(3 of 4)
Why are we surprised by schoolyard bullying? We live in a society in which bullies win--the macho cops, cowboys and action figures of movies and TV. George W. Bush bosses the world around. We describe overbearing behavior in adults as strong, decisive leadership; in children, we call it bullying. Those who seek the cause of bullying need look no further than the tough guys our society views as role models.
New York City
Kids who choose to buck traditional fashion or behavior norms had better learn to tolerate stares, taunts and other public disdain. Those who dress idiosyncratically do so to make a statement and may not be received in lovey-dovey, p.c. ways. As a parent who encourages individuality, I suggest that if your child says he or she is being bullied, do more than empathize. Look into the situation before reporting the antagonist. There are at least two sides to every story.
BARBARA GOODMAN SHOVERS
No Place Like Home
Re your article on crackdowns on teen drinking in private homes [April 18]: Underage drinking is a serious problem. To solve it, however, kids need to develop a respect for and knowledge of alcohol. I certainly was not permitted to drink at will in my home, but I was allowed to have occasional parties. Parents should show kids how to drink alcohol responsibly at home.
Isn't anyone else uneasy about law-enforcement officers coming into one's home on the mere suspicion that underage drinking is going on? Undeniably, teen drinking in the home should not be condoned by parents. But the puritanical agenda being forced on this country by various special-interest groups has gone far enough.
MICHAEL R. PETERSON
I was outraged by Michelle Cottle's article, in which she confessed she wasn't much of an environmentalist until now, when she is pregnant [April 18]. What selfishness! Is it all right then to destroy the environment as long as it affects only those who are out of the womb? Preserving the environment has to be humankind's top priority at all times. Conserving what we have requires a careful balancing of benefits and costs, plus modulated change. With allies like Cottle, who needs enemies?
Cottle's essay was absolutely delightful. While I am neither a strong environmentalist nor pregnant, I was genuinely impressed by her gracious mix of humor and wit as she addressed a subject that has proved to be a true political lightning rod in our country.
Of Royals and Nuptials
Re the photograph of the wedding of Prince Charles and Camilla Parker Bowles [April 18]: Camilla would have been more tastefully dressed if she had not been wearing white or something awfully close to it, and her broad-brimmed hat looked like a lampshade
JOY D. KOCH
Taytay, the Philippines