Feedback 11/18 

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In the wake of Paris, 'Why?'

Paris was held hostage last week. A football stadium was rocked by explosives. A cafe was ripped apart by machine-gun fire. A theater was turned into a bloodbath.

To be candid, I really do not care if this was orchestrated by ISIS, Al Qaeda in Yemen, the Russians, the French government, the CIA, the IDF, or some unknown entity. Murder is murder. It does not matter who is pulling the trigger or detonating the bombs. Death is death.

Until we stop asking who did it and start asking why it continues to happen, we will always be entrapped in this hellish cycle of karmic retribution. What difference does it make if the authors of this heinous crime slaughtered innocent civilians in the name of Allah, God, Jesus, the Buddha, Stalin, national security, or any other symbol? There is no end that can justify these means.

A targeted assassination in Syria is as sinful as a subway massacre in London. Torture in an American prison cell is the same as torture in an Egyptian prison cell. Whether the flesh is mutilated in Mumbai, bombarded in Boston, or burned in Palestine, it cries out for mercy. Call it a terrorist strike or a drone strike, the flesh cries out for mercy!

Furthermore, I do not want to hear about the need to bring these terrorists to justice. The killing will never cease until people stop seeking justice. The same justice which beheads with a sword can also paralyze with poison, strangle with gas, hang with a rope, or slice open with a bullet. Death is death. Murder is murder.

The heart stops whether it is penetrated by steel or fried with electricity. Call it waterboarding or enhanced interrogation, it is all the same. The brain stops. The blood runs. The eyes go blank.


'Red' review was well done

What a pleasure it was for me to read Rebecca Rafferty's review of the play "Red" (Art, October 28), an essay that helps us understand the play and its context and ideas in such a way as to entice us into the theater.

I live in the Southern Tier and do not often see a copy of City, but if most of the articles are as well-composed as this one, then I am missing something fine.


Wegmans warrior fights back

Lighten up, Baltimorean Expat (Feedback, November 4)! Your creative (and very personal) list of "Best Places to Take an Out-of-Towner," instead of the "people's choice" of Wegmans (Best of Rochester, October 28), has all the excitement and fun of a lecture on political correctness or PR boosterism.

I won't be taking any guests at dawn to High Falls, thank you, or trawling the old subway bed at any time of day. Graves in Mt. Hope might be a hard sell for a lot of visitors, too.

Sorry, but I don't know any of those earnest and multi-tasking people you know at local social services projects who might be so much fun as city guides (not).

But for welcoming, caring, community-driven people, I can think of no better than those I hear about and find at Wegmans, who do so much to support the community as well as to train their personnel to pay attention to the customer in a consistently friendly way: the real reason I go there.

And all that food, so attractively displayed; we all gotta eat.


Missouri president was railroaded

I believe that some sort of commentary is in order on the Missouri matter because of the wide publicity it has been accorded.

The head of a school of higher learning has been forced to resign because of real or imagined racial insensitivity. There was an alleged incident of a feces-swastika drawn on a restroom wall, but of course it wasn't caught on camera.

Honestly, based on the information that has been provided, I think that the university president was railroaded out of his job.

Some folks like to throw the word "racism" around as a way of making excuses. In Missouri's case, it's being used as a cudgel to deprive this person of an income. It does appear at least to me that he is a victim of a high-tech lynch mob, of people who allow themselves to be swept up without thinking things through.


Scared of what Republicans will do

I am genuinely scared by the Republican presidential candidates. I believe they are all social Darwinists who want to abolish all government social programs that help people, especially Social Security. I have been baffled by why liberal Democrats have not pointed this out.

I wrote to over 100 senators and Congress people, all liberal Democrats, and asked them why they aren't educating the people about this fact. I received only four responses. The only explanation I have received that had the ring of truth was when someone told me, "They take letters like yours and immediately throw them into the wastebasket. If you enclosed a check for $1,000, then they would have responded."

I've always believed that government should help people who need help, who are trying to help themselves, who are willing to live responsibly, and who give something back to society in return for the assistance.

I don't want to see Social Security slashed. I don't want unemployment insurance, student loans, Medicare, and Medicaid abolished. I'm convinced that this is what the Republicans really intend to do.


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