Letters: Wednesday, October 19, 2005
Letters to the Editor

Buckley on Drugs

To the editor: Great article (“Vets Against the [Drug] War,” Sept. 28, 2005). I am surprised that you left William F. Buckley, Mr. Conservative himself, off of the list of folks in favor of drug legalization. His stand, after a while, changed my attitude about drug use and users in general. His solution: pure drugs at the end of each grocery store check-out counter, free, take what you need, provided by government, not sold, taxed, or licensed, etc., not hidden behind the register or in the pharmacy. Distribution, especially a concern for children, would take care of itself — as it now does.

Ben South

Drexel, N.C.

Nailing the War Question

To the editor: Dan McGraw (“War of Words,” Sept. 28, 2005) pretty well nailed the answer to his question: What the heck does “support the troops” mean? It means, of course, that if you do not agree with every insane policy this bunch puts forward, then you are either unpatriotic, a traitor, don’t support the troops, or all of the above. It’s interesting to note that Bush’s still ongoing and completely unnecessary war has lasted longer than it took to defeat both Germany and Japan in World War II. And where is Osama bin Ladin?

I am a retired veteran of WWII combat infantry, so of course I feel for each and every military man or woman who is killed in this unnecessary action. I support them 100 percent, but because I don’t have one of those stupid stickers on my vehicle, I am unpatriotic, in Bush/Rove eyes.

As for Mr. McGraw’s suggestion that the troops themselves speak out, that is not possible when they are on active duty. They are to support the commander-in-chief no matter how much of a nut he is. Speak out against him and, if you are a commissioned officer, be relieved of your duties and be disgraced before the world. If, as an enlisted person, you speak up in front of the wrong people, you face a court-martial. Of course I am speaking of how it was in the army I knew many years ago. In Bush’s army, who knows?

Ed Huddleston

Fort Worth

Katrina’s Chance

To the editor: Your article about Hurricane Katrina (“Après the Déluge,” Oct. 5, 2005) mentioned concerns by our local legislators that Louisiana’s poor would relocate here and stress our social welfare system further than it already is. I hate to ask what seems like an obvious question, but why are they assuming that these people will remain poor?

As devastating as it must be to have your entire life uprooted and your possessions wiped from existence, it does pull you from your comfort zone and force you to re-address everything that makes up your life. A low income forces families into areas with other low-income families, and once you become comfortable in a situation, no matter how bad it is, it becomes difficult to break out of it. Subconsciously you begin to believe that is who you are and that is where you belong.

NPR reported on a low-income family that accepted an offer that moved them to another state, put them in a nice apartment, got them good jobs, and put their kids into good schools. Such a chance having been given to them, I have no doubt that they will be able to maintain that standard of living.

We may choose not to think about it on a regular basis, but we all know that there are many poor people in this country. Often, the perception is that the person brought it on themselves and therefore why should we help them out? While it would be difficult to get the money to “jump start” the lives of these people under ordinary circumstances, it’s a different story in this event. People are much more willing to donate to victims of a disaster, and if the money goes to permanent housing in good areas, encouraging the training and hiring of displaced workers, and getting kids into better schools, many families could come out ahead.

This change won’t happen for everyone. Unfortunately, some people have built their lives around social welfare handouts and will be unable to operate their lives any other way. But for those who have the motivation and commitment, this could provide a rare opportunity to start over on stable financial footing and actually get ahead in life.

Michael Reilly

Fort Worth

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