The 7/7 bombings are not Britain's 'Columbine'
I find little in Brendan O'Neill's June 5 Opinion piece, "Understanding Britain's 7/7 attacks," to support his thesis that Britain's attacks were unlikely to have had any connection to Al Qaeda but more probably resembled America's Columbine incident. Any similarity requires a real stretch.
London's bombings were carried out not by two disturbed teenagers in a high school, but across a city by a group of religiously committed adults. To delink the bombers from their religious ties or leaders appears to be an effort to avoid facing an inconvenient truth. Britain may have dysfunctional high school students, but the real threat to the nation comes from religious fundamentalists who get their motivation from home-grown imams and their followers. Why Britons would want to sweep this growing threat under a rug called "Columbine" I cannot understand.
Brendan O'Neill's analysis of the London suicide bombings fails to mention a possible motive of the bombers: retaliation against Prime Minister Tony Blair for his support for the US invasion of Iraq. Mr. Blair's support for the US exacerbated tension and dissent within Islamic communities in Britain. Such dissent could have provoked the attacks in London. Blair is reluctant to acknowledge any link between British intervention in Iraq and the terrorist attacks, but many British citizens have reached a different conclusion.
I was taken aback by your unusually emotional June 2 editorial, "Save the whales - by not buying Japanese." Instead of producing counterevidence against Japan's argument that many whale species have recovered, your editorial labels it as "suspect." Without suggesting that the parties have a sober discussion, as Japan wishes, your editorial agitates for a boycott of Japanese products. This is not a sensible way to deal with an issue that involves a democracy such as Japan, which remains open to information and campaigns from abroad. The tactics that your editorial suggests using may be suitable as a last resort in trying to influence a government that closes its doors to democracy and the free flow of information.
Thank you for your brave and compassionate editorial calling for a boycott of Japanese products. Consumer pressure is a powerful weapon. I hope we can force the Japanese to give up their attempt to fully resume the slaughter of whales.
I agree with John Funk's June 5 Opinion piece, "Pre-K success depends on teachers," that higher wages are needed to attract degree-educated preschool teachers. Until we meet these criteria, we will never achieve the bench marks set for effective prekindergarten. When will lawmakers listen to what our elders have been telling us all along? In Florida, a group of 50-plus adults, Seniors4Kids, have organized to convince Florida policymakers to transform existing pre-K programs into high quality programs aligned with national standards. High quality pre-K means that there are teachers with bachelor's degrees, appropriate assessment tools, and improved reimbursement rates. These seniors have taken on this fight because it helps all children. It's quite simply the right thing to do.
Donna M. Butts
Executive director, Generations United
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