News From Terre Haute, Indiana

July 26, 2012

READERS’ FORUM: July 26, 2012


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Life seems to have less value to our society

The horrific massacre that took place in Colorado recently will likely renew the debate about gun control and regulation. The NRA side of the argument will continue to insist that the guns did not kill the victims, the shooter did. Those arguing for stricter gun regulation will point out that the killer was armed with multiple weapons, one of which was semi-automatic and without those weapons could not have killed or wounded so many, so quickly, and so easily. I believe the real problem lies elsewhere.

We are living in a society that celebrates violence, or at least glorifies and distributes it. The movie showing at the theater was a typical example. Hollywood will tell us that it is not real, that it is fantasy, that normal people are able to distinguish good from evil, real from theatrical. Perhaps they are partly right, or many more lunatics like the gunman in Colorado would appear. Graphic scenes of bloodshed, death, and destruction are numbing us all. Many of those in the theater actually first thought the real violence taking place was somehow “part of the show.”

Our society has also lessened the value of life, limited its length, redefined what is a valuable life and what is not. A child growing in a mother’s womb, some say, is not life, not to be cherished and protected up until birth, for up to four to six months anyway. At what point in its development is that life deemed “worth” something?

On one hand we save babies that are born prematurely as early as 22 weeks of gestation while elsewhere in this country a baby of the same age is surgically destroyed, removed from a mother’s womb, and discarded. Proponents call this a “choice,” sanitized so as not to offend.

The elderly in our country are all too often treated as disposable, or neglected. When they no longer seem useful or completely self-sufficient their children are anxious to pack them up and put them in a “home” somewhere. Often out of sight and out of mind. If an infant not yet born is not useful, wanted, or able to become self-reliant, who is to say that at a certain age a person has out-lived their purpose, their ability to contribute to society, to resume being self-reliant, to “stay.” Where do we draw the line?

Insanity is not easily defined but certainly the man who killed and injured all those people in the movie theater was crazy, or deranged. How could he not be insane?

Likewise, a society that does not value and protect all life, from conception until natural death, is also crazy.

Pope John Paul II said it well when he stated: “Abortion, euthanasia, human cloning, for example, risk reducing the human person to a mere object: life and death to order, as it were!”

— Douglas Elia

Terre Haute

Pondering this hybrid bus fiasco

OK. I’ll stipulate to being cranially challenged. Nolo contendere. So maybe somebody can help me out here.

In the spirit of Stimulus (“create or save American jobs”), da Poohbahs of Da Hote spent the equivalent of $408K in borrowed Chinese yuan in 2010 to buy two experimental, prototype, hybrid buses from a Canadian company that had been in business for only two years?

Canadian company? American jobs? Stimulus? Whose?

The Canadian buses have given nothing but trouble over the past two years? Three weeks of uninterrupted service from either has been cause for celebration? Both recently completely rebuilt? Company now belly-up? All future repairs at Da Hote’s expense? Can any of that loss be recovered from the pockets of the decision makers in Poohbahland?

Now the city has approved the purchase of yet another hybrid bus for $587K — this time from a 122-year-old American company: www.gillig.com/story.htm.

Assuming that someone in Poobahland actually comparison-shopped in 2010, did someone not suspect, under the “you get what you pay for” principle, that a nearly three-to-one price ratio might suggest a substantial difference in quality, performance and reliability — of both company and product?

But who cares? After all, it’s only taxpayer money … er, government funds … er, Chinese yuan.

Final question, please: Whose head(s) will roll because of this fiasco?

— Ron Marsh

Terre Haute