The media give shooters the fame they desire

Thank you for your March 26 article "Are media acting as a publicity machine for shooters?" After the episode at the Santana high school episode in California, it was clear to me that extensive media coverage can serve to give perpetrators a sense of fame and recognition, not only in their local communities, but also nationally.

It is reassuring that the Monitor is sharing this perspective with a wider audience. It is my hope that the best in media coverage will awaken especially the parents of our youngest children.The media should be more proactive in reporting the good that young generations are accomplishing so they are rewarded for their positive achievements and not made famous for their violence.

If one of the main trends of these shootings is that the student has not felt a sense of belonging or acknowledgement from peers or others, isn't this asking those of us who are parents to take more seriously the impact our lives have on our children?Families can be the first place children learn about love, comfort, security, and well-being.And nurturing this in the early years provides for a secure foundation in future years.

Lari Snorek Yates Brattleboro, Vt.

Amtrak needs a fair deal

Regarding your March 20 article "A one-two punch for a struggling Amtrak": Amtrak provides a valuable and enjoyable service. Its trains carry as many people as 300 Boeing 757-200 jetliners every day, helping to ease airport and highway congestion. The $23 billion that Amtrak has received since 1971 is nothing compared with the $19 billion annual subsidies for airports or the $80 billion spent each year on highways.

Amtrak's subsidies stand out because the money goes directly to the service provider, whereas other transportation subsidies go into infrastructure.

Most people do not realize that railroads are unique in that they provide their own infrastructure at their own expense. Passenger trains have always struggled to compete with services that use government funded facilities. That's why Amtrak had to be created in the first place. Unfortunately its meager annual subsidy of $520 million does not begin to level the playing field.

Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison of Texas summed up the situation saying: "There is not a transportation mode in the US, or anywhere in the world really, that isn't subsidized in some way.... Rail is the least subsidized to the point of ridiculousness."

James B. Toy Seaside, Calif.

Settlers put themselves in harm's way

Your March 23 article "For idealistic settlers, a price" about the Jewish settlers in the West Bank, painted a painful picture of people suffering under a lot of stress. The article, however, failed to indicate that these people put themselves in harm's way by insisting on living where they are not welcome. They are the representatives of an illegal occupation.

The article also failed to look at the price the other side is paying so these people can have their "wonderful" experience.

Al Sharief Clayton, Calif.

Hard lessons in modern politics

We, the people, have learned a great deal lately about the Constitution and present-day American politics. We have learned that if you pay the correct people at the correct time, you can completely and totally circumvent the law. We, the people, have also learned that if you pay enough money to all the right politicians at the right time, you can write your own laws - with a good payback on the investment.

Brendan Stecchini Belchertown, Mass.

The Monitor welcomes your letters and opinion articles. Due to the volume of mail, we can neither acknowledge nor return unpublished submissions. All submissions are subject to editing. Letters must be signed and include your mailing address and telephone number.

Mail letters to 'Readers Write,' and opinion articles to Opinion Page, One Norway Street, Boston, MA 02115, or fax to 617-450-2317, or e-mail to oped@csps.com.

(c) Copyright 2001. The Christian Science Monitor

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