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The Journal Gazette

Saturday, November 04, 2017 1:00 am


Unintentional message in arsonist's sentence

Nykolas E. Elkin, who set the fire by use of a firework to Auburn's Eckhart Public Library last summer, got a very mixed if not wrong message from our justice system. His sentence of 14 years in prison told him the more you mess with society, the longer your punishment; it also sent him the message that crimes against humans who are younger and more vulnerable than you can be negotiated to lesser charges with plea agreements made for less time.

Elkin was already a convicted sex offender on probation, according to The Journal Gazette article. He had served six years of an eight-year sentence.

No doubt the crime of arson is serious, and much was lost. However, I argue that books, media, information and buildings are much easier to replace and repair than the damage done to human souls when they are raped, molested and forced into situations of vulnerability.

As social media sees a wave of #metoo awareness, where mostly women and some men have come forward to share their stories of pain, may the calls for justice awareness in cases of sexual misconduct be heard. May we all learn to hear each other's words when our fellow humans say “no.” May we also interpret the fear in their eyes as “no” when they are too afraid to speak or have been told to be silent. Let us also discover the courage to still speak up for all that is good.

Charlene A. Rorick

New Haven

Local jazz scene vibrant

On Oct. 22, I had the chance to witness five beyond-superb local musicians bring it!

Jazz is an art form that some get and some choose to live without. Fort Wayne has so much talent, and the Love Supreme Ensemble performed at Wunderkammer Art Gallery, sparking fires in people who have been listening while watching the embers crackling in their heads for I'm not sure how long.

I want to think this is an arts community before a sports community, but that would be bias. Fort Wayne is both and all of the above. That being said, I feel it's never a better time to support the visual arts and music that reside here. They killed it and gave a revival. The Big Apple Jazz Club kicked off its series, and I hope to see even more art and support come from the shadows and spread light into the wavering dark.

There is more than just radio music, you know. Thanks for listening.

T. J. Reid

Fort Wayne

Let's move past denial to stem climate change

The unusual intensity of the wildfires and hurricanes we've seen this year is among the destructive results of global warming. Other signs are unmistakable: Arctic and Antarctic ice is melting; sea levels are rising; and each year sets a new record-high temperature for the surface of the earth.

Despite these realities, and in the face of all common sense, there are still people who pretend that global warming is not happening. There are two groups of people who deny climate change: the ones benefiting from the coal, oil and gas industries through profits, paychecks and political contributions; and those who, for whatever reason, believe what the first group is telling them.

There is something else going on as well. When a person receives a diagnosis of a potentially fatal disease, such as cancer, the first response is often denial. Sometimes this refusal to believe the truth causes people to delay doing what is necessary to save their life.

Many of us who are not yet directly affected by global warming are like that person who receives a potentially fatal diagnosis but is not feeling sick and refuses to believe the truth. 

The threat is real, but it's not too late if we move past denial and do what is necessary. Radiation and chemotherapy are hard, but they can stop the cancer. Living without fossil fuels will be hard, but it can stop global warming.

Bob Gross

North Manchester