Letters to the editor: Feb. 25, 2018


Re: Feb. 21 article, “15-year-old student shot 5 times protecting classmates from gunfire.”

Evidence over feelings. Shouldn’t the American people rally behind this mantra with pride? Isn’t this a hill worth dying on for the safety of our children?

I am a junior in high school — and the reality of my life is that I live in a country with more school shootings than the rest of the planet combined. This is terrifying. But more than this, it’s infuriating. In America’s tireless defense of constitutional rights, gun reform takes a backseat while children continue to be slaughtered.

Evidence does not lie. And the evidence is screaming. Every other country does not encounter these problems. Are Americans just more homicidal? I don’t believe that. Are countries this large bound to have mass shootings? Look at China, Russia and Europe.

The children of America and myself live under the threat of murder in our own classrooms. What are you going to do about it?

NICKOLI BENKERT, CEDAR PARK

In the wake of the Florida shooting, many people are calling for the government to solve the problem. While there certainly are different gun laws and mandates that need reworking to better protect our communities, the solution doesn’t rest entirely upon Washington.

We as a society — and especially in our own communities — need to ban together and seek out those in suffering, whether physical or emotional, and try to help them. This doesn’t mean we should all become the next Mother Teresa, giving up our lives to help the poor and needy, but it does mean that we should look to help those who are struggling.

As a junior in high school, I especially see how easy it is for someone to become ostracized from the community. While some people might say it’s not their responsibility or problem, when someone like Nikolas Cruz strikes out, it becomes everyone’s problem.

RALEIGH DEWAN, AUSTIN

Re: Feb. 21 article, “Instant access to news may scar some children.”

This is our world. Keeping children in the dark about these unfortunate events is not an option. It is imperative that we educate adolescents about the unfortunate realities of American life.

As a student at a private school, I’ve spent most of my life being shielded from the “real world” — and I’ve worked very hard to make up for my 11 years of political blindness. News exists in many forms, including social media. Real-time first-person updates regarding school shootings are the reason that my peers and I are so passionate about today’s political scene.

It’s incredibly dangerous to hide the truth for fear of emotional damage. It’s supposed to scar us. We’re supposed to be upset. That’s the point. That’s the reason that we are going to be the generation that actually does something about it.

DEAN JORDAN, CEDAR PARK

Re: Feb. 21 commentary, “Three thoughts for Texas on spending emissions settlement.”

T. Boone Pickens makes a lot of sense. Texas’ portion of the fine that Volkswagen will pay for cheating on emissions tests should go to medium- and heavy-duty natural gas vehicles for all the reasons Pickens stated: getting the most value out of the award, demonstrating the feasibility of cleaner alternative fuel trucks in rural areas and boosting the Texas economy.

Especially if natural gas producers capture emissions at the well head, natural-gas vehicles are the right choice now. Heavy-duty natural-gas vehicles can help bridge the coming era of market-based solutions to reduce carbon emissions. With carbon fee programs — hopefully with fair dividends to all citizens like the proposal of Citizen’s Climate Lobby and other groups — natural-gas vehicles will be cheaper and cleaner to operate when all costs are considered.

CYNTHIA LESKY, AUSTIN

Regarding the city of Austin’s new policy on sick leave: I am neutral; neither for nor against it.

But it is very ironic that Gov. Greg Abbott and Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick are so adamant against what the federal government tries to tell the state of Texas what it can or cannot do and then turn around and treat the city of Austin the very same was, trying to tell the city what to do.

LEO O. MUELLER JR., AUSTIN

As a Republican, I am concerned with the latest tactics of our lieutenant governor. As I dutifully went to early voting on the Republican ballot, there was Proposition 6: Texas should protect the privacy and safety of women and children in spaces such as bathrooms, locker rooms, and showers in all Texas schools and government buildings.

Who would vote “no” to such a proposition unless you know the ulterior motive is to attempt to pass the bathroom bill that failed in the Legislature last year. The reason it failed was:

• There is and never has been a safety issue in public bathrooms due to gay or transgender people using their bathroom of choice. Not one incident.

• We have been advised by major corporations and various national sporting events they would not come to Texas if the bill becomes law.

HENRY FELDMAN, CEO MARTIN FELDMAN HOSPITALITY, SAN ANTONIO

The #MeToo movement is a wonderful vindication for women who’ve been sexually abused provided the accusations are accurate and not used for political purposes. Without codifying what constitutes sexual harassment, we as a society are in danger of becoming paranoid over every little glance and touch.

On Feb. 1, Richard Buckley, maestro at Austin Opera, was hastily fired without specifics in what smacked of a political power play. Several women came forward claiming Buckley had given them unwelcome shoulder rubs or long, although public, hugs. Does what was meant as a humorous remark or an affectionate gesture warrant firing someone? Aren’t there better ways to deal with such a situation — for instance, communication between all parties? Without becoming clear on the truly dangerous, ugly and sordid acts that constitute abuse, we run the risk of entering scary, Kafkaesque times.

NICOLE JEFFORDS, AUSTIN



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