Cleveland Ufology Project became a joke: I was struck by the cover of the latest issue ["Unidentified," January 11]. It was a good article in that your views were not listed; just the interviewees' were. You did not pooh-pooh the topic. There are enough off-the-wall people in the UFO field to do that on their own. Sometimes they fail to realize how they must look to Joe average.
I fall into the category of ex-researcher. I was also an attendee at many Cleveland Ufology Project meetings. Like so many others, I've gotten fed up and bored with the petty bickering and fragile egos in the UFO field. At one meeting there was an argument over whether the alien in an alien autopsy film was real or not because the body in the film showed a six-digit hand, and supposedly the Roswell alien had five digits! It doesn't matter whether it had five or six. The point was that they aired this video on nationwide TV, no doubt to have it sink into the public mind. It's one of countless barriers encountered in the field, and it is why others and I have given up.
Child offenders must be treated as children: Children as young as 10 will go to juvenile prison, because some Ohio legislators believe the best way to protect society from criminals is to train more criminals ["Age of Innocence," January 4]. And whose children will this happen to? African American and Latino male youths will be the greatest recipients of this latest insanity.
According to the American Civil Liberties Union, there is a national movement to undermine the juvenile justice system, and many lawmakers are overhauling laws to allow more youths to be tried as adults. They are changing the system from a prevention and rehabilitation focus to retribution and punishment. Be very afraid of these elected officials who are using quick-fix solutions on our most precious resource -- our children.
By subjecting children to the adult criminal system, we are taking a major step backward. Why are these elected officials doing this when, according to FBI data, juvenile arrests have declined by 30 percent over the past five years, and in actuality, children are at much greater risk of being victims than the perpetrators of violent crime? Why are these elected officials not looking at legislation to strengthen families, or schools that really educate and inspire ?
Those of us who work with troubled children know that some are just what Jacqueline Marino stated: physically, emotionally, and intellectually underdeveloped victims of physical or sexual abuse and frequently suffering from mental illness. These children must be helped to reach their potential, not destroyed in their infancy. They need a healthy, nourishing, knowledgeable environment in which to bloom. Yet, Ohio's elected officials are spending more and more on corrections and less on prevention efforts. According to ACLU research, crime prevention programs work and are cost effective.
Ask yourself why some elected officials are so determined to forsake troubled youth. Could it be that juvenile crime has become enormously profitable, as the prisons-for-profit business explodes all across the U.S. and Canada? Be very afraid, folks. Please write your elected official and Governor Taft. The bottom line is that a child in trouble, a child in crisis, is still just a child and deserves a chance to be the best that he or she can be.
Miriam Carter Gibson
Coalition to stop SB 179
A businessman shares his morbid fascination: David Martin must have a death wish ["Death's Apprentices," January 18]. When he dies, he wants to be "handled" by a kinder, gentler, more human "undertaker."
First of all, the terms "mortician," "undertaker," etc. are so arcane as to be laughable. As the son and grandson of funeral directors and embalmers, I know how proud my folks were of their "ministries," as David so aptly described it. There are plenty of misconceptions about funeral homes and directors that get big headlines. David's piece was honest and well written, but I sensed a hint of "Man, aren't these people strange?" between the lines.
I grew up in a funeral home and am now the co-proprietor of my family's funeral home (now in our 88th year). I know the big business of the funeral industry is undeniable, but so is the need for compassionate and caring funeral directors. Our business is based not on how many funerals we do, but on how we serve families' needs in a time of sorrow. Any psychologist will agree that funerals (whether burials or cremations) are for the living, and expressions of grief at the death of a loved one should not be trivialized.