish Farmer's son
A recent letter claimed that the best sentence for former Agriculture Commissioner Richie Farmer would have been "to have been sitting in a cell while his son played" basketball.
I disagree with that judgment. Farmer deserves punishment. However, his son is innocent and did not deserve punishment. What message would we have sent that boy if we had prevented his father from watching him play? That would have been punishing the son not for his own transgressions, but for something he could not control.
What message do we as a society want to send to all young people who love their parents in spite of their human failings? If Farmer's son learns anything from this incident, I hope he will realize that compassion and justice can easily go hand-in-hand in a civilized society.
And we can all learn to be aware of the potential negative impact of our own actions on the well-being of those we love. Vigilant prevention is better than a cure.
One more thought: Let those without any sins cast the first stones.
Martha Victoria Rosett Lutz
Young stars shine on music stage
Lexington is the destination of many Kentucky young people in March. Determination, hard work and skill, along with the support of innumerable family members, teachers and administrators, all have contributed to their memorable experience in the arena of their choice.
To many, this is the Sweet Sixteen basketball experience. To others, this display of talent, hard work and ability was at University of Kentucky's Singletary Center for the Arts, where middle school musicians came to the 2014 Kentucky Music Educators Association's Lexington Middle School Concert Band Assessment, a two-day judged event of 48 concert bands from Lexington and surrounding counties.
Todd Chamberlain was assessment manager of the event, which ran like clockwork. Performing were hundreds of disciplined and talented sixth, seventh, and eighth graders under the direction of band directors, supported by teachers, judges, stage assistants and others, who brought these young people by the busloads to experience performing on a university stage.
To paraphrase Shakespeare, this is the stuff that dreams are made of. I was amazed at the high level of musicianship and precision that I was hearing from musicians so young. I am gratified that our tax dollars are being so well spent, not only building musicians for our future bands and orchestras but also developing future citizens with tools of self-discipline, cooperation and dedicated hard work toward long-term goals. All are to be commended.
Churchill benefits horse industry
Regarding the commentary by Keren Henderson of Stop Predatory Gambling Kentucky, there are always two sides to every story.
Henderson failed to communicate what Churchill Downs has accomplished for racing, as well as the shareholders.
Churchill has three other major racetracks that support thousands in the industry: Arlington Park in Illinois, Calder Race Course in Florida, and The Fairgrounds in Louisiana. Horses foaled, raised and sold in Kentucky race at those tracks.
She has painted Churchill as the only beneficiary of controlled gaming with its own agenda to benefit stockholders. One only needs to see the decline in horses, farm, and horse industry-related jobs in Kentucky to see who is not benefitting from the lack of controlled gaming.
Just drive to the casinos in the surrounding states and look at the license plates. Keeping gaming money in Kentucky for Kentuckians makes more sense.
It's funny that the legislature can put in KENO without any changes in the law or any protest from special-interest groups while the horsemen have been struggling for over 10 years. Let's tell the whole story here.
Horse owner, breeder
Blackface bad way to lighten up
As a white liberal, I am more than happy to inform a recent letter writer why blackface is totally, absolutely, unequivocally inappropriate in all circumstances.
Racism is still rampant yet we refuse to discuss it. By donning blackface, you are contributing to whitewashing or to the lack of racial diversity in the media by not including an actual African-American. In addition, you can easily remove blackface at the end of the day. However, African-Americans cannot.
They have to endure higher rates of violence, lower quality of education, more severe punishments — all for a pigment in their skin. African-American students are 3.5 times more likely to be expelled or suspended.
Blackface perpetuates damaging, ridiculous, clownish stereotypes. African-Americans are being oppressed by age-old misconceptions and the usage of blackface not only distracts from what we should be conversing about, it also marginalizes African-American culture and sends the message that being African-American is like wearing a costume.
They risked threats, fines and lynching in order to obtain their rights. Blackface is used to ridicule and dehumanize African-Americans, which can result in more violence. I refuse to "lighten up" in a world that is already far too whitewashed.
Salvation Army serves community many ways
I didn't know whether to laugh or cry at a March 12 letter suggesting the Salvation Army on West Main be relocated in favor of a parking lot.
The fact that someone could insult so many people in only 214 words almost made me laugh. But I really felt more like crying that anyone could so cavalierly suggest that participating in one of the Army's many services for women and children made them unfit to be in the vicinity of downtown.
Young people come to the Salvation Army for after-school, tutoring and summer programs. The Army is also the home of the Bluegrass Boys and Girls Club. Children and adults come to the Army for recreation and educational enrichment programs. It also operates a Stars-rated daycare and early learning center for infants and pre-schoolers.
And yes, the Salvation Army is the area's primary provider of emergency shelter and transitional living services for women and children.
All residents are assisted with job training and job search and have access to counselors and other support in their goal to achieve permanent housing. Most either work or seek employment while in residence.
People from all over Central Kentucky come to the Salvation Army on Sunday mornings for worship services. While hosting all of these programs, the Army also feeds, clothes and shelters the hungry and the homeless. In the over 100 years that the Salvation Army has been located at Cox and West Main, we have found Central Kentuckians extraordinarily generous with their time, money and love for others.
Advisory board chair
Salvation Army Central Kentucky Area Services
Take an uncomfortable walk in their shoes first
I really thought I was misreading the letter about how to make the Rupp Arena area more attractive to the public.
The writer's view is that the Salvation Army, this worthy facility which has served so many for so long, should be replaced with a parking garage. His thought was we shouldn't spend all this time building an open-air location that people won't feel comfortable visiting.
Even a couple of deep breaths couldn't calm me down.
If people are uncomfortable with the homeless, then shame on them.
If eating, shopping and parking are more important than seeing how our community reaches out to "the least of these," then perhaps they might want to close their eyes to every other human suffering as well.
Really, if the homeless bother you, then do something to help them not be homeless. Ignoring them or moving them to a place you don't have to see them just shows the reason why we have such a problem in our major cities. And whether proposed paying guests see the poor or not, God sees them.
Perhaps we should remember what Charles Dickens had Jacob Marley say about business. "My business was humanity." Not hiding them, or relocating them.
The letter writer could be homeless tomorrow. Would he like the moving truck to dump him elsewhere? After all, we wouldn't want to frighten away tourists. Put on the shoes of those you wish to discriminate against; you might find that its a mighty uncomfortable walk.
Laura Kathryn Rogers