Regarding "Tangled roots of school violence" (April 23): First of all, you know nothing about "gothicness" or "gothic" people. A goth does not necessarily listen to Marilyn Manson, or read bomb instructions on the Internet. Most are nonviolent and seek better ways to deal with their adversaries. Most hate any form of racism, loving most people equally.
Secondly, the killers in Littleton were not gothic. I consider myself gothic, and I am deeply offended by your article. It presents a very one-sided, inaccurate view of a group and its attributes.
Regarding your article's description of gothic music: Manson and "black metal," or "heavy metal," are not fond types of music for gothic peoples. Most prefer bands such as Nosferatu, Switchblade Symphony, or Bauhaus. The most popular gothic-style band would be The Cure. If you listen to a few of their songs, you'll find no evil elements. You'll even find some nice orchestral segments.
Kenneth Love Ardmore, Okla.
In the past I have been friends with many "goths" and have been somewhat gothic myself. As I understand it, being goth involves much wearing of black clothing, hair dyed black, pale skin and moody expressions, and definitely not heavy metal T-shirts, trench coats, and swastikas. Being moody and introspective is definitely a goth requirement, but listening to black metal and death metal is not. Nor are goths prone to outward violent behavior. Most are too self-involved and peacefully obsessed with how dark the world is to care about blowing it up.
I understand that it is difficult to classify the rapidly changing styles and beliefs of today's youth, but "goth" is a relatively well-established lifestyle that's been around for about 15 years and should be accurately represented.
Stephanie Shaw Chapel Hill, N.C.
Thank you for printing the brief about the senior class at Whitehall High School in Whitehall, N.Y. ("Class act," April 19). It told how the seniors voted to give funds, which they had raised for their graduation trip, to the Red Cross instead, after seeing the refugees on TV. After the tragedy in Colorado I told friends about it, and they all said it made them feel good about young people.
Lou Ann Engelbert Webster, S.D.
Regarding your editorial responding to Littleton ("Working together," April 27):
American culture is fascinated with a mechanical view of life: Every problem has a systemic or institutional fix. There are institutional responses that are appropriate, but only after we as a community take stock through an introspective look.
We are all guilty - not by commission, but through omission. Whenever we fail to recognize the individual before us as a contributing part of society, we mentally rob them of their dignity. This is a form of prejudice that has subtle mechanisms that discriminate by "looks, clothes, attitudes."
We have a common responsibility to our community to decisively engage youth. The young people of the world are the "future caretakers" of culture and society. Let us inspire them through the process of education, learning who they are, who we were, so they can have a vision of what they might become: the problems solvers, leaders, innovators, artists, healers of future generations.
Rees Ryder Stevens Stuttgart, Germany
If Americans are serious about ridding our nation of the terror and tragedy caused by guns, as happened at Columbine High School, they can begin the process by never buying toy guns for children.
Donald S. Heintzelman Allentown, Pa.
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