Letters to the Editor

Writers respond to what they’ve read in the Herald-Leader

Photo illustration Marcus Dorsey/Getty Images

Help suicidal children

A Jan. 19 Herald-Leader article by Valarie Honeycutt Spears (“We should be very worried: Coroner alarmed by 5 suicides of kids 14 and younger in last year”) identifies a very important problem.

In the last few months, five Central Kentucky children younger than 15 years old have killed themselves. Community agencies are focusing resources on the issue as they can. Schools also have an opportunity for engagement. Teachers are probably our best hope because they are with their students long enough to establish rapport. But as a society we are asking an institution designed for one purpose to expend its resources on another.

While life is the utmost concern, we must understand that every hour taken from instruction reduces the effectiveness of a school’s primary function: education.

Lisa Miller, a Columbia University psychology and education professor, asserts that children’s fundamental needs include a firm relationship with something greater than themselves (spirituality) and strong connections. Research by the Spirituality Mind Body Institute of Columbia demonstrates that children with these things are 60 percent less likely to experience depression, and 40 percent less likely to use and abuse substances.

We have work to do.

Owen Branam, Harrodsburg

News addict unsurprised

When I opened my Herald-Leader recently to be confronted with the headline of the day, in triple the font size normally utilized by your “news” paper, I was amazed that I was not “amazed”.

“Trump instructs his attorney to lie” or some such nonsense was the order of the day. “Obstruction, collusion, impeachable”, screamed those quoted in the article. Well, I thought, maybe I can overlook this because the paper probably didn’t hear before press time that Special Counsel Robert Mueller has refuted the story. No, Mueller’s actions were mentioned in the article, so what is the paper’s stupid reasoning in printing a story debased of reality by the head of the organization who should know?

My only surprise is that the Herald-Leader didn’t print some of the other stories put forth by the “news” source the article was based on. BuzzFeed has many other stories. Usually, they’re about the 20 rabbits scheduled to run in a Derby Day race or the Martians who allegedly landed on the White House.

I can’t stop reading the newspaper due to my 60-year addiction, but it appears the paper will put itself out of business and I won’t have to make a choice.

Joe Mercer, Lexington

Decency the issue

A January column by writer Marc Thiessen listing President Donald Trump’s “top 10 successes” is a masterwork of spin by the man who last brought us nothing less than a “justification” for American use of torture during the George W. Bush administration.

Thiessen’s arguments are textbook examples of cherry-picking, exaggeration, selective omission and absence of context – in short, the type of confabulation that has already brought us to the brink of political implosion in this country.

Several of Thiessen’s examples of Trump’s successes (the weakening of our influence in Iran, the irregular appointment of Brett Kavanaugh to the U.S. Supreme Court) are to his critics examples of his failures.

But the real problem is that this president has hopelessly debased our public discourse and consequently our shared ability to reason and work together; and that his unfortunate temperament — a combination of attack dog and spoiled child — has led him to undermine some of our foundational democratic institutions. It’s not a matter of policy; it’s a matter of decency.

Lela Stromenger, Lexington