The Computer Is a Tool, Not a Teacher

Regarding the article ``College Students - at a Loss for Words (on Paper),'' Dec. 15: It's unfair to blame the proliferation of the computer for poor writing skills.

I remember reading about studies lamenting the writing skills of my own high school graduating class (nationwide), yet we did not have computers in school. The skills that these studies test - such as writing letters and reading schedules - are rarely taught in school. The computer is simply a tool, like paper and pencils. It can make writing faster and more fun, but the user still must have writing skills. Suzanne Soule, Vista, Calif. The horrors of Bosnia

When Steven Spielberg received his well-deserved Oscar for ``Schindler's List,'' he urged us not to forget the horrors of the Holocaust. However, he forgot to mention the holocaust that is going on in Europe. Thousands of people are giving their lives in Bosnia for their ethnic origin. The word ``ethnic cleansing'' has become a cliche. The recent cease-fire has produced some hope for peace, but full peace can never be achieved as long as the war criminals are free. It can only be achieved when justice will be done to those who have suffered the ultimate trauma of war. I would rather watch the trial of the war criminals right now than a ``Schindler's List II,'' many years later, when it will be too late. Junaid Ahmed, Bloomington, Ill. Power Rangers: violent role models

I was deeply disappointed when House Speaker Newt Gingrich promoted the violent TV characters, the Mighty Morphin Power Rangers, to entertain the children of the members of Congress (``A Whole Newt World in Washington,'' Jan. 6). I was hoping the new Congress would be more alert to the hazardous effect of television violence on our children. Through this type of programming, our precious seedlings have unnatural acts poured daily over their developing minds. I know of a boy who thinks it is fun to kick and punch like Power Rangers; he can't just play normally with a friend. Joella Hoole, DeWitt, N.Y. Prop. 187 needs rethinking

The opinion-page article ``Harassment in the Wake of Proposition 187,'' Dec. 27, misses the point in claiming that Prop. 187 is bad because of its unintended consequences. It is bad because it is a proposition.

Such populist measures may restore ``power to the people but in the process they are destroying the republican form of governance guaranteed under the Constitution.

Let's not delude ourselves. Propositions, initiatives, and referendums may well have their place in government. But when they are used to avoid rather than complement representative government we will eventually reap a whirlwind of democratic anarchy that our Constitution was designed to prevent. We had better give serious thought to our frantic pursuit of happiness before we catch up to it. John R. Carter, Earlysville, Va. The welfare debate

The author of the article ``The Welfare Discussion We Really Need,'' Dec. 29, made an excellent point of exposing the myths surrounding our welfare system. However, I take issue with the conclusion that we must look for targets (i.e. ``deadbeat corporations'') to blame for the creeping social malaise of our culture. My spouse and I have been married 10 years. We have two children and we both work very hard just to stay financially afloat. The notion that someone can have children out of wedlock and then become rewarded with an apartment, food stamps, and free medical care from our government is repugnant, to say the least.

The idea that government can be ``reinvented'' to take care of everyone is a notion that will impoverish us all. William Olson, Spokane, Wash.

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