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Many working to raise awareness on bullying

In reference to the front-page article on bullying in The News on May 1, I was a concelebrant at the funeral Mass of Jamey Rodemeyer at SS. Peter and Paul Catholic Church in Williamsville. After the Mass, I met Alyssa and several members of the family.

Lately, I have been giving a talk called "Forgiveness and the Adult Sin of Bullying." I say "adult" because bullying goes on not only in schools but in the workplace, in families and between couples. The movie "Bully" (still playing at the Amherst Theater in Buffalo) is strong medicine for the bully and the bullied.

Bullying is nothing new. Whether a believer or not, read the ancient account of the bullying of Jesus in the gospels. Begin with Chapter 27 of Matthew, Chapter 14 of Mark, Chapter 22 of Luke and Chapter 18 of John. There is the loneliness and the anguish of Jesus in Gethsemane -- the apostles are asleep. There is the torture, the bullying, the mocking of the executioners and the jeering of the mobs demanding his death. There is the sympathy of a few women, and the people who watch and say nothing. We look for our counterparts in the story.

The talk ends with a prayer of reconciliation. In the spirit of the Good Thief, we ask forgiveness and, following the example of Christ on the cross, we forgive.

Jamey is a part of a growing movement that is raising the consciousness of bullying. To the others who have taken their own lives because of bullying, Jamey adds a special dimension. He was only 14 when he died. His young death gives meaning to the old saying, "A little child will lead them."

Father John Mergenhagen

Buffalo

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Legalized prostitution makes it safer for all

I have deliberated about writing a response to Donn Esmonde's recent column concerning the brouhaha regarding the proposal to legalize the brothels just across the Peace Bridge in Canada.

The Puritanical response to this plan is certainly akin to the proverbial ostriches burying their heads in the sand. If prostitution were legalized here, it would be a much safer occurrence both from a safety point of view and a healthy one.

In the famous Red Light District in Amsterdam in the Netherlands, the profession is accepted. The women get regular medical check-ups (which certainly curbs venereal disease) and the pimps are gone (along with murderous treatment).

Laws are not going to change the libidos of men who seek their pleasures outside of the sanctity of marriage, so why not make the situation safe and let our police force concentrate on a myriad of other concerns? Of course, if prostitution were legalized, we might not be falsely shocked by the antics of some of our holier-than-thou politicians who may vote against such an idea.

Amy Zeckhauser

Buffalo

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We need to educate bikers, pedestrians

Sadly I've read several news articles about DWI accidents involving people riding or walking on roadways. Not only are there senseless fatalities of pedestrians and bicyclists, but there are scores of injuries that go unreported. These accidents are not only from drunken drivers or people texting while driving. Some people are killed simply due to lack of visibility and the fact that they are illegally in roadways. Some drivers just "didn't see" them. Rural and suburban roads often lack sidewalks and crosswalks. The public needs to be educated about the laws and safety issues in general.

There is a law in New York State that requires children under the age of 14 to wear a helmet while bicycling. Bicyclists must ride with traffic. Every person riding a bicycle or skating upon a roadway shall be granted all the rights and shall be subject to all of the duties applicable to the driver of a vehicle. In other words, riders need to signal when turning, and stop when there is a stop sign or traffic light.

Parents should be vigilant about pedestrian and bicycling safety. Pedestrians are supposed to walk against traffic, not with their backs to the drivers. People should wear reflective or light colored clothing at night. Law enforcement officers and parents need to be more vigilant about educating youth and motorists about the laws.

Soon the school year will be ending and kids will be out riding bicycles and walking about at night. Note that I am not excusing anyone from negligence -- bicyclists, pedestrians, drunken drivers or motorists. However, let's educate people about safety and, hopefully, save a life.

Julie E. Pasek

Lancaster

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Do not give amnesty to illegal immigrants

A recent article in The News stated the federal government has decided to release and not prosecute or deport "law abiding" illegal aliens. This charade of giving the double wink and amnesty to illegal immigrants on the pretext of increasing future border control is a continuum of the welcome wagon to all who wish to violate our borders. Isn't illegal residence in the United States breaking the law? It certainly is in every other country on the planet.

The dual language system introduces confusion from operating rooms to combat zones. This unprecedented pandering to illegal Hispanics by making Spanish a second language so they can obtain unearned medical care, education, welfare and other benefits is insane. To release this desperate illegal work force against our countrymen during this supply-side unemployment environment is unconscionable. Bestowing the rights and privileges of citizenship to illegal foreign nationals and making U.S. taxpayers foot the bill against our national interests is criminal.

Administration failure to restore necessary banking and Wall Street regulations and reciprocal trade agreements seem unrelated to immigration policy, but it is part of the continuation of the Reaganomic policy that is eliminating the middle class and beggaring our nation. When the next credit bubble crash occurs, are Democrats still going to be mystified about the cause and give bonuses to the culprits? Social Security, FDIC and government bailouts may not be able to prevent the next Great Depression. Sooner or later this administration must own its failure to live up to New Deal concepts and accomplishments. Spin and propaganda can't fly forever in the face of the failing global trade and economic system.

Louis L. Boehm

Orchard Park

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Time to throw the book at drivers using phones

If the government is going to make laws, then law enforcement agencies should enforce them. One in particular is the use of cellphones while driving. This law should be strictly enforced, and not just for texting. These abusers and annoyers of cellphones should be fined, and if repeated abusers break the law they should be fined heavily and have their licenses suspended.

John Jendrysek

Orchard Park