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Violence permeates ?our entertainment

How many times must our nation be plunged into despair over the latest school shooting before we all look in the mirror and take responsibility for our own individual role? To anyone who thinks he has nothing to do with it, I would ask these questions: Have you ever watched a graphically violent television show or movie? Have you ever played or purchased a similar video game? It is a rare few who can say "no" to both.

Don't get me wrong, I'm not blaming the media; they're just giving us what we seem to want. My frustration comes from the fact that each of us plays a role in defining what Hollywood feeds us from an entertainment perspective. If collectively, we stopped watching "CSI," "NCIS" or any number of other graphic programming, they would go away. The same can be said for movies and video games.

Something is fundamentally wrong with death and murder as the central theme in so much of our entertainment. The problem is that Hollywood has gotten so good at realistically showing it to us, that we lap it up at their trough like gluttonous pigs who can't get enough. When this kind of violence permeates our entertainment to the extent that it does, should we be surprised when the lunatics among us take it to the next level and open fire on our children? The crazies think, "Since it looks cool on TV, it must look really cool in real life, right?"

Wrong. The far-reaching permanence of these acts affects families through generations. It does not neatly end at the top of the hour with no ramifications. What will it take to make us all finally look away and say, enough is enough? It starts with each of us. It has to.

Peter Holdsworth

West Seneca

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People seem to forget ?Bills aren't ‘our' team

I enjoyed Donn Esmonde's Dec. 9 column, but he and most Bills fans are forgetting one important point. It's not your team, despite what the Bills ticket commercials say. It's Ralph Wilson's team. And when he dies it will be his family's team, and as soon as they get a deal with enough giveaways and subsidies, it will be the "fill in the state or city name here" Bills.

It was especially chuckle-worthy when Esmonde talked about "franchise hungry" Los Angeles on the day the Bills were playing the St. Louis (formerly Los Angeles) Rams. Baltimore lost the Colts, then years later got the Ravens. Even Houston couldn't keep its Oilers.

The only community where residents can say the local NFL team is "their" team is Green Bay, and that's because they own the Packers.

Larry Schultz

Springville

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Nobody should be glad? bigotry forced cadet out

In the Dec. 13 News, a letter writer expressed disgust at a West Point cadet who quit in response to the stifling and oppressive religiosity of the academy ("West Point cadet who quit lacks respect, backbone.")

In reality, this cadet demonstrated rare courage. As a veteran myself, I can attest to the fact that a certain brand of Christianity is favored by many military leaders. However, contrary to popular opinion, the United States is not a Christian nation, and the Bible is not our guiding document. That would be the non-religious U.S. Constitution.

This cadet's action no more mocks our history than did the actions of Martin Luther King, Rosa Parks or anyone else who ever stood up for that which is right. This brave cadet showed disrespect to no one. However, it is not surprising that those of a theocratic mind-set might be offended by one who does not want religion rammed down his or her throat. The cadet was understandably offended by being referred to as a heathen, even if "only" in an allegedly joking manner, by his instructors. Has the writer never heard of racist, sexist or anti-gay jokes told by those who are "only kidding"? Indeed, humor has always been one of the ways in which oppressors keep others down.

No one in his right mind should be "glad he quit the academy." On the contrary, this is a sad day for the U.S. military. It shows that bigotry against nonreligious military members is socially acceptable to all too many people in this society.

Norm Allen

Buffalo

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Young girls should not? have access to Plan B

A letter writer's assertion that teen pregnancies are at higher risk for dangerous and expensive complications ignores the fact that his solution (Plan B, unrestricted and available to all ages without prescription) is itself a risk that no woman, especially young girls, should take. Kathleen Sebelius refused to lift restrictions because the drug manufacturer had not shown that it could be used safely by young girls, some of whom are capable of having children by 11 years of age. The cognitive and behavioral differences between older adolescents and very young girls are significant, she said. If one wants to understand just how safe and effective these "emergency" contraceptives are, a reading of the package insert should make it abundantly clear.

Inherent in the lifting of restrictions on access to birth control is a societal acceptance that even very young girls engage in sexual activity. What parent wants to support that notion? Why not redefine "minor"? Why not remove statutory rape laws? In addition, it's chilling that so many refuse to acknowledge that contraceptive sex education is not a formula for "responsible" behavior, but rather a catalyst, encouraging self-absorbed, immediately gratifying, consequence-free behavior, which too often leaves the vulnerable to pick up the pieces.

It's disgraceful that OB-GYN and pediatric organizations are now on record condoning these abortifacients, and urging they be made available without restriction. What are they thinking?

Sarah Zilbauer

Grand Island

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Humankind could learn? a great deal from animals

In the Dec. 10 News article, "Cruelty to animals hits home," the question is asked: "Why is the public reaction to animal cruelty so seemingly lopsided to other types of crimes?" My thoughts on this subject, I would bet, are quite common and undoubtedly answer the question very simply.

When is the last time your dog lied or cheated on you? Did the cat insult you or hurt your feelings recently? Of all the times I have been mistreated in any way in my life, none has been at the paws of an animal. Instead, they innocently gaze into our eyes and give unconditional love and loyalty. When we return from work or the grocery store, they act like they haven't seen us in years.

Humankind has a lot to learn from animals, whether it's the continued love and loyalty of a pet, or a wild animal taking care of its offspring. There is a common saying nowadays, "the more people I meet, the more I like my dog." Funny? Yes. Accurate? Probably.

So, politicians don't need to think too hard about why there is a "lopsided" public outcry for animal cruelty because the answer is simple. Here's something they might want to focus on though – there are more animal lovers than Republicans or Democrats.

Tammy L. Nikischer

West Seneca