LET­TERS TO THE ED­I­TOR

Belleville News-Democrat (Sunday) - - News -

METROLINK CAN BE IM­PROVED

"Oh, you took the ghetto snake." That was what one of my friends was told by a St. Louis sub­ur­ban res­i­dent when she said she rode the MetroLink. This is a typ­i­cal, racist, bi­ased way of see­ing this lo­cal pub­lic tran­sit sys­tem.

MetroLink is not per­fect. There is crime on the line, though not as much as peo­ple think. Much of the prob­lem is peo­ple act­ing in­ap­pro­pri­ately, sort of "hooli­gan­ism," which is not crim­i­nal, but makes riders ner­vous. There are cer­tainly ways to solve this prob­lem.

There is a gen­er­ally neg­a­tive at­ti­tude to­ward pub­lic tran­sit in this coun­try. There is prejudice by mainly white (usu­ally sub­ur­ban) res­i­dents. They think it is be­neath their "dig­nity" to take the bus or light rail. Their at­ti­tude is that only poor, mainly black peo­ple, take pub­lic tran­sit.

Peo­ple in Asia and Europe have no such hang-ups. Pub­lic tran­sit and rail pas­sen­ger sys­tems are ef­fi­cient and well-main­tained. I have rid­den th­ese sys­tems in Europe and was well sat­is­fied.

The haughty, con­de­scend­ing at­ti­tude here is not only wrong-headed, but un­sound. The "love af­fair" with cars is en­vi­ron­men­tally un­safe due to the pol­lu­tion caused. It is danger­ous, in­ef­fi­cient and time wast­ing due to ac­ci­dents and con­ges­tion.

MetroLink needs im­prove­ment. This can hap­pen with com­mon­sense plan­ning. I'm an old white guy who has rid­den it and was well sat­is­fied. Amer­i­cans should ac­cept pub­lic tran­sit as ne­c­es­sary and prac­ti­cal. Call­ing MetroLink the "ghetto snake" is ig­no­rant, racist, even un­for­giv­able. – Larry L. Brown, Glen

Car­bon

PRE­PARE THE CHILD FOR THE PATH

A re­cent St. Louis Na­tional Pub­lic Ra­dio pro­gram show­cased a group of church moth­ers who de­scend once a month on a nearby col­lege cam­pus to of­fer stu­dents shouts of en­cour­age­ment, high-fives and hugs. They try to soothe away the ill-ef­fects of mi­croag­gres­sions; brief and com­mon­place daily ver­bal, be­hav­ioral, or en­vi­ron­men­tal in­dig­ni­ties, whether in­ten­tional or un­in­ten­tional, that com­mu­ni­cate hos­tile, deroga­tory, or neg­a­tive slights or in­sults. This also drives the per­ceived need for safe spa­ces, trig­ger warn­ings and the like.

One need only harken back to their col­lege ex­pe­ri­ence to ap­pre­ci­ate how much the col­le­giate world has changed.

In the book “The Cod­dling of the Amer­i­can Mind,” the au­thors and con­trib­u­tors of­fer in­sight into this phe­nom­e­non and its causes.

Th­ese iGen (short for In­ter­net gen­er­a­tion) stu­dents of to­day, born in/af­ter 1995, ar­rive on cam­pus ill-pre­pared for the rig­ors of col­lege life. They suf­fer from far higher rates of anx­i­ety, de­pres­sion and sui­cide than the mil­len­ni­als be­fore them. They grow up more slowly, with lives or­ches­trated by para­noid and/or he­li­copter par­ents and ab­sent op­por­tu­ni­ties for out­door free play. Suc­cess­ful test tak­ing and re­sume build­ing are their fo­cus of pri­mary and sec­ondary schools. The neg­a­tive at­tributes of the rapid growth of so­cial me­dia, smart­phones and other elec­tronic de­vices take their toll.

Uni­ver­si­ties are not caus­ing this na­tional men­tal health cri­sis but re­spond­ing to it. Par­ents, teach­ers, and ad­min­is­tra­tors need to heed the Na­tive Amer­i­can proverb, "Pre­pare the child for the path, not the path for the child."

– Bill Malec, O'Fal­lon

NON SEQUITUR

This is sort of a re­play to Joe McDon­nell and oth­ers that didn't get my re­marks re­gard­ing Notre Dame ver­sus Har­vard. There is no of­fi­cial com­par­i­son, but I think Notre Dame is head and shoul­ders above Har­vard.

My com­ment about "af­ter you die" and stu­pid­ity which eluded him as well, is proven by his com­ments. It means that the stupid don’t re­al­ize what is hap­pen­ing to them ei­ther.

And, although Jack Schrand's in­sights are not mine nec­es­sar­ily, I would say that without a course in the Con­sti­tu­tion, it should be ap­par­ent to every­one that there is a huge dif­fer­ence be­tween free­dom of re­li­gion and free­dom from re­li­gion. We don't have to be­lieve in any God. It’s just an­other choice. Try to keep up.

– Joseph Re­ichert, Belleville

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