Preventing crime requires addressing small offenses as well as major problems
In response to the letter writer who feels that cops should concentrate solely on drug dealers and murderers, not someone parking a car in his own yard; addressing serious crime and disorder should be a priority for any government agency that has that responsibility.
But we need to recognize that such agencies serve multiple aims, and programs that address small problems can curtail the larger ones and are the cornerstone of an overall strategy of crime prevention and maintaining a healthy looking and safe community.
Parking on the front yard where the homeowner has provided a hard surface for such is not obtrusive, but otherwise, it doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out that it will eventually turn into a mudhole. This type of decay in a neighborhood can raise the public's fear of crime beyond the level that crime rates alone may seem to support.
Attempts to minimize this matter is contradictory for it has an insidious way of lowering our standards and serves as a catalyst for what the previous writer feels cops should focus on -- serious crime and disorder.
KIM R. KOTHEIMER
Caution: cigarettes are still dangerous to health
Many magazines, newspapers, and organizations warn us against smoking, making it known to all that cigarettes, cigars, and smokeless tobacco are horrible ways to spend your time. How, though, can the meaning of these warnings truly sink in if on the next page of the magazine is a cigarette advertisement?
The tobacco industry is unregulated, and additives added to the tobacco are untested. Cigarettes contain many chemicals, but what is listed on your tobacco package? "Tobacco," anything.
Many people find out how gross tobacco is the hard way. They realize too late that smoking, chewing, dipping, etc. is deadly. It is never too early to learn that the best way to handle tobacco is to ardently avoid it.
A person begins to smoke, and the highly addictive chemical, nicotine, forces the person to continue smoking. Sooner or later, this person will have chronic bronchitis, then emphysema, high blood pressure, heart disease, and eventually, the other carcinogens will demand this smoker to quit or die.
There will always be tobacco users, but that doesn't mean we can't try to make the number of them decrease.
My advice: If you use tobacco, quit.
If you don't, keep it that way.
CAROL ANN PITCAIRN
X The writer is a 13-year-old eighth grade student at Western Reserve Middle School.
Treat sex offenders with enlightened approach
While reading a promotion for the wonderful advances in genetics and medicine by a large U.S. pharmaceutical company, I contemplated the medical progress personally witnessed in our own area. A parallel advancement is the internet with its ability to rapidly disseminate information globally. One would assume that we live in an enlightened age until it comes to treating people who have been charged as "sexual offenders."
As in the Dark Ages, rather than attempting to rehabilitate these individuals, we post yard signs and now use the internet to attach scarlet labels that treat these ill people like lepers. With modern medicine and knowledge, leprosy is no longer the cause for great fear as it once was.
Hopefully, biotechnology and medical science will one day find methods to treat the extremely complex problems of predatory sexual behavior. In the meantime, we should abandon the return to the Dark Ages with hysterical labeling and take a more enlightened and understanding approach.