Letters

By , Mary Straub and Janet Bailey

US lack of wisdom in the Balkans "What kind of war is this?" (May 18) seemed right on target. The United States is the world's No. 1 power; we are enjoying exceptional economic health. Are we also unwise? Our "antiseptic offensive" in Yugoslavia is affordable to us as long as we are not putting American lives at risk. But can we be satisfied that our bombing is truly in the best interest of the Balkans? It seems to have triggered a speedup of Milosevic's ethnic cleansing plan, adding to the injury of the Kosovo Albanians. "Smart bombs" are turning out to be not always smart, and friends as well as foes suffer accordingly.

It seems unethical for us to bomb on the cheap, without risk to our own personnel. If the American public would not support a ground initiative, with its risk to American lives, we ought to discontinue our bombing.

Allan Dean, Swannanoa, N.C.

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Too much immigration? Regarding "In a border town, ranchers face an immigrant tide on their own" (May 25): In reference to the steps being taken by some US residents of border towns, the influx of illegals is certainly a problem. Without bashing immigrants, however, legal immigration is also creating problems.

The news media are talking about "sprawl," without explaining that it's simply a euphemism for "people." The Census Bureau can provide some alarming figures: Since 1970, when the total population was 203 million, legal immigration has accounted for one-third to one-half of population increase. Currently, our population has risen to more than 270 million. At the same time, nonimmigrant Americans had below-replacement-level fertility.

And, says the Census Bureau, if things continue as they are, there will be an additional 191 million people in the USA by the year 2050. Talk about sprawl! This overcrowding negatively affects our country's resources and environment.

If we are to continue to enjoy the American way of life, changes must be made in our immigration laws. While nearly every other country in the world is moving towards stabilized population, the USA is on a downward path toward third-world status.

Mary Straub, Alsip, Ill.

Hazing on the rise "Another rising menace in schools: hazing" (June 1) both saddened and outraged me. Maybe it's time that assault and battery laws apply to children as well as adults. It seems twisted to me that children can batter each other with impunity, while adults can't. If parents will not teach nonviolence and respect for others and for authority, then our justice system must step in.

I realize there are many problems in making this practical, but I wonder if convicted teens of high school age could be "punished" by sentences involving community service or special combinations of classes and work. Lengthy removal from sports teams for such behavior would be a stern sentence for many. Of course, "one size" will never fit all or solve all the problems. The punishment needs to fit the crime and the young criminal. There is much wrong with our high schools. One example: Lax enforcement of school rules is common and breeds disrespect for authority as well as for the school community. I challenge you to do additional research into what actual high school experience is like.

What you uncover may reveal a great deal about what needs to be changed for schools to become safe communities. To set and enforce standards of basic decency in our high schools would be a big step toward graduating young adults ready to enter into society as productive citizens.

Janet Bailey, Aurora, Colo.

The Monitor welcomes your letters and opinion articles. Because of the volume of mail, only a selection can be published, and we can neither acknowledge nor return unpublished submissions. Letters must be signed and include your mailing address and telephone number.

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