Letters to the Editor - Dec. 14

December 14, 2011

Some thoughts on personhood

To the editor:

After reading Mr. Powell’s column regarding his thoughts on personhood (Dec. 9), I wanted to take some time to respond to his statements.

When we are speaking about personhood in this case, we are actually talking about deciding the life and death of children based on what our definition of personhood is. The definition of person from Webster’s Dictionary is “one (as a human being, a partnership or a corporation) that is recognized by law as the subject of rights and duties.” And if we look further into the definition of a “human” from Webster’s, it states, “having the qualities typical of people, or human beings.”

Scientists state that life begins at fertilization. An example from one of Princeton’s references: “The development of a human being begins with fertilization, a process by which two highly specialized cells, the spermatozoon from the male and the oocyte from the female, unite to give rise to a new organism, the zygote.” The heartbeat of a fertilized egg can be heard at 9 weeks.

I have seen more people begin to take a stand for life to protect both the mother and the baby. Equally concerned for both lives, as opposed to just the life of the mother. Knowing the difference between a moral choice and a preference choice. Should the life of someone else be ended because of circumstances, size, environment or dependency on another? When a baby is born, they are still completely depending on someone else to take care of their needs, and if a doctor would kill the baby at that point, they would be charged with infanticide.

Mr. Powell’s column starts out by saying many of us have lived a full life. He should thank his mother for choosing life.

Tina Malone
Martinsburg, W.Va.

Independent consultant study a good first step for EDC

To the editor:

As a local resident and a professional management consultant, I was distressed by the Herald-Mail editorial “EDC shouldn’t need a study to know its role.”

You stated the EDC “is proposing to spend $125,000 to gaze into the navel of the local commercial scene and figure out the answers …” Evidently, the editorial staff of The Herald-Mail has no knowledge about the value of consultants.

While I do not intend to submit a proposal for this engagement, please understand that consultants bring two things to any engagement: an independent perspective and recommendations based on best practices. How can anyone involved day-to-day in the challenges Hagerstown and Washington County face be independent? Why not learn the details of how cities large (such as Pittsburgh) and small (such as Frederick) have gone from nearly dying to thriving through best practices?

As to consultants’ studies sitting on shelves, this is common among businesses, nonprofits and, yes, even local governments. Consultants can make independent recommendations based on best practices. But it takes a commitment by any organization to rigorously review those findings and recommendations and then implement those that make sense. Oftentimes, a consultant study will result in some near term actions, other longer term actions and some recommendations remaining “on the shelf.” This is to be expected.

I encourage the local leadership and citizens to demand something more and better than our current business as usual. An extensive and independent consultant study is a good initial step.

George F. Franks III

Where has proper English gone?

To the editor:

Whatever has happened to the use of our country’s language, English?

Not a day goes by when I don’t witness the most obvious crucifixion of the grammar to which all of us were exposed not too long ago in school. Is it now forbidden to use the word “I” in a spoken sentence? What’s wrong with “Jim and me were …….” Really, don’t you know?

Even on TV, broadcasts of the evening news, I hear, “He does things just like me.” Is that correct grammar? Sorry, but it isn’t. And saying, “He don’t know any other way” is just as flagrant a misuse of words. Just where have all the English teachers (now called language arts teachers) gone wrong? Obviously, their teaching has been largely ineffective.

Not too long ago, it was assumed that those people abusing the correct use of our language were lacking in education. But now we even hear misuse of correct verbage by the president of the United States when he is trying to step down to his perceived level of the listeners. Not only has the country put high school and college graduates on the street with poor grammatical habits, but they are left with no fundamental understanding of mathematics, either.

Could it just be that this modern, liberal approach to learning as a model has failed? My recollection of English class involved the diagramming of sentences. I doubt that has much presence in the classroom, but has been replaced with more emphasis on testing so that no one fails. That would cause the student to lose his self-esteem. And that is now paramount to the goals of learning.

The worst part of this situation has become the general acceptance of poor grammatical usage as OK, no problem. We are a multicultural nation, not even sure that English should dominate common speech. I’ve found, in the grocery store, containers entirely lettered in Spanish with no English translation. We must be afraid to proclaim that this is an English-speaking country, lest we experience the disdain of the liberal establishment.

You see, I’ve been brought up in the ’50s, and I just don’t understand.

Ned A. Garrett

The Herald-Mail Articles