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LETTERS - Jan. 6

ISSUE | JOE-PA LEGACY Keeping score isn't what counts here The outrage shown by Penn State alumni over the supposedly unfair treatment of Joe Paterno indicates that their priorities are out of line ("Paterno dispute leaves a growing rift," Dec. 28). Paterno was a successful football coach, no more and n


Keeping score isn't what counts here

The outrage shown by Penn State alumni over the supposedly unfair treatment of Joe Paterno indicates that their priorities are out of line ("Paterno dispute leaves a growing rift," Dec. 28). Paterno was a successful football coach, no more and no less. It was demonstrated that he - along with other higher-ups at the university - failed to take necessary steps to stop now-convicted predator Jerry Sandusky. It sickens me to think that many in the Penn State community seem to care more about Paterno's win total than about Sandusky's young victims.

|Benjamin Gibbons, Devon


Signe's praises

As a longtime Inquirer subscriber, I had long admired from afar Signe Wilkinson's Daily News cartoons. Seeing the year-end highlights of her 2014 Inquirer work underscores my appreciation for her cleverness, wit, creativity, and drawing skill - now enjoyed in The Inquirer's daily opinion section, and in Signe's wonderful Penn's Place Sunday comic strip. What a treat to have comics about life in Philadelphia.

|Larry Passmore, Havertown


Last-minute hopes pinned on others

If it's not too late, I'd like to offer three New Year's resolutions over which I have no control: First, all children should be taught that the police are friendly and to respect them, because they are there for protection and are right most of the time. Second, the state Liquor Control Board should be dissolved to make the majority of Pennsylvanians happy all of the time. Third, the death penalty should be abolished, since no one has the right to kill another. Even though Santa ignored my letter with the above requests, I optimistically will try again.

|Ralph D. Bloch, Warrington,

Overused words

As a New Year's resolution and service to Inquirer readers, the newspaper's editors should discontinue publishing the following words for all of 2015: Sandusky, Bieber, Pistorius, Benghazi, Putin, Cosby, Kardashian, Cowboys, and Barnes.

|Steve Zettler, Philadelphia


Drugstore smokers

As a retired professor of obstetrics and gynecology, I recently contacted my Rite Aid Pharmacy to ask why they still sold cigarettes after CVS ended its sales. I was told to call the corporate offices, which I did. I asked about any health benefits of smoking, and requested that someone call me to further discuss Rite Aid's failure to address the health-care needs of its customers.

To date, no one from Rite Aid has gotten back to me. Perhaps the federal government should study this problem.

|Daniel H. Belsky, D.O., Voorhees,


Spare a dime to continue Broad Street strut?

It is disgraceful that the Mummers have to go begging, especially since the city discontinued awarding prize money years ago ("Old style, new way," Jan. 2). A distinguished string band like Trilby has to drop out for lack of funds, the Fancy Division is reduced to one club, and only Republic Bank has stepped up, donating $10,000 to the Golden Sunrise Fancy Club, and preventing the disappearance of the fancies from the parade altogether. The parade this year was down to 16 string bands; I remember when it had 25.

There is no excuse for major Philadelphia corporations like Comcast, Aramark, Cigna, Sunoco, Amoroso's Baking Co., and Radian Group, to name a few, as well as a slew of banks and law firms, sports franchises, and media enterprises, not to adopt at least one band, fancy, or comic brigade, as well as pool resources to resume awarding prizes.

Unique in their way, Mummers organizations are made up of working-class folks who have been known to mortgage homes to pay for costumes. They have never received the support they deserve and always struggled. Philadelphians who can afford it, how about saving a revered tradition carried on by those who barely can?

|Patricia Sicilia, Philadelphia

Sharing the Mummer spirit

On New Year's Eve at the stroke of midnight, I could be found - along with 89 of my fellow villagers - in our 55-plus community clubhouse. A visitor from another planet, or even another part of our country, would have stared, bewildered at the sight.

There were 90, seemingly sane people (all seniors by decree) prancing about the dance floor, knees lifted rhythmically to the cadence of a plunking banjo. But stranger still, each person - bent at the waist but eyes directed toward the ceiling - held over his or her head a garishly decorated umbrella that was pumped up and down. Singing "O Dem Golden Slippers," eveyone made up the forgotten lyrics as they strutted. It was a joyous noise, to be sure.

|Rosemary T. Salmon, Deptford


Greater harm in not letting children mix

There can never be peace between Israel and the Palestinians as long as Hamas continues to foment hatred among future generations through propaganda and by thwarting productive dialogue ("Hamas halts children's visit," Dec. 29). Barring a conciliatory trip meant to foster peace in the name of "protecting the culture of our children and our people from normalizing relations with Israel" says it all.

|Judith Wolf, M.D., Wynnewood


Rebuilding trust despite the risks

Les Neri, the head of the Fraternal Order of Police state lodge, should have addressed why people are upset with police these days ("Facing daily danger, grave risk as officers," Jan. 1). His letter doesn't even attempt to look at the distressingly frequent killing of unarmed black men by police officers. Yes, if one looks at cold statistics, the percentage of such fatal police-citizen encounters vs. total police-citizen encounters is small, but we've seen case after case go completely unpunished, and the officer walks away without having paid any sort of penalty.

These fatal encounters are unacceptable, because if police are going to have the privilege of being armed in public, they need to demonstrate that their weapons will be used responsibly. Police need to demonstrate that they deserve the trust and confidence that we place in them. Neri said nothing to reassure us that the killings of unarmed black men will stop soon.

|Richmond L. Gardner, Horsham,

Threat to get tough someday not practical

I wish I could reside in the euphoric world of academia, where criminals are instructed by police officers to behave - or face a lecture and a mere citation ("Police must rethink the rules of engagement," Jan. 2). Unfortunately, commentators Ian Ayres and Daniel Markovits have glossed over the reality of being a law enforcement officer. They should spend a week patrolling a major city with officers who bravely attempt to keep us safe.

The authors can't honestly believe that a ticket and possibly a future warrant is any deterrent. In addition to the time and cost of the proposed ticketing process (writing a ticket, obtaining an arrest warrant, enforcing the warrant), it could create a second encounter with a suspect who now has a warrant for his arrest and may be more aggravated and prepared to negatively respond at this point.

When police officers approach a suspect for any type of violation, often as innocent as a traffic infraction, they have seen too often that they are in danger of a violent encounter. They must maintain control of a situation, and if the suspected person does not comply, a casual warning may not be the answer.

|William R. Evans, Delran