Letters to MotherJones

America the bully
Re: “Bully for Them”
6/15/01

Only a sick mind would advocate bullying as a way to toughen people up. No wonder there is so much violence in America and no wonder the nation is such a warmongering one. Most of the victims of American military strength are small, militarily weak countries — it’s bullying on an international scale.

Barbara Creaghan

 

Sonar stupidity
Re: “Sound Effects”
6/15/01

We have no submarine threats save those we pose to whales. The design of passive systems that use ambient sonic energy (the way our eyes use ambient light) renders active systems obsolete and indefensible. The ecological cost of this stupidity greatly exceeds the benefit to our defense. Blasting the oceans with sound loud enough to kill whales when there is no real threat is absurd.

Brian Sherlock

 

Limits on free speech are worse than bullying
Re: “Bully for Them”
6/14/01

I think that this article missed the point of the anti-anti-bullying movement — and it does have a point.

Let me start by saying that I was probably the most bullied student in the history of my junior high school, or at least the most bullied girl — depending on how you define “bullying.” Nobody ever beat me up, but I was brutally bullied by people who teased me. I wrote a novel based on those experiences due to be published by St. Martin’s Press in early 2002.

Do I condone that kind of behavior? No. Do I think it did me a lot of good by toughening me up for life? Hell, no. Do I think there should have been rules in place that would have prevented those girls from saying the things they said to me? No.

I think there are things that schools could definitely do to either eradicate or greatly reduce the kinds of things that happened to me, but not a single one of them involves policing speech.

Anti-bullying laws are counterproductive if, for instance, they impinge on free religious speech. If expressing religious beliefs, even very hurtful or divisive beliefs, is qualified as “bullying,” then even I am opposed to anti-bullying laws, and I’m an atheist secular humanist radical feminist progressive left-wing heathen.

This writer behaves as if the speech issue simply does not exist. His illustrations of bullying all involve physical behavior, although the texts of the proposed legislation that I saw reported covered verbal behavior as well. None of the anti-anti-bullying advocates in this article are evangelical Christians worried about their right to free speech or freedom of religion. All of those advocates are instead secular academics promoting the idea that physical bullying may be a good thing or a not very important one.

I wish Mother Jones had taken this issue far more seriously than it did. The blow-off — and misrepresentation — of the anti-anti-bullying argument did no good either for the anti-bullying movement the writer hoped to support or for the magazine.

Jane Haddam

 

Bullying’s unnecessary and unproductive
Re: “Bully for Them”
6/14/01

No child should be subjected to bullying. Most victims of bullies, including myself, carry the pain with them the rest of their life. It does not go away. On most days we are able to suppress it and go on with our life. However, there will always be those moments of weakness when the bully will rise from our subconscious to taunt us once again. This is something no one should have to live the rest of their life with.

Personally, I would like to see the statistics on the number of violent criminals who were bullied as a child. I question the intentions of anyone who says that bullying is just a fact of life and should be tolerated. I do not have to point out the number of social phenomena that have been socially acceptable in the past and today would not be tolerated in decent society.

Barry St. Denis

 

Science scorns a bully
Re: “Bully for Them”
6/14/01

Condoning abusive behavior as preperation for the real world is ludicrous. Studies of Bonobo apes, a docile species very similar to humans, show that the bullies are not the successful dominant males. If we are ever going to evolve as a species, we have to contol our base impulses.

Mary Anne Schiavone

 

HIV must be debated
Re: “Foo Fighters, HIV Deniers”
6/13/01

I can understand the concern of HIV believers. However, to call the dissidents “deniers” is misleading. The Group for the Scientific Reappraisal of the HIV Hypothesis is a large body of educated people and a well-established group of scientists. (Even Robert Gallo, who co-discovered HIV, is not researching HIV as the causal factor, but is researching a Herpes virus as the defining cause.) The arguments they propose are scientifically plausible and should be tested.

Science has always been in pursuit of truth. To censor the arguments established by prize winning scientists is nothing close to science. The proof of HIV causing AIDS must be brought to debate.

The dissidents are not going away, but are growing in numbers… most importantly because of the very basic problems with the HIV Hypothesis. Reading Duesburg’s Inventing the AIDS Virus is essential reading for the historical background and events in the creation of this viral artifice.

It’s very frustrating to see how there is an obvious problem with this HIV theory, yet our society is much happier blindly following what the doctor says.

David Walsery

 

Political Pressure for Mumia
Re: “What’s Mumia Got to Do With It?”
6/11/01

Though I disagree with Marc Cooper’s views on the death penalty (I am a supporter), I do agree with his thoughts concerning the Mumia case. I personally think Mumia committed the crime. Should he receive a new trial? Why not? (If the evidence held up in the first trial, it should hold up again.)

However, if he’s vindicated, many will say that his acquittal came from political pressure.

Ruth Welch