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Letters to the editor

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August 23rd, 2011

Civility an endangered species? August 2011 issue

Nice doesn t equal good [The article] rightly identifies frequent examples of boorish language without identifying the causes: limited vocabulary versus deliberate avoidance of liability in choice of offensive speech. I believe using profanity and failure to speak precisely what s on their mind is a deliberate cover-up of what s in their heart, and that intention is what determines culpability. Until our educators teach ethical behavior in our schools and universities and professional people stop thinking being nice equals being good, this trend will continue.

Philip S., email

New light on the near assassination of Ronald Reagan July 2011 issue

John Hinckley s parents I documented those same 24 hours in a very different setting, the home of John Hinckley s parents in Evergreen, Colo. As with the three badly wounded men, the tragedy has been unending for Jack and Joann. The book I wrote with them (Breaking Points, Chosen Books, 1985) traces the experience of this ideal American family as they encounter the unthinkable. If they had any concern about their youngest child, it was that, compared with his high-achieving older brother and sister, John was too gentle, too unable to assert himself. When they eventually (and very reluctantly!) decided to do a book, it was with the hope that other families might recognize, as they had not, the early signs of severe mental illness.

Elizabeth S., Hingham, MA

A chance to hear history, July 2011 issue

Memories from old recordings Many thanks for the article directing readers to the Library of Congress site where old recordings can be heard. Today, I listened to a number of those and it brought back memories of my childhood not only melodies but words as well. Being born in 1930, many of the songs must have lingered and I m sure were sung by my parents or perhaps played on some type of player as I was a youngster.

Ruth S., email

The Seasoned Traveler July 2011 issue

Jane Austen, the Brontes, and Beatrix Potter I went there [England] back in 1981 and would love to return some day. I visited since I had played Anne Bronte in a not-too-well known play about the Bronte family, Masterpieces, that same year. I so loved the part, and I m grateful that you mentioned the lesser-known sister in your article, who was as gifted a writer as Emily and Charlotte.

Kathleen K., email

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