Letters to the Editor

From the week of October 11, 2001

We are "programmed" to believe that America can buy special privileges. For instance, how different is our military presence in the Mideast than Russia or China patroling the Gulf of Mexico or the Hamptons? We want it our way -- and we want it both ways. Military intelligence?

At the risk of sounding un-American, frenzied patriotism is naive in this new world. You and I did not write the new rules. Millions of Americans could die before our leaders, big money and private interests get it!

Bombing embassies in Africa and the terrorist actions in New York and Washington, D.C., did not get our leaders off of their deadly position. Just what is it going to take, a dose of anthrax? This gullible society will not even talk about the root cause of our international problems -- which will not just go away until we use some common sense.

Naive 1941 bravado is demanding retaliation. We don't have a vote. The immediate danger in this country must be "handled" -- but it should be handled not like a John Wayne movie, but a John Gotti movie. No media, no hype -- just quietly get it done.

H. Matzen

A Real Gift

The brains of the operation: Please accept my belated congratulations on Harrison Fletcher's "Touched by an Angel" in the September 6 issue. Even though I do not have children, I appreciated the profile of Linda Silverman.

But I especially enjoyed the accompanying story, "Playing Doctor," about the eight-year-old surgeon. What are those parents thinking?

Lesley Ridder
via the Internet

A family affair: I just want to thank you for Harrison Fletcher's wonderful article about Linda Silverman. My family is one of the many that she has touched peripherally but affected profoundly.

My daughter was eleven when we chanced to meet Linda at a conference of the Florida Association for the Gifted. We felt like aliens there until we encountered Linda. That weekend Linda insisted that my daughter's IQ be tested, despite her advanced age. A few months later I consulted with Linda about the results of that test. (It had been done in New York in order to avoid the expense of a trip to Denver.)

When Linda Silverman uses the word "impossible" to describe a child's abilities, most parents cry. Indeed, she handed me a box of tissues along with her opinion. I argued instead. Her calm response showed her extensive experience with gifted children and ex-children.

We live in New York now and see Linda only occasionally. Still, her research and her writing allow us to view ourselves as "normal." This is a priceless gift that Linda has given to us and to so many other families like ours.

Sherry Pittle
Hartsdale, New York

The good doctor: Thank you for writing a wonderful and balanced article on Dr. Silverman, the person responsible for my son's happiness today. But for her, we would never have understood him.

Dr. Urmi Ashar
Imperial, Pennsylvania

Treat Dreams

You dumb biscuit! I think it is a travesty that Melanie Haupt, the author of your article about the Disco Biscuits ("Tasty Treat," September 20), insists on stereotyping their fans. While many people who do watch the Biscuits may use illegal substances, there are also many of us who are completely drug-free. I, for one, am a high school counselor who is drug-free and always telling my students about the fun you can have without drugs. Many of them know that I see the Disco Biscuits a lot. What if they were to read such an article and become convinced that their role model was a drug user? That would be horrible for all involved.

Anyway, generalizations are not so bad when you're not accusing people of being pacifier-chomping ecstasy heads. There are plenty of us who are real people, with real jobs and responsibilities. Music just happens to be our passion and a release/focus of our energy. There is no reason why we should be labeled as drug users for that.

Name withheld on request

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