When news broke out about the movie massacre in Aurora, Colo., last July 20, my 8-year-old son boycotted the movies for four months. Last Dec. 14, the mass shootings happened at Sandy Hook Elementary. Here we go again, I thought. How do I explain this one?
My son didn’t boycott going to school. He kept going and never mentioned Sandy Hook Elementary, except at Christmas. He mentioned how sad the parents must be to not have Christmas with their kids. I understood that he had not chosen to ignore the incident but internalize it. Again, I felt helpless.
A few months passed by, and my older son took to running. Then the unthinkable: another mass killing. The venue: the Boston Marathon. Not again, I thought. Not this venue. An 8-year-old was killed? How do I explain this? “I don’t want to watch the news,” he said after he came home from school. Then it occurred to me. His generation will have to contend with this style of terror. How will they handle this?
I’m the mom of two beautiful boys. I worry how I will handle delivering future news stories to them. I will remember the words of the talented Fred Rogers. “When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, ‘Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.’ ” In times of terror, I will tell them to always remember those who help, those who care and those who will make a difference in changing the world’s direction towards peace.
Palm Beach Gardens
Attack shows need
for stronger security
The events in Boston show how weak our efforts at protecting our citizens really are.
We live in a free society, where individual rights trump the public good. If law enforcement was able to wiretap and investigate “persons of interest” without interference, most of these tragic events could be nipped in the bud. People with no intention of harming our citizens or our country have nothing to fear from closer scrutiny. Many threats to New York City were stopped while the perps were still building their bomb in New Jersey.
The sooner we accept the fact that we live in a dangerous world, and agree to reasonable trade-offs, the sooner we will have fewer of these events occurring on our soil.
West Palm Beach
Don’t let enemy
live within borders
When the perpetrators of this heinous act in Boston are determined, it is time that America acted in a manner consistent with its founding principles. Enough turning the other cheek. Enough diplomacy before action. Enough pussyfooting with an enemy. It is not like operating in the dark.
The government knows full well the identity of the enemy. To allow this enemy to exist on the world scene is one thing. To allow it to exist within our borders is unforgivable. Do something about the sorry state into which this country has fallen.
West Palm Beach
In 2001, when the first World Trade Center tower was burning and before the second airplane hit, I said to my wife that President Bush and all world leaders should refer to the perpetrators only as “lunatic murderers” or just “crazies.” Labeling these acts as “terrorism” simply glorifies and reinforces the action.
Horrific acts are only terrorism if we are terrified by them. If we cannot turn on the news without enduring hours of repeated coverage of a bomb act, then the nut job responsible achieved his goal.
To draw connections between Ryan Rotela’s response to the “step on Jesus” exercise what could have happened to prevent the atrocities of Nazi Germany, as a writer did Monday, is ahistorical and wrongheaded.
This line of thinking misses the point of the exercise: that symbolic discourse is remarkably powerful, powerful to the point of constraining physical action. The exercise is anything but an attempt to reduce symbols like the swastika to the level of a pencil drawing, as the writer suggests.
Furthermore, Mr. Rotela is not a persecuted minority as the Jews were under Hitler. Nor is his position analogous to those few brave and righteous non-Jews who spoke out against the regime at their own peril. Moreover, to describe the so-called “Final Solution” as an “academic experiment,” as this writer does, is to accept the Nazi perversion of academic discourse.
The wanton and wholesale murder of the Jewish people had support — explicit and complicit — in the university to be sure, but in no way should be understood as an academic pursuit any more than Josef Mengele’s torture and murder of concentration camp inmates should be understood as legitimate medical science.
West Palm Beach
End subsidies for
Bravo to Frank Cerabino for his column “Boca’s reaction to airport cuts doesn’t fly,” but he was too kind and left out all other private planes that should not be subsidized by all of us.
These planes are mainly used by the super-rich and corporations. I would guess that we also subsidize their fuel and maintenance in addition to their taxes, the cost of which they deduct. These so called business flights are shameless abuse of the tax system. Great work, Frank. I look forward to your column daily.
FAU stadium reversal:
democracy at work
Congratulations to the Florida Atlantic University community for overturning a “done deal” and succeeding in having The GEO Group withdraw its bid to have its football stadium named GEO Group Stadium. The FAU community exercised its rights under the First Amendment. This was a great example of democracy in action.
FAU exercise showed
falsity of symbolism
A high school teacher in South Carolina extols the glory and grandeur of being an American while stomping on the American flag. A Florida Atlantic University instructor holds a “step on Jesus” exercise.
Why did these people do these things? Was it disrespect? Of course not. It was merely to demonstrate the falsity of symbolism. Symbolism destroys the core principles of those things we believe in, whether secular or religious. When symbolism becomes more important than the principles we believe in, we are on the wrong track.
Love of God, country or anything else we love and believe in cannot be diminished because someone destroys the symbol. If you think I am wrong, think back to our outrage at Muslims who riot because of perceived desecration of the Quran or insults to the prophet. We damn them for their outrage but we feel the same offense when it is one of those things we hold dear.
Why don’t we realize that those lessons will never destroy our love, and just move on. If you disagree with these teachers, don’t attend their classes.
Scott pick wrong
for WMD board
Regarding “Two new members appointed to water management board,” following on what had promised to be a boon to Everglades restoration, passage of House Bill 7065, comes a boneheaded move on the part of Gov. Rick Scott.
I refer to the appointment of the vice president of the King Ranch, Mitchel A. Hutchcraft, as the chairman of the South Florida Water Management District board. Talk about letting the fox into the hen house. HB 7065 provides for funding to clean up Big Sugar’s pollution of the waters flowing into the Everglades. That is wonderful and welcomed. However, now sitting at the helm of the district will be someone securely entrenched with the financial interests of the Everglades Agricultural Area (EAA). What can we expect in dry years when Big Sugar clamors for more water, or in wet years when the fields are flooded and they need to dump the nutrient-laden water fast?
The vice president of a Big Sugar company as the chairman of the South Florida Water Management District. This might be the new definition of oxymoron.
J. WILLIAM LOUDA
Editor’s note: J. William Louda is senior scientist with the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry at Florida Atlantic University.