Protecting children 

I am writing to thank the Times and especially Mara Leveritt for her excellent article "My Heart to Shatter." There is much lip-service paid to protecting children in our culture, but child abuse remains accompanied by many myths and evasions. As a clinical social worker who's practiced with both children and adult survivors of sexual abuse, I appreciate the truths illuminated in Leveritt's article. Our schools do some educating about "stranger danger," but statistically a child is most likely to be abused by someone he or she knows: a family friend, relative, neighbor, church member, etc. Perpetrators are also excellent at pegging children and adolescents who are already in turmoil, from previous abuse, family or peer struggles, etc. It is vitally important that parents and caregivers get comfortable talking about body safety with their children. Parents can start as early as 2 or 3, using developmentally appropriate books to teach their children how to understand sexual boundaries and repel abusers. I recommend that parents have such talks with their children at least yearly, to continue the discussion and let their kids know "this is a topic we talk about in our family." The shame and fear that keep child victims silent must be combated by families, schools, and communities. Thanks again for covering such an epidemic safety, mental health, and human rights issue.

Katie Logan Richardson, LCSW

Little Rock

I read your recent article about a young girl who was raped by a family friend and I was so impressed with the level of writing and understanding given to the story that I had to see who the author was after reading it. I will have you understand I don't normally read through an article but will scan through it but I read every word it was so well written. I could feel the compassion and respect paid to a 12- year-old child wise beyond her years and the belief in her account of the story. I have never written to the Times but have appreciated Mara Leveritt's articles before. I think all of your writers do well but to me this was special.

P. Thames

Little Rock

For the homeless

Max Brantley in his well-written, well-reasoned and spot-on column Dec. 9 mentioned City Director Erma Hendrix, who's been quoted elsewhere saying, "The homeless are not taxpayers. They are not residents of this city so why do we spend so much time on the homeless?" This is false on 3 counts:

They ARE taxpayers ... They pay taxes when they buy a hamburger, a beer, smokes or when they pay $30 for a motel room, whether from working [e.g. unloading trucks] or panhandling.

They are residents. They live in Little Rock ... today. Many of them have lived in Little Rock and/or Arkansas for many years. They are also citizens ... citizens of the city and more importantly of the United States. How many of the critics of the homeless know what is emblazoned on the Statue of Liberty: "... give me ... your homeless ..."

We don't spend much time on the homeless, either the city or its citizens. The Day Resource Center was proposed in the 10-year plan about four years ago to be in operation three years ago and has been DELAYED since.

Finally, as Max says so well, many are veterans, all are humans.

Robert Johnston

Little Rock


Arkansas has a surplus of lawyers, but has two law schools. We have a shortage of dentists and no dental school.

Go figure.

Frank Wilson

Little Rock

Tax cuts

It's too bad that our president does not recognize a bully when he encounters one. Regarding the extension of middle class tax cuts he just got backed down by a big fat Republican bully. Having been a child and raised three there is one thing I know — the only way to deal with a bully is to stand up to him. He has to know you are willing to take a punch but you will not back down. We just backed down without even taking the punch. The bully still has his bluff in and this won't be the last time he uses it.

Pamela Kell

Little Rock


Why is there so much hate in the world?

I hate you because you are green, yellow, red, white, black, purple, blue and all shades of gray and that is only your skin color.

I hate you because you are Jewish, Christian, Hindu, Muslim, atheist, gay, transvestite, fat, ugly, skinny, etc. It goes on forever.

Soooo. Live in your little box and hate the world and never come out except to hate. Guess what? If you did you might discover a new way of thinking outside of that box. Your brain might expand and encompass something called love.

I do not have time for "box people." They make the world a hateful place.

Beverly A. Clary

Little Rock


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