Letters

Lessons from the Amish decision to forgive

Regarding the Oct. 4 article, "A pattern in rural school shootings": Coverage of the violence in our schools has emphasized the problems wrought by unchecked anger. Let's hope that society is now ready to address solutions.

The murderer's expressions of anger against life, God, authorities, and colleagues echo what I heard while interviewing violent offenders in the prison system. The lesson is that harsher punishments will do little to stem violence because so many offenders are too enraged (or intoxicated) to be mindful of specific punishments or even the risk of apprehension.

Rather than taking the counterproductive path of fighting violence with violence – as do war and the death penalty – it behooves us to introduce anger-management programs in schools, churches, and workplaces.

Let's teach and role-play healthy responses to negative emotions. Anger is at the root of myriad social problems; before more children die, let's draw strength from our own anger about recent tragedies to effect change.
David A. Anderson
Danville, Ky.
Author, "Sometimes I Get So Angry!"

Regarding your Oct. 6 editorial, "The Amish protest against evil": Your fine tribute to the forgiving nature of the Amish was moving.

The horror of the little girls' deaths has somehow been obscured by the unfathomable ability of the people most directly affected to forgive and to nurture the family of the murderer. What a lesson for the time in which we live!

Instead of being consumed by hate and revenge against the so-called terrorists, we might very well change the world for the good by following the example of the Amish.
Conrad Wagner
Olympia, Wash.

While your editorial addressing the Amish quality of forgiveness was indeed inspiring, I must take issue with the notion that showing forgiveness somehow demonstrates that people are different from or better than animals.

Anyone who has ever had a faithful dog knows the easy, instant forgiveness of these treasured friends. Animals give unconditional love, a trait that is very rare among humans.

Perhaps it would have been wiser to say that the beautiful ability to answer violence with love allows us to express the very best of what we can find in all of God's creatures – both human and animal.
Barbara Louise Anderson
Boulder City, Nev.

Low-tech nuke delivery

I was surprised that the Oct. 5 article, "What if North Korea tests a nuclear bomb?" implied that we don't have very much to worry about for the near-term regarding North Korea's ability to deliver nuclear weapons, since the North Koreans do not even have a B-29-sized plane or missiles capable of lifting one of the weapons.

I suggest that the writers search the Internet for Golden Venture. That was the Chinese ship full of people that in 1993 grounded on a sand bar near the Rockaways, which is part of Queens, a borough of New York. Many of the 286 passengers swam to shore.

The point is that you do not need a sophisticated delivery system for nuclear weapons. A beat up old ship would work just as well. We have a lot to worry about in the near term.
Mort Starobin
Brooklyn, N.Y.

The Monitor welcomes your letters and opinion articles. Because of the volume of mail we receive, 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. Any letter accepted will appear in print and on our website, www.csmonitor.com.

Mail letters to 'Readers Write,' and opinion articles to Opinion Page, One Norway St., Boston, MA 02115, or fax to (617) 450-2317, or e-mail to Letters.

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