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Originally published Monday, May 5, 2008 at 12:00 AM

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Day of Silence

Silence is inappropriate: Teaching cannot be accomplished without the ability to speak

Editor, The Times:

Even though Rev. Ken Hutcherson acted like a jackass with his protest at Mount Si High School, he had a valid point ["Mount Si's gay-rights Day of Silence is far from quiet," Times, Local News, April 25].

There is no way school officials should condone or support a day of silence for any reason. Teaching cannot be accomplished without speaking, and children attend school to learn.

— Gene Davis, Lake Forest Park

Vendetta falls flat

Amazing. The Day of Silence in support of gay and lesbian high-school students has taken place across the country for 13 years and only now does the Rev. Ken Hutcherson focus his hateful attention on Mount Si High School in Snoqualmie. Why now, and why in Snoqualmie? He says "It's personal. They embarrassed me and they embarrassed my daughter."

Hutcherson's taking action because of a personal vendetta against a few teachers, and taking action against high-school students who are exercising their civil rights, is simply appalling. With apologies to his congregation, I do not understand how that sort of attitude is consistent with spiritual leadership.

— Jim Webber, Kirkland

Tragic outcomes

Guns would prevent stabbing deaths

I hope the recent high number of stabbing deaths in the Puget Sound area has not gone unnoticed [e.g., see "Suspect arrested in fatal stabbing at Pioneer Square apartment" Local News, April 23 and "Woman slain with barbecue fork; husband charged," Local News, April 23].

If the attackers had had guns, they might have used them instead of knives or barbecue forks, although it would have attracted more media attention to their crimes. If their victims had had guns as a means of self-defense, the tragic outcomes might have been different.

Evil in one's heart cannot be legislated away by any governing body. Never do we hear about self-defense as a valid reason to own a gun. Having a gun is always associated with a negative outcome by the gun-control crowd.

These recent tragic crimes only strengthen the argument for guns rather than against them. The rational amongst us can only shake our heads at the emotional, irrational argument for gun bans.

— Fred Lovelace, Kirkland

Unification under tyranny

The Olympic games should sustain

"The Games have always brought people together in peace to respect universal moral principles" (Olympic.org). This year, the word "Olympics" can start many conversations that don't involve brilliant athletes and gold medals. It could bring to mind the protesters around the world or the Tibetan oppression ["Activists: China persecuting Buddhist monks in Tibet," News, April 30].

The quote above seems to be contrary to what is happening. It is certainly not moral, but immoral to support a communist state like China, which is oppressing Tibet, by holding an international event on its soil. It is also now uniting people, not under peace, but protest. It is revitalizing to see so many people stand up and voice against this conflict. Finally, citizens are uniting and making a push for justice. I only hope the Olympic Games will go on.

— Preston Mossing, Bothell

Conflicts between philosophies

Intelligent design supports the Bible and evolution

Following the recent responses to Bruce Chapman's commentary ["Define design," Northwest Voices, April 18 and "An intelligent discussion about life," guest commentary, April 17], I remain mystified about the apparent conflict between evolution and the Bible or intelligent design (ID). It is reasonable to say that we will probably never (at least in this world) get a clear understanding of either view.

Whether we do or not, for many years I have been comfortable with the position there is no inherent conflict between the two positions. ID is the power behind both evolution and the Bible.

The Bible is a history, not a science, book. It explains why things happen. Evolution is a science, and like everything we have and do, it is imperfect and explains how things happen.

Why is there, or should there be, a conflict between "how" and "why"? After all, there are far more serious issues we should be discussing.

— Rowan Hinds, Issaquah

How old is too old?

Another old man in office?

Supporters of Republican presidential candidate Sen. John McCain need to ponder the question: Is McCain up to a world crisis? ("Thirteen Days," Robert Kennedy's account of the Cuban Missile Crisis, comes to mind.) McCain appears more a doddering old man than a highly capable and vigorous leader prepared for major world crises.

I respect his service during the Vietnam War but five and a half years as a POW do not make him a hero. Nor do they qualify him as a military expert, as he suggests during campaign speeches -- any more than dropping bombs from 30,000 feet gives him an understanding of and hatred for war.

McCain seems to be a nice old man -- when his temper is under control. But is electing a nice old man for our next president the best we can do? Our next president will be challenged as few others have been as we desperately work to fix our broken government, repair our relations with the world community, institute sorely needed domestic programs (such as universal health care), bring our troops home from Iraq, and focus on defeating real threats to our national security, such as al-Qaida.

McCain has clearly signaled his position on these major policy issues: more of what we have had for the last seven years. Can we really afford to elect him our next president?

— Charles Bickel, Poulsbo

Taking care

Parents caring for disabled children for life

Thank you for "A lifetime of care" [two-part series, page one, April 28], your story on aging parents caring for their adult children with disabilities. As the parent of a teenage daughter with Down syndrome, I found that your article touched on a fear that I think all parents of children with disabilities share: We love our children and want to always be able to protect them, yet at the same time we realize there is a very good chance that they will outlive us.

Your article also addressed the real problem many parents of children who are severely disabled face -- how do they manage to have a life outside the care of their child?

While it is true that there are large backlogs for services for families with special needs, I question the assertion that there is not enough money to eliminate the backlog. As is always the case, it is a question of awareness and priority.

I hope our state government will seriously consider the plight of many families that are struggling to care for their disabled children. Perhaps it is time to re-examine our fiscal priorities when the next state budget is determined.

I consider our family among the lucky ones. Our daughter can read, write, walk, talk, and do most of the things (both good and bad) that any typical teenager can do. She has been a great blessing in our lives. We know many families, however, that have a much more difficult road to travel. Is it too much to ask that the state shoulder a bit of the load on the long journey?

— Keith Harrell, Snohomish

Copyright © 2008 The Seattle Times Company

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