Responding to violence in America Regarding your May 20 editorial "Countering Youth Violence": I agree the problems need to be faced - from guns to violence in video and TV - but I urge people to consider what they interpret as "for the good of the children."

While guns continue to make headlines, recent events have caused the public to look closer at parental responsibility and the violence that entertains our children. Finally someone is beginning to realize there is a wider vantage point, and there is not one simple answer.

Time and again we have enacted "new" laws, more and more every year, yet violence is at an all-time high. Take the time (if you have a week) to read all the laws enacted regarding firearms since the 1968 Gun Control Act.

Political grandstanding has gotten in the way of logic and right reasoning, and while we grown-ups plan for a safer America, little is changing regarding the safety of our children.

We became a violent society one person at a time. Each of us has an opportunity every day to set something right. For some of us, beginning the day with a prayer is a start, or paying closer attention to a child, watching TV with our children, setting a limit or two, taking the time to talk to a neighbor, child or adult, and saying more positive things to one another at home or at the office.

R.K.Chicoine, Eastport, Maine

Another view of New Mexico's governor As one who follows the government here in New Mexico, I read with amusement "In New Mexico, the governor as marathon man" (May 14) about our governor, Gary Johnson, wherein he's credited with raising "education spending by more than $300 million ... privatizing the state's Medicaid system, cutting welfare rolls, all without raising a single tax."

The governor has no authority to appropriate money to any agency in the state of New Mexico; it is the Democratic legislature that has raised education spending by more than $300 million in the past four years. Yes, the governor did privatize Medicaid here, but basic services have been scaled back or, in some cases, eliminated altogether.

As for welfare, the welfare rolls are higher now than they were when Governor Johnson took over. His welfare-to-work programs have entirely collapsed because there are no jobs for ex-welfare recipients to move into, due to the governor's economic development policy - a policy that has moved New Mexico's economy from one of the fastest growing in the nation, when he took office, to its current position as one of the slowest.

Also, not only have we not increased taxes in New Mexico, the legislature - not the governor - has actually decreased taxes by over $200 million during the past five years.

Gary Johnson's carefully cultivated image as a marathon-running political outsider may be attractive to the press and certain individuals disaffected with government, but the facts clearly show that his performance has been catastrophic for the people and the economy of New Mexico.

Brian Bonial, Santa Fe, N.M.

The message from video games Regarding "They love Bach, baseball, and a little carnage" (May 18): The article is informative, newsworthy, and revealing about violent video games. It made the lights flash and bells ring in my consciousness. Like many, I was uncertain about the explosion of the games phenomena and its impact.

We have to do more to help young people who live in a world in which nobody is in control - to use fantasy in constructive ways, and to understand that every act has consequences. John E. Fobes, Asheville, N.C.

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