For some reason, seeing the Virginia Tech tragedy on your April 28 cover made it even more real. As an alum, I want to commend Jamie Dean for a well-written article. I had been longing to hear a Christian perspective somewhere amidst all of the secular, humanistic media coverage and "jarring array of coping mechanisms." Cheng's story made me want to praise our Lord once again for His shining mercies in our "'Darkest moment.'"
-Rebecca Schumacher; Fredericksburg, Va.
I deeply appreciate the sensitive and accurate way you covered the Virginia Tech story. Many news sources have sadly turned this shocking and incomprehensible tragedy into an opportunity to satisfy morbid curiosity. I wish more media would prioritize the needs and feelings of the students, friends, and family above the insatiable, detached interest of audiences.
-Bethany Dawn Wagar, 16; Troy, Ohio
I watched with anticipation as four spiritual leaders-Muslim, Buddhist, Jewish, and Lutheran-addressed the convocation held to honor the 32 murder victims at Virginia Tech. The auditorium was filled to capacity. I had high hopes that the Lutheran pastor would deliver a Christian message, but no. Our Father Creator, Almighty God, wasn't mentioned once, nor was Jesus Christ or the Holy Spirit. Instead from the four speakers we heard fluffy rhetoric about being shining lights in a dark world, seeking unity among diversity, and aiming for peace in the midst of great loss.
-Sharon M. Knudson; Vadnais Heights, Minn.
The immenseness of this tragedy boggles my mind. As President Reagan said about the family and friends of the victims of the Challenger disaster, we "feel the loss, and we're thinking about you so very much." More than that, we Christians need to lift up in prayer those who do bear "the full impact of this tragedy."
-Jessica Snell, 16; Stockton, N.Y.
The tragedy at Virginia Tech is almost beyond comprehension, yet it is not the worst school disaster in U.S. history. On May 18, 1927, Andrew Kehoe, a school board member, using dynamite, blew up the Bath, Mich., school killing 44 people, mostly students, and injuring 58. Sadly, time has almost wiped the story from the pages of history.
-David I. Leach; Eugene, Ore.
A terrible image
I am alarmed at your use of a particularly disturbing image of Cho Seung-Hui brandishing a gun boldly at the camera. I don't believe WORLD would consciously sensationalize Cho's despicable actions, but the photo, combined with the headline "Massacre maker" (April 28), furthers the image Cho constructed for himself. For families and friends of victims, it would be a terrible image to discover in the midst of WORLD's otherwise sensitive coverage.
-Darby Arant Whealy; Iowa City, Iowa
How many more people will have to be killed before we finally realize we can live without guns? Shootings such as the two recent ones at Virginia Tech and Kansas City were committed by troubled people who vented their frustrations and anger with guns that were easily accessible.
-Lewis Codington; Franklin, Tenn.
We must take the initiative to protect ourselves and our loved ones from evil. If Virginia's House Bill 1572, allowing citizens to carry concealed weapons, had passed in 2006, then I am sure there would not have been as many students gunned down at Virginia Tech.
-Jerry Rodeheaver; Naples, Fla.
I would not even remotely attempt to defend Don Imus' comment ("It's at a new level," April 28); however, comparing his "violence" with that of Cho Seung-Hui is rather extreme. I would argue that both Imus and Cho did not lose control of their "natural human instincts." Rather, they displayed them perfectly.
-Kirk Buckley; Stayton, Ore.
So it went
I appreciated the allusion to Slaughterhouse Five ("So it goes") at the end of your story on the death of Kurt Vonnegut ("Witticist," April 28).
-Ryan Barber; Levant, Maine
Loud and clear
Another way of articulating the objection against teachers-as-sex-educators ("Sex-ed for dummies," April 28) is the old saw about how the medium is the message. When a teacher tells students that abstinence is the only fully effective prevention against STDs and pregnancy, but "be sure you know how to put on a condom," the (perhaps unintended) message is loud and clear: "We adults don't want you to have sex but we expect that you will, so please heed these precautions." The right words have been said but the message has been neutered of any real pro-abstinence advocacy.
-Aaron Root; Woodbridge, Va.
I have to agree that what is being taught in the schools is wrong, but please spare us the graphic details. At least the Iowa legislature advised the parents to have the children leave the room.
-John Bush; Akron, Ohio
I was thrilled to read the sidebar on the military base in Djibouti, Africa ("African lookout," April 28). Our son, a college student and Army reservist, recently returned from a 14-month deployment to this base. People often ask us what he did there for the past year. It was good to read a positive take on the HOA Central Command, and we are glad to have the article to pass along.
-Mary Underwood; Manassas, Va.
Easy to forget
Thank you so much for giving us a rare glimpse of the bleakness of life inside North Korea ("Cruel and usual punishment," April 28). How easy it is to forget about the hardships of those you don't hear much about. And how easy it is to forget the value of religious freedom when you've never been without it. I'm convicted now to pray diligently for deliverance and protection for our brethren in this colorless dungeon of a country.
-Joni Halpin; Allen, Texas
Worthy of argument
Andrée Seu is always a delight to read, but her recent column ("A little kindness," April 21) needs a little balance. Loosely held opinions fall under the category of preferences. However, there are two higher levels of ideas, convictions and absolutes, that are held with increasing firmness. Kindness is great for preferences but absolutes are worthy of great argument.
-Gary Karwoski; Stickney, Ill.
I enjoy every article, but my favorite writer is, without doubt, Andrée Seu. WORLD is a bargain any way you slice it, but her columns alone are worth the subscription price.
-David Bass; Spanish Fort, Ala.
Eighth big lie
Thank you for Joel Belz's list of "Seven big lies" (April 21). To this list we could add The Economy/Class Warfare. Journalists tell us that President Bush's tax cuts only benefit "the rich" when actually these cuts have worked as intended, to stimulate our economy over the last few years and bring greater prosperity to all people. It makes you wonder just where the country would be on the political spectrum if we were given the straight truth.
-Ron Chiodras; Wheaton, Ill.
Denying Land's claim
I was struck by Richard Land's claim ("God & country," April 21) that adultery should be legal. He overlooks the injured spouse and that penalties (other than jail) do apply in divorce settlements after "consenting adults in private" commit that "religious infraction."
-Joel VanderZee; La Crosse, Wis.
If, as Henry Van Til suggests, "culture is religion externalized," then America most certainly did begin as a Christian nation. Land agrees that the general population in early America operated from a Christian worldview; this worldview birthed a system of government and law steeped in biblical principles. We need to return to a firm conviction that God's Word alone should inform our opinions in all areas of life, including how to run a nation.
-Cynthia Glenn Dilts; Sandpoint, Idaho
Won't do it
Newt Gingrich might be a smart politician with good ideas, but he lacks virtue and wisdom ("Don't run, Newt," April 14). I'd stay home and let Hillary be elected before I'd cast my vote for Newt.
-Chad Damewood; Phoenix, Ariz.
The governor of Ohio is Ted Strickland ("Sex-ed for dummies," April 28, p. 28).
Fikret Bocek converted from Islam to Christianity in 1988 ("No turning back," May 5, 2007).