Walling Off Mexico Re your Mexico-U.S. border fence story: There's another aspect worth examining [June 30]. The illegals come to the U.S. seeking employment. Levying a hefty fine on employers who hire them--and no excuses for doing so--would do a lot toward deterring illegals' entry. No jobs, not so many illegals. And some of those who are here would want to go home. W.B. McLain, YAKIMA, WASH.
Walls do not stop invasions: the ancient Chinese found this out the hard way; the French learned it in World War II; the Israelis are learning it now. The wall we are building to keep out Mexico is a terrible indictment of U.S. failures in diplomacy. It doesn't protect us from the outside; it traps us inside. We need to do better. Jack Kessler, SAN FRANCISCO
"Does America really need to wall itself off?" Think 12 million to 20 million illegal invaders, tons of illegal drugs and more than a thousand associated deaths, just for starters. Then think of the joy of getting our grass cut on the cheap. Does any other country have such high values? Edward Dougherty, FRANKLIN LAKE, N.J.
Alcohol Exposure John Cloud has it right about drinking with family [June 30]. My brother and I were given wine at dinner by my parents at a young age. My sons were raised that way as well. I drank too much once. My boys drink responsibly and never drink and drive. They are now raising their own families, and I expect that when their very young children are a bit older, they will do the same with them. Children obviously learn an enormous amount from their parents; they should have the chance to learn responsible drinking from them as well. Edward Goldberg, ANN ARBOR, MICH.
Journalism Giant Tim Russert, a perfectly authentic human being, ought to be your Person of the Year [June 30]. The Rev. Stanton D. Tate, MERIDIAN, IDAHO
Young and Pregnant Kathleen Kingsbury's opinion--clearly one of distaste for teen mothers--should have been left out of your article, especially her assertion that "perhaps [Gloucester High] has done too good a job of embracing unwed mothers" [June 30]. So if they marry, it's O.K.? Unwed teenage mothers need all the support they can get, and they should be integrated with peers so they can stay in school despite the huge responsibility of raising a child. Another reason to be integrated? So that peers who judge them, as Kingsbury seems to, will perhaps gain some empathy and embrace the concept of community. Anna Moore, CHICO, CALIF.
Black Fathers Michael Dyson seems to point to economic reasons for black men's leaving their children [June 30]. Yet black mothers face the same hardships and do not abandon their children at the same rates. If poverty were the reason, why do we see fathers in Gaza, Honduras and sub-Saharan Africa, some of the poorest areas in the world, staying and supporting families? Barack Obama is right: this issue is a social one with some economic underpinnings, not the other way around. Black churches need to play a strong role in re-establishing the place of fathers in the African-American community, drawing upon a beautiful cultural heritage to forge strong generational bonds that will link fathers to sons. Alyssa Rippy, TULSA, OKLA.
Tibetan Buddhists, Divided Your article "Tibetan idol" makes it appear that Ogyen Trinley Dorje is universally accepted as the 17th Karmapa and, as such, is recognized as the undisputed spiritual leader of the Karma Kagyu lineage, one of the four major lineages of Tibetan Buddhism [June 9]. The authenticity of the "prediction letter" you cite naming Ogyen Trinley Dorje as Karmapa has been widely questioned. In fact, he is one of two spiritual leaders who now lay claim to the title. The other, Trinley Thaye Dorje, also recognized as the 17th Karmapa, visited the U.S. in 2003 and currently draws crowds of thousands when he speaks around the world. Suzan Garner, President, Siddhartha Foundation, SANTA BARBARA, CALIF.
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