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High expectations of farmers

In his March 12 commentary regarding Indiana Senate Bill 373, Damian Mason noted that because “85 percent of Americans are at least two generations removed from farming … much of what happens on the farm is shocking to suburbia.”

There is an increasing recognition that we need to improve our agricultural literacy – our understanding of where our food comes from and how it is produced. Mason points out that farms are private property – and as such what goes on there is none of our business.

Mason tries to paint everyone who questions the bills before the Indiana legislature as a “radical” or “animal rights vigilante.” I am none of these. I am a just a suburban homemaker who likes to cook, support local businesses, and who cares about where I live. When I can, I try to buy my meat from local farms. I still purchase some meat from grocery stores and eat meat at restaurants, but that does not mean that I do not care how the animals are treated. If Americans are going to eat meat, then we owe it to ourselves, the animals and our natural surroundings to assure that the farms that raise these animals are operated to the highest standards.

I think highly enough of my local farmers that I set higher expectations for the sustainability of their operations. I want all of them to make a good living, keep a higher percentage of my food dollar for their hard and conscientious labor, and I want them to feel proud enough of their farm practices and their stewardship of their land that they would welcome visitors to their farm.


Come together to end violence

I think the Urban League is on the right track in holding meetings for the community to address the violence in our city. It’s a good beginning. I would like to suggest a larger arena where more people would be able to come together. I also would love to see the police department representatives and the mayor there, working with the citizens in coming up with solutions by brainstorming solutions that will prevent the violence.

We need to understand how criminal behavior begins, and if we can do that we might have a good chance of stopping it. Child neglect, abuse, etc. are some of the reasons why children develop criminal behavior. Peer pressure is another reason that some of our children engage in activities that they normally would not.

So let’s begin to form neighborhood groups that meet and help one another with seeing potential problems and develop support systems. In addition to the neighborhood meetings, people can come together to discuss what they’ve seen in their neighborhoods and discuss potential solutions.

We all need to meet and discuss how to disarm and how to prevent this violence. Together we can make a difference.


Obama fails to lead on poverty

The problems plaguing our society are many, but none more devastating than poverty and its effect on the lives of future generations. Poverty is where so many in our society find themselves – out of no choice of their own. Alcohol, drug abuse, teen pregnancy, gang violence and crime are devastating side effects that entrap so many more in the downward spiral.

We should be promoting two-parent households with strong incentives that include parent participation in education. Most importantly, we need to do a better job of creating job opportunities. Our schools need to be part of the solution. We educate children in the many subjects laid out in the curriculum, but do we really prepare them to be productive, responsible adults? We can do better by requiring schools to promote better basic values throughout a student’s educational journey.

My suggestions will not solve all society’s ills or bring an immediate halt to gun violence, but future generations are being lost and we’re promoting generational poverty by a lack of meaningful action. I expected more out of our president. He’s a skilled community organizer, but his administration has failed to address the problems of impoverished neighborhoods. We can certainly do better.