Letters to the Editor

Readers write about the war on drugs, the Colombia free-trade bill, and dodgeball.

The war on drugs should focus on curbing demand

In response to the July 3 article, "From a captive in a Colombian jungle, a marriage offer": The article reports on the suffering of the families of those who are held hostage, as well as the hostages themselves.

The suffering and the costs of the ill-conceived drug war go far beyond this. Here in the United States, prisons are overcrowded, due partly to the imprisonment of drug users and drug addicts. Abroad, the drug war has created civil wars, as in Colombia.

The high prices of illegal drugs on the black market encourage farmers around the world to grow crops from which drugs are made. This contributes not only to starvation in some countries but also to civil wars. Afghanistan grows more poppy plants for opium than any other country in the world, and the money has been used to finance insurgents and terrorist attacks.

The drug war was ill conceived in the first place, because the problem is people who use illegal drugs. The solution is to understand and change the conditions that cause people to feel the need to change their moods or to escape sobriety by entering into drug-induced altered states of consciousness.

James M. Murphy
New York

US should embrace friendly nations

Regarding the July 3 article, "Detainees in Cuba: shorter wait?": We have an example of detainees at Guantánamo being given full rights before the courts in America. These people swore an oath to kill all infidels (non-Muslims) on sight. Now, after the Supreme Court ruling, the US military has its hands tied in fighting the war on terror. Something is wrong with this picture in my humble opinion.

On the other side, we have three Americans, one French-Colombian, and 11 Colombian nationals held as hostages by FARC in jungles for more than five years. American intelligence agencies and military forces helped the Colombian government troops liberate these people through training and commitment to help as a friendly government. However, our Democratic Party refuses to sign a free-trade bill with the Colombian government.

I do not understand why we reward terrorists with American rights and then spit on a friendly government that we are helping and is friendly to Americans.

Gene Guffey
Gebüg, Germany

The benefits of dodgeball

Regarding Gay Buttenheim Maxwell's July 3 Opinion piece, "Fitness beyond dodgeball": I agree with the author that physical education courses should develop lifelong fitness, but I do not think dodgeball is the awful game she makes it out to be. The dodgeball played today is usually a kinder, gentler version than what was played 10 to 20 years ago. The balls that most schools use are Gator Skin® Dodgeballs. These balls are soft foam with a soft but durable coating. I have never seen anyone be hurt by these balls.

It has been my observation that students become bored with other activities much more quickly than with dodgeball. Dodgeball is a fun activity for most involved and keeps kids physically active for a longer period than many other activities offered.

Before a person throws the baby out with the bath water, he or she should find out how the activity is taught and played. This does not just apply to dodgeball, but any activity that your child may have a complaint about at school. There may be benefits from the activity that may not be apparent. If you have a concern, contact the teacher before you make your conclusions.

David L. DeSmet
Dayton, Ore.

Physical science and human anatomy instructor, Dayton High School

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 may appear in print or on our website, Mail letters to Readers Write and Opinion pieces to Opinion Page, 210 Massachusetts Avenue, Boston, MA 02115. E-mail letters to Letters and Opinion pieces to OpEd.

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