- The Washington Times - Sunday, June 20, 2004

A common ancestry …

I am a pro-American, pro-war, mildly pro-Bush, English-speaking Scots-Irish loyalist from Northern Ireland. I am, however, disturbed by the attitude of R. Emmett Tyrrell Jr. toward my continent in his column “A little less in little Europe” (Commentary, Friday).

He tries to discredit Europe and its history, even though it is the mother continent of the great republic he so loves. He writes of American cities: “It has only taken little more than two centuries to create them and to transform a wilderness into the brilliant and productive landscape I pass en route to the lovely Virginia mountains. Perhaps because our ancestors were so energetic and capable, Old Europe’s descendants of peasants and effete aristocrats feel a bit ashamed.”

Perhaps this is simply meant to be funny, but as I look out at the beautiful Mourne Mountains from the farm my family has worked for hundreds of years, until the late 19th century as tenants of aristocrats (we were peasants, I suppose), I feel no shame about my heritage. Indeed, many in my family have emigrated down the centuries, most of them younger sons who joined the teeming masses who poured from Europe into North America to build the hundreds of cities about which Mr. Tyrrell writes.

I do not believe I am inferior because I am descended from incapable,unenergetic lowlifes who decided to stay home on the farm. As for his sideswipe at European colonialism, he is writing from Virginia — a state named for a 16th- and 17th-century European monarch, Elizabeth I of England, the Virgin Queen. America would not have existed had it not been for European colonialism.

If Mr. Tyrrell wants to persuade Europeans to come to his point of view, he is not going to do so by saying they are endemically useless, beyond repair. A better approach for Americans and Europeans alike would be to emphasize what we share in common, which is a lot more than Mr. Tyrrell seems to recognize.

STEPHEN WILSON

County Armagh

Northern Ireland

Baseless claims

I must take issue with several assertions in the penultimate paragraph of “‘Partial truth’ abortion,” by Thomas Sowell (Commentary, June 5). It’s dismaying to read in a responsible newspaper such as The Washington Times a column that in part appears to reflect an anti-homosexual bias. The writer presents not facts but accusations. Here are examples:

“[A]trocities committed against homosexuals are big news.” Documentation to substantiate this assertion is lacking. What is the record of The Washington Times on reporting such atrocities? Exactly what is meant by “big news”?

“[A]trocities committed by homosexuals,including against children, are unlikely to see the light of day in much of the media.” Why does Mr. Sowell add “including against children”? Where is the documentation for these assertions?

“Neither is any statistical information on how homosexuals differ from the general population in lifespan, diseases or costs to taxpayers for dealing with their diseases.” Even if such data were available, what would be the purpose of reporting them by the media? Come to think of it, such data could be gathered much more easily for a whole range of vulnerable subpopulations.

Health-care costs, a concern noted in the column, could be collected for those populations and the general population, and elegant comparisons computed. Given the knowledge developed through those comparisons, the powers that be might decide, for example, that economic conditions and budgetary retrenchments demand crucial decisions affecting these now-more-sharply-defined subpopulations.

In addition to homosexuals, those in authority might begin to identify criminals, Gypsies, Jehovah’s Witnesses, political prisoners, Jews and those regarded as “unworthy of life” because of genetic diseases or defects. The latter might well include persons with mental retardation, the mentally ill, the physically handicapped, chronically ill children and the elderly residents of nursing homes.

JAMES V. DOLSON

Springfield

Flawed geography?

In his narrative about the summer of l964 in and around Philadelphia, Miss. (“Triumph of courage,” Op-Ed, Friday), David Pitts states that “the racial dynamic of this small Delta town is now little different than that of the rest of the state and the nation.” He also states that he visited Philadelphia several summers ago.

Unless he flew in by glider or helicopter, Mr. Pitts must have consulted a map. Perhaps he did not notice that Philadelphia is about 40 miles northwest of Meridian, Miss., and about 40 miles west of the Alabama border. The Delta is the area bordering Arkansas and is in the northwestern portion of the state. It is a completely different area and is rather famous in its own right.

I am surprised that someone so well-versed in the history of Philadelphia and its sins would make such a mistake.

SUSAN M. LOW

Vienna by Christina Bellantoni: This well-written article fails to weave in some of the existing questions on this subject. It is all well and good that the federal government has given more than $800,000 to Arlington and Fairfax counties to crack down on illegal aliens and the criminal elements they spawn. However, the money and the wording of the law do not go far enough.

What good is it to pass money on to Arlington County when board Chairwoman Barbara Favola openly has refused to seek out and arrest the illegal element that ravages her jurisdiction? Her police chief has said, in effect, that his officers will get to the problem if they have the time (“Arlington to ignore law aimed at illegals,” April 26). The county executive would rather have a warm and fuzzy feeling about her constituency, no matter how many have to die.

In Fairfax County, Acting Police Chief Suzanne Devlin sees illegal aliens, especially members of violent gangs, as misunderstood youths with no outlet for their pent-up energies. It took a teen having his hands chopped off to get her off the dime.

When Department of Justice statistics clearly show that a large percentage of all violent gang members are illegal aliens, it would seem clear to a dedicated police chief that she should move with determination to round up these people and turn them over to the Bureau of Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

When county executives or police chiefs have difficulty with the definition of illegal behavior, it is time to change those officials. Gov. Mark Warner needs to authorize the state police to enter these jurisdictions and make certain the laws are enforced.

Sen. George Allen may make strong statements, but they mean nothing without the will to put words into action.

WILSON FARIS

Gaithersburg

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