Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor


Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor


Article excerpt

Lessons from the Amish decision to forgive

Regarding the Oct. 4 article, "A pattern in rural school shootings": Coverage of the violence in our schools has emphasized the problems wrought by unchecked anger. Let's hope that society is now ready to address solutions.

The murderer's expressions of anger against life, God, authorities, and colleagues echo what I heard while interviewing violent offenders in the prison system. The lesson is that harsher punishments will do little to stem violence because so many offenders are too enraged (or intoxicated) to be mindful of specific punishments or even the risk of apprehension.

Rather than taking the counterproductive path of fighting violence with violence - as do war and the death penalty - it behooves us to introduce anger-management programs in schools, churches, and workplaces.

Let's teach and role-play healthy responses to negative emotions. Anger is at the root of myriad social problems; before more children die, let's draw strength from our own anger about recent tragedies to effect change. David A. Anderson Danville, Ky.Author, "Sometimes I Get So Angry!"

Regarding your Oct. 6 editorial, "The Amish protest against evil": Your fine tribute to the forgiving nature of the Amish was moving.

The horror of the little girls' deaths has somehow been obscured by the unfathomable ability of the people most directly affected to forgive and to nurture the family of the murderer. What a lesson for the time in which we live!

Instead of being consumed by hate and revenge against the so- called terrorists, we might very well change the world for the good by following the example of the Amish. Conrad Wagner Olympia, Wash.

While your editorial addressing the Amish quality of forgiveness was indeed inspiring, I must take issue with the notion that showing forgiveness somehow demonstrates that people are different from or better than animals. …

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