Inbox — March 14, 2012

Letters to the Editor

It’s Not Race, It’s Culture
I worked in JCPS elementary schools for 10 years. I once overheard a principal remark, “The Board wouldn’t let me suspend ________ because they said I already had too many suspensions of black boys.” The truth is that JCPS tries very hard to avoid the appearance suggested by the Feb. 22 LEO Weekly article, “The truth about consequences,” but they are swimming against the tide. The real culprit is the thug culture that is pervasive among the poor, especially African-American poor. This culture is built around behavior that, to the rest of society, is predatory and anti-social.

While it is true that all races and classes engage in bad behavior (and good behavior), it is not true to assume they engage in them in the same proportions. The pie chart that showed 62 percent of high school suspensions are given to African-Americans would have been more revealing if it had included a breakdown of those on free- and reduced-lunch programs. There are many African-American students who never get suspended, and it’s insulting to lump them in with the rest.

When African-American fifth graders are telling classmates, “Snitches die,” when African-American fourth graders are sexually harassing second graders on the bus, when African-American first graders are throwing gang signs in the classroom, the problem is deeper than organizations like the Children’s Law Center would like to admit.

If parents knew what really happens on many JCPS buses and in many JCPS classrooms, most of them would home school. I would have.
Rich Mills, Shawnee

Friends in Both Places
Archbishop Kurtz — speaking of required insurance coverage for contraceptives and sterilizations — says, “People of faith cannot be made second-class citizens.” No danger of that!

I’m an octogenarian and a non-churchgoer. Many well-meaning, self-proclaimed Christians trying to save me from the hell they believe in assume the arrogant position, their position, is intrinsically superior to mine. Their “superior” sense of righteousness should offend me. It doesn’t! Indeed it strengthens my heartfelt conviction that hell does not exist.

I don’t know if it’s appropriate, but I’m reminded of Mark Twain’s comment, “I don’t know if I’m going to heaven or hell, but it doesn’t matter. I have friends in both places.”
Bob Moore, East End

Cut Back Pentagon
At a time when budgets are tight and programs and services in our community are being cut back, the Pentagon budget keeps getting bigger. The secretary of defense announced on Jan. 26 that he plans to slow the rate of growth for the Pentagon budget, but even under this proposal, in 10 years the Pentagon budget would still be bigger than it is today.

I hope that our members of Congress (Sen. “No” McConnell, Sen. Paul and Rep. John Yarmuth) will stick with the current law, which requires the Pentagon to cut its budget by nearly $1 trillion over the next decade — twice what the secretary is proposing.

Over the last decade, the Pentagon budget has grown by 100 percent, DOUBLED in 10 short years. Much of that growth was to pay for at least one unnecessary and illegal war, but a lot of it went right into the Pentagon budget, which promotes a weapons industry producing weapons it does not need, use or even want; and support of more than 700 military bases outside the United States. Right now, we are all having to cut back. The Pentagon should have to as well and is a great place to promote the example of learning to do with less.
James and Carla McMillin, Clifton

Worse of the Worst
Considering Santorum, Gingrich, Romney and Paul …
Which of them is the worse?
Does it matter?
Any of them would be a curse.
Marvin Fleischman, Highlands