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Voice: Name-calling never makes things better

October 26, 2001

Trying to prove his "manhood" a fellow grade-school student constantly taunted me calling me "chicken" for not fighting him. Some students would recite the childhood mantra "sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me."

Words, though, can hurt the heart of man. I told mom I was not going to take it, to which she answered, "Better that there be one fool and not two."

This saying came to mind while reading Ms. Alcantar's letter printed Oct. 7. Although I did not read the writings to which she refers, I did feel like taking soap and scrubbing the "tongue" of what I did read.

Civility and respect for another person's right to believe differently seems to have taken a back seat. Heck, it's not even in the car. In her letter she calls Mr. Schwarz "Mr. Buffoon," "brainless wonder," "abscessed sore," "deranged" and many other derogatory names. She also, by implication, insulted his family, friends, neighbors and the whole state of Massachusetts.

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Like the "pot-calling-the-kettle-black" Ms. Alcantar states, "I don't think any rational or reasonably intelligent person would waste their time, money or energy on the likes of you," yet proceeds to do just that.

I have read some of Mr. Schwarz's past offerings and admit to not agreeing with many of his writings, yet one of the tenets that makes America great is the right of free speech.

I would encourage a healthy exchange of ideas and permitting constructive criticism, but calling each other "names" accomplishes nothing positive. It only leads to further inflammation of misdirected passions.

For the sake of our children, if not our neighbors, let's leave "footprints" they would be proud to walk-in, in every respect, including verbally (or written).

P.S. Someone else took the taunter up on his offer and both of them ended up with bloody lips and suspended.

DANIEL AGUILAR

Imperial

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