Reviews | America the Imperfect, July 4

For the editor:

Regarding “America the Merciless”, by Pamela Paul (column, June 27):

Mrs. Paul asks how we have become such a cruel and ruthless country when the majority of us value compassion and mercy. The answer is that this country is not based on majority rule.

We have small rural states with two senators that together have more voting power than large urban states, also with two senators. We have an electoral college system that favors small rural states. We have a Republican Party that has become increasingly authoritarian, violent and vindictive. We have a Democratic Party that is chronically unable to stand up to bullies.

I share Mrs. Paul’s hope that the good we have will overcome the evil within us.

Myrna Lueck
Ypsilanti, Mich.

For the editor:

Essays like this one by Pamela Paul are decidedly useless in describing our country, because for every example she cites, there are many more that demonstrate our good neighborliness and generosity. For example, the same country of unparalleled gun violence is unmatched in charitable giving.

America is not ruthless; America has problems like all other countries. This compulsion to indict one’s character is all too common among the left and may be acceptable in the academy, but it creaks outside the ivy walls.

Ari Weitzner
New York

For the editor:

Pamela Paul’s question “How do we celebrate the 4th of July in a country whose laws and institutions so often fail to bring out the best in us?” pushes me to decide, unfortunately and after several years of evading the issue, not to show colors this forthcoming fourth – a variant of Colin Kaepernick, so to speak.

Richard Boyce
San Francisco

For the editor:

Regarding “Questioning security technologies in schools” (Business, June 27):

As noted in this article, there is little hard evidence that any of the many electronic gadgets promoted by the tech industry in school districts will, as advertised, reduce the likelihood of future rampant school shootings. Nevertheless, the industry continues to invest huge sums of money in its lobbying campaigns to promote this blatantly false claim.

Tragically, the billions of dollars raised by this industry are diverted from less expensive essential school needs such as after-school and tutoring programs, repairing failing infrastructure, and effective violence prevention strategies.

In fact, four evidence-based strategies have been shown to reduce rates of school violence: programs designed to promote nurturing cultures in schools, social-emotional skills training programs, identification of warning signs of students in distress and rigorous methods for assessing and responding to student threats.

For school boards and parents considering the purchase of electronic equipment to improve safety, we encourage you instead to consider investing in proven programs and strategies.

Michael B. Greene
Montclair, New Jersey
The author is a developmental psychologist and chair of the National Prevention Science Coalition’s Violence Prevention Task Force.

For the editor:

Regarding “Microsoft promises neutrality in Activision Union efforts” (Business, June 14):

The recent neutrality agreement between Microsoft and the Communications Workers of America (CWA) – in which Microsoft agrees not to oppose unionization at a game maker it acquires – is extremely significant as an example of the new social contract needed between management and workers in our country.

Instead of viewing the union as the enemy to be fought, as Starbucks and Amazon have done at great expense, Microsoft President Brad Smith sees the value of unions. Unions allow companies to innovate and improve their products and services.

This new social contract between Microsoft and the CWA is an extremely useful approach for other companies and organizations. Creating a collaborative process allows an organization to utilize the skills and knowledge of all employees, not just management. This process is critical to strengthening our economy and addressing the challenges workplaces are now facing due to the pandemic.

Pierre Lazes
West Stockbridge, Mass.
The author is a visiting professor at Penn State’s School of Labor and Employment Relations.

For the editor:

Regarding “Brazilians operate a black market in abortion pills” (front page, June 30):

The Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade will force some women to buy dodgy abortion pills from drug dealers at inflated prices. If the Food and Drug Administration eliminated the prescription requirement for abortion drugs, out-of-state utility organizations could ship them in unmarked packages to women who need them.

The ready availability of abortion pills could serve as an underground railroad for women victimized by the court’s cruel decision.

Joshua P. Hill
New London, Conn.

For the editor:

The extreme laws triggered by the Supreme Court’s decision overturning Roe v. Wade are based on the religious belief in a soul at conception.

With a large percentage of pregnancies ending in miscarriage, the God these lawmakers believe in is certainly working in mysterious ways.

Deborah Moran

Donald E. Patel