I found the cartoon by Tim Newcomb in your August 28 issue appalling and deeply offensive. It depicts a priest praying with a young child with the caption, "Please let him mean pray with an 'a' and not an 'e.'"
As a Catholic, I have painfully watched the damage that this priest scandal has caused to so many victims of evil, pedophile priests. I have also seen the leadership that Bishop Christopher Coyne has shown in bringing about transparency to expose these priests. Bishop Coyne has gone above and beyond to reach out to the victims, apologize for the hurt, and bring about justice and healing for them. Positive change has begun so that we may move forward to ensure that this never happens again.
This cartoon, however, pushes us backward again. It suggests that all priests are pedophiles and we should be suspicious of them, which I believe is just pure ignorance and hatefulness. That cartoon was, to say the least, in very poor taste and a direct insult to the many good and honorable priests that we have been so blessed to have here in the diocese of Burlington.
Moving forward, I hope we can be sure to condemn only the guilty and not the innocent.
What Were You Thinking?
[Re Last 7: "Donovan vs. George," September 18]: Aita Gurung is accused of hacking his wife to death and attacking his mother-in-law with a meat cleaver. As violence against women goes, you can't get much more egregious than that.
As violence against journalistic sensibility goes, you can't get much more egregious than illustrating an update to this story with a photo montage of Attorney General T.J. Donovan raising his fist toward the face of Chittenden County State's Attorney Sarah George.
Gram is host of "The Dave Gram Show" on WDEV.
Porn Is Not the Problem
In response to Mr. Prindiville's "Porn Problem" letter [Feedback, September 11] blaming porn for creating oversexed individuals who rape, traffic women and girls, molest children, and engage in sexual harassment: Sexual violence and harassment is about exercising power and control over another person. It is not the result of an overstimulated sex drive. Rape is not sex; it is an act of violence.
Homeless Need Help
[Re "Future Reference," September 18]: I work at the Fletcher Free Library. I have worked in libraries the last 35 years. Over that time, the issues regarding patrons without homes have not gone away. The issues don't exist because those patrons decide to abuse the welcoming atmosphere of the library. No, they exist because much of the rest of society, especially those in government, have decided to defund programs designed to help those without homes in favor of tax breaks for the wealthy, bailouts for the banks, and never-ending handouts for wars and the criminalization of immigrants.
Meanwhile, the ongoing trend of using housing as an investment instead of as places for people to live their lives in has diminished the number of truly affordable units. Politicians locally and nationally won't institute rent control because they serve the real estate industry and are often landlords themselves.
So people without homes spend their days in libraries because they have been shut out of most other places. Some are tired and occasionally fall asleep. Others have no place to store their belongings, so they bring them with them. Before the City of Burlington decides to intensify its laws against the homeless, it should first come up with alternative solutions. That would be the humane thing to do. Providing another place for the houseless to store their belongings, hang out, take a nap, use the restroom and so on couldn't cost as much as turning a city park into a concrete plaza, could it?
[Re Off Message: "GMT Driver Who Ordered Students Off Bus Is Reinstated," September 17]: I believe that the parents should make clear what kind of behavior is acceptable on the bus. Kids should know that the driver is "the captain of the ship." He or she is in charge of safe driving and should not be distracted by unruliness.
Teachers can reinforce good behavior expectations, but parents must be the prime molders of character.
Cruelty on the Border
[Re Off Message: "As Hundreds Protect ICE, Border Patrol Runs a Checkpoint," July 28]: The Trump administration is operating concentration camps for migrants near the border of the United States and Mexico. Anyone more offended by this term than by child abuse and government malpractice is, at best, ignorant of the conditions and signs that precede mass atrocity.
The rise in hate media against a vulnerable population and violations of the rule of law by federal agents are important omens. In July, Department of Homeland Security inspectors indicated violations of the Flores agreement when they reported on "dangerous overcrowding and prolonged detention of children and adults in the Rio Grande Valley."
With transparent pretense, the government is separating children from their families, depriving detainees of necessities and confining some to cold concrete rooms. This doesn't even begin to capture the psychological harm inflicted on children by agents of Immigration and Customs Enforcement and Customs and Border Protection.
Yet instead of fulfilling their legal obligation to provide for vulnerable minors, the Trump administration aims to deepen its cruelty: It is proposing to detain migrant children indefinitely and has decided not to provide the influenza vaccine.
I urge my fellow Vermonters to fight the administration's cruelty. Support migrant legal services organizations like the Refugee and Immigrant Center for Education and Legal Services and the Southern Poverty Law Center; direct-action groups like Never Again Action and No More Deaths; Vermont advocacy organizations like Migrant Justice; and investigative journalism outlets like the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists and the Intercept.
Christopher David Ramos