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Drone victims were 'massacred,' too

Why do we use words like "mass killing" to describe the horror of San Bernardino and Orlando but never use this language to describe 207 Pakistani children killed in drone strikes since 2004?

According to the Bureau of Investigative Journalism, the total number of civilians killed in Syria, Yemen, Somalia, and Afghanistan exceeds 1,200. The number of injured civilians in these countries exceeds 4,000. Why do we call the slaughter of innocent civilians in American-led wars "operations," but call acts of individual rampage in an Orlando nightclub a massacre?

As far as I can tell, the only difference between one attack and the other is the size of the guns used and the color of the flag sewn on the uniform of the person who squeezed the trigger. In both cases, the lives of the individual victims matter very little. All that seems to matter is their symbolic worth as representations of concepts such as impurity, evil, communism, capitalism, terrorism, imperialism, heathenism, and barbarism. Isn't this what collateral damage ultimately means?

I really do not care if people find what I have to say offensive. I find terrorism offensive. I find hatred of homosexuals and people of different sexual orientations to be offensive. I find disgracing the prophets' compassion to be offensive. I find Just War Theory to be offensive. I find violence against children to be offensive. I find assault rifles and drones to be offensive.

Killing innocent children with hellfire missiles in Pakistan is no less a sin than the hate crime Omar Mateen committed in Orlando. Either we stop justifying all warfare or we accept the consequences of war completely.


Payne is founder of Gandhi Earth Keepers International.

'Free college' isn't free

Tim Macaluso nailed it with his article "Footing the Free College Bill" (Higher Education, June 22).

Many younger people fresh out of college (or going in) seem really confused about what it actually costs to put them through a typical four-year program. There is an economics lesson to be learned for all: There is no such thing as a free lunch. Somebody is paying for it, and it's not just the 1 percent.

Free college for all doesn't mean the person will be any more motivated to seek work. I also agree that college isn't right for all and that you can be successful without a traditional four-year degree.

Thank you for shining light on the planning issue: many don't do any personal financial planning, let alone plan for college. This is a huge issue in our society and has many short- and long-term consequences.

You choose to go to college, you choose what to study, you choose how hard you want to study, and you choose how motivated you are after graduation to get a job (doing anything). Nobody else should be on the hook to foot the bill for your decisions.


I'm glad the free college tuition issue is being discussed. My thoughts (at no cost to you):

• Free community college simply makes high school a six-year experience, rather than the current four years.

• Free public higher education will make private school education even more elitist than it is already.

• Free college tuition presumes everyone needs a traditional higher education experience.

• Folks value what they have to work for. Paying tuition often makes students think a bit harder about what they are studying and why.

College is very expensive, and that needs to change. But the change needs to include more and better education in the trades and less focus on college for all (leaving those who can't do it out in the cold.)

And prospective college students should be provided with more data on what their chosen major offers in terms of jobs after graduation. Entering a journalism program at a traditional technical college, for example, will not offer many decent employment opportunities, while leaving students with a butt load of debt they can't afford to pay.


Apartments in the park

On Rochester Management's proposal to replace existing senior-citizen apartments on private land within Cobbs Hill Park with four-story apartment buildings: "Unfortunately, they are all going to have to be displaced and find other living. Returning this to parkland would not change the effect on them," said Chris Stevens from the Upper Monroe Neighborhood Association.

Why is this suddenly an option? These apartments house the elderly and have been here for almost 60 years. Suddenly they want to throw the elderly away and knock down their home to make it more of a park? Are you kidding me? Shame on you!


This is a very rare opportunity to expand the footprint of the park. Senior homes can be placed almost anywhere. Expanding an urban park is almost impossible to achieve. Let's take advantage of this opportunity now. Move the senior home to one of the many vacant plots of land located throughout the city.


Seriously? Someone can't build a couple of four-story buildings in the city? What a bunch of crybabies. Move to the suburbs.


The present buildings are not a bad fit for the location, considering their modest size, and especially taking into account their historical background. Putting in two four-story buildings with 104 total units would be totally inconsistent with the location, and have very negative effects on the park (aesthetics and traffic in particular). Thumbs up to Mayor Warren for halting this project.