You gotta have heart, Betsy
In an opinion essay published in the Oct. 7 Vindicator, author Betsy Hart used the recent murders of Amish schoolgirls as a springboard to suggest that forgiveness is not a virtue. In doing so she confused two very different kinds of forgiving.
Let us suppose that the perpetrator of this atrocity had not killed himself but had been arrested. Would the Amish community still have been right to proclaim that they would not hold hatred in their hearts and would ask God to judge him mercifully? Absolutely yes. The Christian reasons for this are found in the life and words of Jesus. There is also a more pragmatic reason: hating often harms those who hate more than it does the persons who are hated. Carrying unresolved malice in your heart poisons your life and keeps you from finding true peace.
This is very different from saying that a killer should not be brought to justice. A society cannot survive without a firm and fair system of punishment. Even more, though, it is important to focus on the proper primary objective of the criminal justice system, which is not revenge but deterrence. "Lock 'em up and throw away the keys" is not a sufficient formula for keeping a community safe over time. A government that ignores the roots of crime and fails to take preventive action will never have enough jail cells.
ROBERT D. GILLETTE
Progress starts with talk
I don't claim to be an expert on the strategies the United States should invoke regarding Iran's nuclear programs.
I do know a couple of things. No less a famed and informed a personage than former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright proposes dialogue with Tehran (not president to president, but nevertheless at a very high level). It is no secret that the Russians and the European Union are already talking to the Iranians about uranium enrichment.
One thing for sure, nuclear capability is probably a "want" for the Iranians when it comes to developing an atomic weapon, while enriching uranium for a nuclear power plant or plants may or may not be a "need." But enriching uranium is one and the same process for both ends.
Surely the U.S. has considered more "sticks" than "carrots" when it comes to Iran.
One of the likely stratagems the United States may be using is a plan of attack that is actually taught in business schools (an arbitration technique, I believe). The technique involves the use of parallel strategies known as "minimax" and "maximin," or trying to invoke, whether stepwise or singularly, the maximum of several lesser possible goals or trying to invoke at least the minimum of several "greater goals," or both.
Some of the many goals to consider are trying to influence the Russians and/or the EU negotiators, entering into U.S.-Iranian direct talks, pushing the NPT (Nuclear non-proliferation treaty) and bringing Iran to the U.N., supporting the IAEA's (International Atomic Energy Agency) powers to investigate the Iranians enrichment programs, imposing economic and political sanctions for developing proliferation strategies, and more.
To say that a problem exists is an understatement. To promote dialogue is a necessity.
LOUIS N. DeTORO
Better energy policy needed
Thank you for running the Sept. 24 article by Sherwood Baehlert, "American people paying for wrong energy policy."
Most Americans understand the need for cheaper, cleaner, safer ways of meeting our energy needs. We can meet our future energy needs with an investment in ingenuity and technology.
As the upcoming elections approach, we need to ask our Congress a simple question: "How will you vote on budget spending?" Is not conservation allied with alternative fuel sources a better approach to future energy needs and concerns? Congress needs to continue to work in a bipartisan manner to have sound policies that manage our natural resources and offer choices that are better for the health and well-being of our nation and our environment.