Savoring cyber connections without severing real-life ties

To be a part of a model small-town America, or at least a close-knit neighborhood, would be a dream, Jerry Lanson writes in his Feb. 18 Opinion piece, "Our waste howling 'cyberness.'" Mr. Lanson has apparently forgotten that small-town America fostered not just strong interpersonal connections, but also bigotries, ignorance, and all the other disadvantages of parochialism. Maycomb, Ala., was a small town with a strong sense of community, and yet Harper Lee's "To Kill a Mockingbird" is nonetheless an argument precisely against the attitudes that prevail in such places.

People who have grown up with the Internet may occasionally wish for a less technologically driven society, but who would give up the convenience of e-mail, instant messaging, and mobile phones?

Communications technology allows us to connect with people who don't live next door, and affords everyone an opportunity to understand a wider world.
Paul Musgrave
Dublin, Ireland

While I'm very grateful for the Internet and e-mail so that I can keep in contact with family and friends, read world news, and learn new things, I do miss the face-to-face contact and slower pace of neighborly get-togethers.

I don't see the neighbors where I live so much, but we do take an interest in each other and occasionally help with shoveling or minor emergencies. I love my street because of its diversity of races, ages, families, experiences, and cultures. Just as no two flowers are the same but are all beautiful in their own way, so my neighbors are colorful, interesting, and beautiful to me. I'm grateful that although I was at first fearful to walk the streets here because it's not like the same kind of suburbs where I grew up, I soon learned to appreciate that I could take walks safely.

All in all, there is still kindness, there are still neighbors, there is still time to visit and play and work. We just have to look for and find it, and then appreciate and enjoy it.
Judith P. Bergeson
Manchester, Conn.

US-Europe rift over ICC overlooked

Your Feb. 18 editorial "Bush's Repair Job With Europe" and the Feb. 18 article, "Bush visits a Europe ever further away," both fail even to mention one of the key issues currently contributing to the gap between the US and Europe, namely, opposing attitudes toward the International Criminal Court (ICC). Differing views on the ICC have most recently become focused on opposition to or support for a UN Security Council resolution referring the humanitarian crisis in the Darfur region of Sudan to the ICC, as was recommended by the commission set up to investigate the situation in Darfur.

I am disappointed that the intense conflict about the ICC was not discussed in either of these pieces, despite its obvious relevance.

The article mentioned the "compact" developed by "a group of 50 foreign-policy and national-security experts from both sides of the Atlantic," but it inexplicably ignored the fact that a key part of that compact addressed the ICC issue.
Ronald J. Glossop
Jennings, Mo.

There's more than Martha, Mount Vernon

In your Feb. 22 editorial, "This George W. Deserves More," you wisely call upon Americans to learn more about George Washington. But our remembering that his wife's name was Martha and that he lived at Mount Vernon is far less important than remembering and reflecting upon the principles he professed - the most succinct and important of which is this: "Government, like fire, is a dangerous servant and a fearful master."
Donald J. Boudreaux
Fairfax, Va.
Chairman, Department of Economics

George Mason University

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