I was immediately taken by the cover of last week’s LEO Weekly — the picture of a young boy sitting with head between his knees with arms embracing his legs in a fetal position could be my son. My son was severely bullied, ridiculed, teased, abused — whichever term or combination of such — while attending a local middle school. He met with the school counselor on a regular basis. She tried to help, but the problem was too pervasive and, perhaps, overshadowed by the number of students and other problems to tend to. He did not want to go to school, did not want to eat with the other students. This child in LEO Weekly could be my child.
Fortunately for us, unlike for so many other parents and their children, the only exception is that the young boy on which most of the article is based successfully committed suicide — mine did not, although he tried. We’re into some heavy counseling after a period of hospitalization for depression and an eating disorder. The problem exists in Jefferson County Public Schools. It is an ugly, horrible problem, the likes of which I have never seen before in all my own days in school. The cruelty is unbelievable, the hurt immense and overpowering. I have removed my son from the JCPS system to attend a private school.
It is everywhere. It is so very damaging. My serious suggestion: Smaller schools should hold parents responsible and expel the “bullies” on the spot. My son is a wonderful person who’s been very much hurt because he enjoys dance and music. Never would I dream that love of the arts would be basis for a death sentence — but that’s what he was given. As I look at this child on this cover page so very much drawn into himself in total despair, I can’t help but cry, for this could be my son.
Lisa E. Barnese-Walz, Louisville
IRKED BY BERK
I have never read a bad review of an Alejandro Escovedo project until I read Peter Berkowitz’s review about the new CD (LEO Weekly, June 25). I do not understand his reasoning, unless he is just trying to go against the grain. Escovedo is one of the most talented songwriters and singers around. We saw him at Carnegie Hall and numerous times in Louisville. He always has the most talented musicians with him, and his shows and recordings are almost flawless. Berkowitz also says bad things about NPR and its listeners. I do not see where a guy like this belongs writing for LEO. With all due respect, get rid of this guy!
Lary Saltzman, Louisville
GUNS BE GONE
When applying for a U.S. passport, it is interesting to note the applicant, under the “actions or conditions” section, must sign to swear that he/she “has not, since acquiring United States citizenship/nationality … attempt(ed) by force to overthrow, or bear arms against, the United States, or conspire(ed) to overthrow, put down or to destroy by force the Government of the United States.”
Assuming they’ve read the Constitution, formation of a militia to protect against the government is exactly what Carl Brown and his fellow gun lovers claim as their right to gun ownership under the Second Amendment to bear arms (regarding “Guns and defense of country, self and others,” LEO Weekly, June 18). We can see how owning guns in this modern era has lost its actual intent of law as written in the Second Amendment. This amendment’s true intent today in America is to simply allow gun-nuts to keep on being gun-nuts. This is hardly what the Founding Fathers of this country wanted, and why, among all industrialized nations, we lead the world in murders. Let’s get rid of the guns.
Paul Johnson, Louisville
A couple of days ago, I overheard someone say they thought charging $4 a gallon for gas is a sin. I feel a little differently. Gas at these prices makes me think that continuing to pay for it is a sin. I can’t help but get the sense that Americans are missing the point when it comes to the energy crisis. It’s like the idea of driving less and developing better transportation has been put completely on the back burner because all we can think about is getting our cars fueled for less. I think it should be obvious by now that a society that revolves around cars is not what’s best for our future.
Let’s get our priorities straight. Louisville should have a light-rail system. Louisville’s roads should be bike-friendly. If people in Louisville don’t have to drive a car to get from one place to another, then they don’t have to pay for gas. Because the truth is, the price of gas doesn’t have a chance of going down until people start refusing to pay for it.
Jessica Barnett, Louisville
IT’S NOT RIGHTS
I regretfully sent the following letter to Rep. John Yarmuth:
My wife and I have, to date, been very strong supporters of yours. We had intended to give money to your campaign. We intended to volunteer this summer in support of your efforts to defeat Anne Northup. And, naturally, we intended to vote for you.
It is impossible, then, for me to overstate the profound loss and disorientation I felt at reading that you have reversed course and voted for HR 6304, which essentially legalizes the current administration’s criminal infringement on the Fourth Amendment, one of the basic rights granted to all Americans.
I am not one prone to political rigidity or self-righteous grandstanding. In fact, I appreciate the pragmatic elements inherent in politics — what makes it the art of the possible. I also appreciate political strategy and admire those who are able to skillfully neutralize an issue before their opponents can wield it against them as a political weapon.
But there are things that, while vulnerable to the political process, nevertheless exist outside of politics. The fundamental rights that America has promised us are among those. Outside of the struggle for specific policies, which reflect our deeply felt convictions in favor of fairness and opportunity, there exists the right as an American not to be enslaved, or spied on, seized, held, silenced or prevented from participating in our own governance without warrant.
If you truly aspire to support and defend the Constitution of the United States, as you swore an oath to, your unqualified opposition to this odious and unconstitutional scrap of legislation would have been a marvelous — and requisite — affirmation of that oath.
Instead, you have revealed yourself to hold an office for which you do not have the highest regard. Obviously, I cannot vote for such an office-holder. For the past seven years, we’ve endured a president who has no respect for the presidency, and I didn’t vote for him either.
Mark Fasano, Louisville