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How can Romney forget such a humiliating act?

I can't get all morally superior about the incident in which Mitt Romney organized the violent public humiliation of a boy whom he and his friends deemed effeminate. When I was a few years younger than Romney was, I organized a similarly brutal humiliation. There is a crypto-sexual aspect to these ritual punishments in prep school, so the experience for the victim must be a lot like rape. But it was a long time ago, the media say, and, besides, the boy is dead.

So what gets me is how the media and Romney responded to the story. The media say, "We all did stupid things in high school." That's as true as what the teachers say in the movie "Bully," -- "Children are cruel." But the fact that homophobic bullying is common and stupid doesn't make it not worth mentioning. We tried that here in Buffalo, and Jamey Rodemeyer died. Half a century from now, that will still be important.

Romney doesn't remember anything about it, he says, although the others involved do remember, and are ashamed. Me, too, of myself. Eventually I went looking for my victim, to try to make amends, frightened of what his response might be. He was dead, like Romney's victim, so I don't know. I hope he "got over it." I hope that Romney is lying about forgetting the boy and the assault. If, unlike the normal teenagers who joined him in the unprovoked violation, he can do what he did and just forget it, again dishonoring and disrespecting his victim after death, then he is a person without imagination or compassion, and without a useful conscience. That's an important fact to know.

Robert K. Dentan

Buffalo

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Assault shouldn't be described as a prank

High jinx? Pranks? I doubt seriously if the Secret Service and FBI would accept this justification if a pack of 18-year-old thugs ambushed Mitt Romney, held him down and cut off his well-coiffed hair. Rather, they would ascribe the proper term -- assault.

Bill Bowler

Limestone

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Voters must consider who will join Romney

Now that former governor Mitt Romney is the presumptive Republican nominee for president, we have a clear choice. However, the choice is not solely on the shoulders of the two candidates; when you vote in November you will also be voting for the team that each candidate brings to the White House. Many members of Romney's team will be from or related to the Bush team of 2000 and 2004.

So when you vote, remember that team's two major flaws: these people were on guard when a few terrorists, armed with box cutters, took down the Twin Towers and the Pentagon, and when the greatest financial crisis to hit the United States since the Great Depression took place in 2007-08. Many of those same high-level and mid-level Bush people will have the ear and mind of the Romney strategy people.

I don't know about you, but I would never want that team or its philosophy near the top leadership of our country. Although Republicans brag about their strength in national defense and financial matters, when it counts they not only let us down but also let down future generations. We are just recovering from those two major failures. Why put yourself and your children at risk once more?

Joseph M. Yonder

Depew

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It's great to involve children in services

In response to the May 11 letter, "Take steps to bring people back to God," as two "born again" Christians, we came from a type of church the writer is longing to return to. It was not getting the message across to us. Since we were introduced to a Bible-based Christian church less than 10 years ago by my daughter, we now understand what it is all about. It is about the birth, crucifixion and resurrection of our Lord and savior, Jesus Christ. We celebrate this every Sunday with praise, worship and song. The word "celebrate" suggests joy and praise that includes song and music praising and glorifying. It sometimes gets loud as we express our joy in our worship.

What is most glorious is seeing the young people celebrating, believing and trusting a loving God who welcomes joyous celebration with voice and instruments. They are our future and hopefully will be the ones to return this country to its Christian values.

Throughout the Bible, you can find references to music, both voice and instruments. Psalm 100:1-2 Make a joyful noise to the Lord, all the earth! Serve the Lord with gladness! Come into his presence with singing! Psalm 33:3 Sing to him a new song; play skillfully on the strings, with loud shouts.

So let's praise our Lord God with music and the shouts of joy and use all resources available to spread the word, including the Internet, which I used to send this message. Yes, this is entertainment; entertainment to our Lord.

Rachel and Douglas Baehr

Elma

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Singing is great way to show love to God

A May 11 letter writer complained: "Those altar rails are now mostly gone, replaced by guitars, amps, cables, jumbo video screens and kids leading singing." Isn't that wonderful? The children are participating in the church services, raising their voices to God, worshipping him, and I can join in. Singing is a way of praising God. These children may very well grow up to be those "theologically aware adults in the church."

If anyone would rather have it still in mind, body and spirit, then go into a room, close the door, fold your hands and pray. We can do both to show our love to God.

Doreen Bachowski

Cheektowaga

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Americans must live by a higher standard

I'm responding to a writer in The News on May 15 who promotes torture. If memory serves, this nation went to war ostensibly to stop a brutal dictatorship in a faraway land because it tortured people. If we will do what they will do, then we are no better than them. If torture by one nation permits another to make war on it, who will come for us?

We talk about how much better we are than they, but to be better, we have to be better. Merely saying so doesn't make it so, we must practice being better. Yes, it is difficult and dangerous for people to have a moral code and to live by a higher standard, but a brave freedom requires risks. We, each and every one, must take daily courage in our own liberty, for our own liberty, if our anthem tells us anything true.

John Kennedy once told us that we do things not because they are easy, but because they are hard. Was he wrong?

We should fight our enemies, but never sink to their level. We must not do as they do if we're to be better, braver and freer.

Jeff Duska

Buffalo

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Engaging in torture is never the answer

In spite of the extremely unlikely doomsday and "24" style scenarios a local proponent of torture puts forth, the use of torture on any person by citizens of the United States in the name of their country is appalling. If terrorists and those who hate the United States -- however cruel, aggressive and misguided -- believe that their "political fanaticism" is merely standing up for their freedom, and we also believe that our stance on detaining and torturing people -- however cruel, aggressive and misguided -- is protecting ours, and they ignore the rules, and so do we, who has claim to being right? Who has claim to being the "good guy"? The truth is no one does, and we collectively sink into a moral abyss by perpetrating the same horrors under a different flag.

Caitlyn Fennell

Hamburg

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Let Corasanti work without recompense

Isn't it time we try to squeeze out some good from terrible mistakes and heart-rending tragedies?

I speak of Dr. James G. Corasanti's manslaughter trial. What he did was unforgivable. I find it hard to imagine the extent of the loss to Alix Rice's mother and father. I reacted to this news the same as everyone else, with terrible anger and sorrow. When I look at the picture of his car, I believe that he must have been driving impaired when he hit and killed her, and then compounded it by driving off. The damage to the car resulting from the impact of that small body speaks for itself, and the driving away speaks for the amount of alcohol he drank. He must have been insensible.

But putting his talent behind bars will never bring back this girl. We wish it could.

Corasanti is not a career criminal. Far from it. He's a person who is known by his patients for his excellence and kindness. He has done good for all of his career. He has been a valuable member of our community, a care giver and a life saver. And the irony of all this is excruciating.

Is it possible to make Alix's death work on the side of healing? Is it possible to make sure two lives are not wasted, instead of one? Could this doctor, if convicetd, be sentenced to do what he does best, caring for the sick and injured? His sentence: to serve the ill, the diseased, those who can't help themselves, or treat our wounded veterans, or join Doctors Without Borders, a charitable agency that does so much good for the poorest and most hopeless members of this world. This work would be done without recompense, without glory.

I believe Corasanti would undertake a commission like this, with sincerity and zeal.

Jane Marion

Buffalo

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Another young life is lost to violence

Mayor Byron Brown says the city is safe. I think not.

Not if you are a young African-American woman. Not if you just celebrated your 23rd birthday. Not if you are walking along a Buffalo street. Not if your community refuses to come forward to help police.

Samantha Cothran did all the right things. She studied hard in high school. She graduated from university. She worked at a good job. She was pursuing her pharmacy degree at D'Youville College. Now we are robbed of a productive citizen because some random idiot prefers crime over hard work.

What are we left with? A criminal who society must pay for, either by suffering through more crimes he commits or by housing him in prison for the rest of his misguided life.

We are left with the tragic waste of Samantha's future, full of promise, beauty and talent.

Marilou Bebak

Hamburg