Letters to the Editor

America's liberty and happiness is dependent on the people

I had to read my article again after reading Tom Kiske's letter to see if I had opposed gun control, which I actually support -- especially for the military style automatic guns that are being used in so many of these mass shootings.

There are no easy answers to these issues, and we need to do all we can to protect the public, by passing laws to make it more difficult for those who are mentally or morally incapable of living responsible lives to do harm to others.

Of course, it is impossible to blame everyone in any generation, and no generation has gotten everything right -- not even our Founding Fathers generation -- but I was addressing major lifestyle changes when I wrote the following:

"The generations that have come to maturity since Woodstock have enjoyed more peace and prosperity than any generation in the history of man; however, these generations have become saturated with sex, drugs, alcoholism and broken families -- and our churches continue to be sold at auction to become Hard Rock Cafés."

Thus, I agree with James Madison that "to suppose that any form of government can secure liberty or happiness without virtue in the people is a chimerical idea."


College Station

The story of an actor sends a powerful message of inclusion

Thank you for the Aug. 11 editorial. The title, "Learning empathy from a gifted actor," sends a powerful message. The opening paragraph introduces Zach Gottsagen as a new face in the film industry who is starring in a film with big names: Bruce Dern, Shia LeBeouf and Dakota Johnson.

It is not until the middle of the second paragraph before it was noted that Gottsagen is an actor who happens to have Down syndrome. Not a Down syndrome actor, but an actor first who is talented, who has a dream to make it big in film.

I could go on and on about how the film industry continues to cast non-disabled actors in roles depicting people with disabilities. But, what I was struck with is how Gottsagen changed the lives of everyone around him. He inspired and motivated with genuine empathy and caring.

The unique point here is that he inspires not because he is labeled with Down syndrome, but because he is valued for who he is. He listens, is honest, direct, and a friend without agendas. He makes everyone around him better. His relationships are based in equity, not benevolence.

Gottsagen's kindness -- genuine kindness without judgment -- brings me comfort and hope following a week of hate and devastating loss.



{Editor's note: Garrison-Tate is founder of Community Now!, a statewide nonprofit organization supporting people with disabilities to live their lives as they define them.]