Letters to the editor: March 14, 2018

Re: March 5 article, “Austin school board member says Stephen F. Austin and James Bowie each promoted slavery.”

In deciding which names to change regarding slave-owning and fighting for the Confederacy, we need to be careful not to too strictly impose today’s morals on people from past centuries.

When the dire effects of global climate change have taken their toll half a century from now, the debate may well revolve around whether the names of oilmen and auto dealers should remain on public institutions. Think New York’s Rockefeller Center — and the University of Texas’ Sid Richardson Hall and McCombs School of Business.


For decades, there have been multiple attempts to require welfare applicants to work, such as the Work Incentive Program, which was created in 1967 by Congress.

In rural or urban areas, there must be public transportation, because these people are poor and cannot afford cars. They cannot walk miles in winter or summer to their jobs.

There must be child care, because if a small child is sick, then the mother has to stay home, because she will not have money to pay for child care. Then, if the mother doesn’t go to work, she is fired. Back to square one.

Transportation and child care must be solved first.


Re: March 4 commentary, “How would the U.S. secure time and money to arm teachers?

Barbara Frandsen’s commentary makes a good argument against this recently proposed piece of ridiculousness. However, it doesn’t adequately address the absolute absurdity of the notion. To do this, all we need to do is ask a series of questions.

Could it be ensured that Little Johnny isn’t going to pick up some negligent teacher’s gun at some point and accidentally shoot himself or one of his classmates? Would an armed teacher be able to draw and fire before a semi-automatic weapon can unload on their classroom? Would whatever pea-shooter a teacher could procure be able to compete with the raw power of an AR-15?

The answer to these three questions is probably “no,” “almost certainly no” and “definitely no.” We could ask several more questions. But do we really need to?


Re: March 7 article, “Trump administration lifts elephant trophy ban.”

Chalk up another win for the National Rifle Association. Now, the trophy hunters get to compete with poachers to see who can slaughter the most of this largest living terrestrial animal.

There were about 100,000 African elephants killed between 2010 and 2012, according to the article. A century ago, the estimated population of African elephants was 5 million. That number is now down to about 400,000. It is time to make the African elephant population great again.


How can one minute of silence be all that is required of us in the wake of hellish, killing rampages like those of Sandy Hook, Ct., and Parkland, Fla.? How can we, as Christians, merely bow our heads in submission?

Christians — many in positions of leadership, and others, — vehemently speak out against taking the life of a fetus. Yet, when another school massacre occurs, there is no lasting outrage over the shortened lives of 5-, 10- and 15-year-old children. Do they even count?

How many Christians believe that the right to own military assault weapons, bump stocks, cartridge belts with numerous clips, and the failure to require background checks are more in keeping with their Christian values than any attempt to prevent deaths of innocent children? How many more heart-wrenching massacres must it take before Christians stop permitting the National Rifle Association to be their voice?


Re: Feb. 25 article, “Amid privacy concerns, ‘virtual’ wall brings powerful spy tech to border.”

It is hard to imagine how the use of drones on the border wouldn’t lead us into a dystopia.

To the proponents who feel that this move is “less intrusive” than Trump’s towering physical wall: What about the intrusion into the lives of every human who crossed paths with a drone? What about the software that would immediately associate your face with every bad thing you’ve ever done? If you had a criminal history, your face would send a simple message to the software: bad.

The Trump administration has done an outstanding job reducing humans into the categories “good” and “bad.” The undocumented immigrants are “bad” — and the president, of course, is “good” for wanting to keep them out. But reducing immigrants to their pasts and online histories ignores their humanity. It is an egregious violation of privacy and consent. It is not “good.” Let us not continue this trend.


Re: Feb. 25 article, “Giving City: Need cited for providing foster parent info in Spanish.”

It is an embarrassment that the Austin region is the only region in Texas to not offer training sessions in Spanish.

I can understand the desire for intimacy as the motivation for avoidance of major marketing in agency recruitment strategies. Nonetheless, reliance on word-of-mouth runs the risk of excluding families who are wanting to provide loving homes, yet simply speak another language.

Even more disgraceful is that one of the reasons cited for this lack is that they hadn’t been requested. Given the demographic breakdown of the Austin region, it seems suspect that Spanish-language services are not provided on this basis. At best, this tactic demonstrates a lack of community insight on these agencies’ parts. At worst, it is exclusionary and disingenuous to the principles these agencies claim to embody.

Foster-care services in Austin need to do better. I’m hopeful this collaborative will begin this process.


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