by Inlander Readers & r & Boxing Bob & r & Robert Herold ("Get the Ear Boxers," 714/05) asks us to forgive Joseph Weitensteiner for the physical abuse that many allege occurred at Morning Star Boys Ranch. According to Herold, "anyone over age 60 ... has stories to tell of being on the bad end of such punishment." Maybe Weitensteiner was just a man of his times.
Herold is inclined to make something of a good thing of the abuse he received in private schools and military academies. He even suggests that this sort of hardening helped us to win World War II.
Inasmuch as Herold appeals to historical context, he is wrong to surmise that "spare the rod and spoil the child" was a premise first questioned in our time. Through much of the 19th century, enlightened souls argued against corporal punishment. Teachers, school boards and the clergy, however, customarily claimed that children are born wicked and simply need to have the tar beaten out of them so that they become good citizens. For more than a century, they usually prevailed.
If Herold finds that a little abuse helped to toughen him, I judge him to be luckier than several friends whose parents sent them to Catholic schools where they were beaten and humiliated by priests and nuns. Far into their adulthood, they are still trying to understand how parents who gave every other sign of loving them could have betrayed them so badly.
My father, born on the Russian New Year in 1900, was rather hard of hearing for his entire life in the ear his father had regularly boxed. But my father never boxed my ears. I went to public schools in the 1940s and '50s where I was never beaten -- either by my teachers or by my fellow students. Students made dark references in one or another school to the paddle in the principal's office, but I have no knowledge that such a paddle was ever used.
It is not quite right for Herold to suggest that "anyone over age 60" will have stories to tell of physical abuse in school. I don't. It may take many decades for a cultural change to run its course, but public schools in many places had largely abandoned corporal punishment 60 years ago. Maybe Joseph Weitensteiner didn't notice.
Wayne B. Kraft
Quitters Never Prosper & r & Personally, I applaud Jim West. If justice is in order, it will be achieved in due time. Our elected officials are aware of the problem and it is being handled. Where is your faith? If you lack the faith, then perhaps your efforts should be aimed at changing the system rather than taking justice into your own hands. "Step down!" -- such bullying b.s. is immature and disruptive to our judicial process. The people elected West and he should be allowed to serve the people until decided otherwise. Why should he just step aside? Quitters never achieve anything, and if we all went through life allowing ourselves to be bullied by a bunch of bottom-feeders we wouldn't amount to much.
I appreciate Jim West's efforts to fix our roads. He is a fighter! He has fought his way through cancer once, and he's willing to do it again all while under the scrutiny of impatient, noncontributing citizens. I wouldn't want any less of a fighter in my corner. I am proud of his efforts, and until his actions are proven otherwise, beyond a reasonable doubt, our community should contribute nothing but support for his full recovery and continued efforts as our mayor. We've all made mistakes and we are never the same person we were five, 10 or 20 years ago.
China Syndrome & r & I would be the last person to defend the foreign-policy acumen or anything else concerning the Bush administration, but misinformation such as that in the letter of Kelly Brown (7/21/2005) casts little useful light on a subject (China) that is all too easy to politicize for the wrong reasons. First of all, IBM has not been "sold to China." IBM sold its personal computer business only, a very small piece of the IBM empire which it could not seem to figure out how to run anyway and which contained nothing remotely approaching "strategic computer technology." Whether Bush (or any other president) has the power to do anything about foreign investment or acquisition of any U.S. company is a subject of much debate in Washington and elsewhere, but in the case of China, it is a reactionary stance that completely misses the much larger forces at work.
China is a looming presence that will have an increasing impact on the entire world's economy, and there is nothing that one country or even several together are going to be able to do about it. China has more than 100 cities of more than a million people, hosts an emerging middle class that already approximates the size of entire population of the United States, and put 14,000 new automobiles on its roads -- every day -- in the first three-quarters of 2004. How we choose to deal with China in the coming years is the single most critical foreign policy matter for the United States and the rest of the world. Staying at home and building artificial barriers is not the answer. & ordm;For a fascinating and absorbing if somewhat anecdotal analysis of this issue, I recommend Ted C. Fishman's book China, Inc.
Groene Groaning & r & Shame on you for printing the tabloid article about the horrors that the Groene kids went through. Please don't stoop to those lows again. Our modern-day life is full enough of bad-human things without elaborating on the monstrously horrendous crime that occurred in our backyard.
Walla Walla, Wash.
Seeing Red & r & Although no WMDs were found in Iraq, as many hypocritical liberals said there would be, including, Democratic senators who voted for the war, Hillary Clinton (2002), Ted Kennedy (2002), John Kerry (2002 and 2003), and oh yes, Bill Clinton (1998) himself, Iraq was and is necessary in the war on terrorism.
As Hillary Clinton stated in October 2002, "intelligence reports show that Saddam Hussein has worked to rebuild his chemical and biological weapons stock ... and his nuclear program. He has given aid, comfort, and sanctuary to terrorists, including Al Qaeda members... will continue to increase his capacity to wage... warfare, and will keep trying to develop nuclear weapons."
As our heroic military continues to fight Al Qaeda, al-Zawahiri and Islamic terrorists in Iraq, rather than America where terrorists seek to strike again, all liberals can do is criticize the war, president and even our military, rather than recognize their accomplishments of removing this threat.
As the recent terrorist attacks in Britain and Spain have shown, Islamic terrorists will not stop until the American way of life is gone. How many people have to die by Islamic terrorists before liberals finally get it? When will they admit the only good terrorist -- or, as they're known on the left, "freedom fighters" -- is a dead terrorist?
Maybe shameless liberal hypocrites will someday realize that the rhetoric they are producing is only hurting their numbers at the polls as evidenced in the last election. Until liberals support the United States and the military rather than shamelessly and dangerously continuing to undermine them, they will continue to further alienate their supporting base and turn the country further red.