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The Journal Gazette

Sunday, December 03, 2017 1:00 am

Letters to the editor

Trump needs us all in handling N. Korea

North Korea has fired what independent experts say is an intercontinental ballistic missile. It flew higher than any previous North Korean launch, showing it could have reached U.S. targets as far east as Washington, D.C. In response, President Donald Trump – without being specific – said, “We will take care of it.”

All members of Congress and all Americans, without regard to politics or how they may feel about Trump, should support him in this trying circumstance. North Korea has repeatedly stated it intends to attack our country with nuclear weapons as soon as it can. Even President Barack Obama, a Nobel Peace Prize winner, during his time as commander in chief never ruled out pre-emptive military action as an option if circumstances warranted such. But is now the time to take military action? Such action cannot be undone and may have unforeseeable consequences. Instead, should we continue to wait as North Korea gets ever closer to being able to land a nuclear weapon on us?

These questions, in light of North Korea's recent launch, must now weigh even heavier on Trump. He may not be “your president.” But like it or not, in fact and at law, Trump is everyone's president, and he needs and deserves our support, at least on this difficult issue.

Russ Kirby

Fort Wayne

Unafraid women, men can craft just society

Read a post recently amidst the wave of sexual assault accusations surfacing against celebrities and political figures that stated, “It's a scary time to be a man in society.”

I nodded in solemn silence when reading the popular response of, “Maybe now you can understand how scary it's always been for women.” Yet I feel the clarification still isn't hitting home for a lot of people as to the importance of this issue.

Yes, it is a scary time for men – who are rapists. For men who sexually assault women, children and other men. They are caught in a dangerous society where there is an awakening. Where women are pushing forward against offenders who sit in positions of power and influence, instead of cowering in fear. For we, as women, are learning.

It is a scary time for men who trust that other women will do the dirty work of ripping apart a victim's report, for we are learning that one story is all of our stories. We are learning that one of us could be any of us and is, in effect, each of us.

It is a scary time for men who could always deflect their crimes to the superiority of their athletic skill, executive status, standing in government, celebrity fan clubs and massive bank accounts. For we, as women, have learned that one's skills, talents, blessings and responsibilities are irrelevant when set against the crimes they inflict on another human.

It is, indeed, a scary time for men who have been hiding for years against their past transgressions, for we as women have learned that there is no shelf life for sexual assault, no expiration on suffering and no progress in demanding a time period in which a victim can come forward to face her violator.

We, as women, have learned to lift each other up as opposed to holding down, to believe instead of doubt and to heal instead of judge.

Slowly, we are learning what Abigail Adams wrote to be true then as it is now, “Remember the Ladies, and be more generous and favourable to them than your ancestors. If particular care and attention is not paid to the Ladies, we are determined to foment a rebellion, and will not hold ourselves bound by any Laws in which we have no voice, or Representation.”

We, as women, have learned that when we come together we can create a society in which men such as these should be very, very afraid of what we are capable of to those who wish to do our children, our fellow sisters and our brothers harm.

We, as women, have learned to stop being afraid. And our hope is to create a society with unafraid men beside us.

Jama Smith

Fort Wayne

Writer gets it right on state of Congress

Bruce Cynar (Letters: “Congress' sleazy practice,” Nov. 29) expressed my sentiments exactly. Unfortunately, I see no end in sight. In addition to rust, sleaze never sleeps.

Gary Huguenard


Painful, yet essential, workplace progress against sexual harassment

In the wake of allegations against Matt Lauer that resulted in his firing, the question of misconduct in the workplace rears its ugly head again.

Years ago, I worked as a stockbroker and securities trader on an exchange floor in Louisville. Within this bullpen setting were 10 traders, four of us women.

While many employees enjoyed lingering in the trading pit observing the stock market action, one particular executive made a habit of placing his hands on my voluptuous colleague's shoulders.

He then began to massage her neck saying, “Now doesn't that feel good, honey?”

My co-worker later confessed she was very uncomfortable yet hesitated to speak up as he was a senior officer at the firm.

Fast forward a few years to my new career setting in professional ministry. Surprisingly, inappropriate workplace behavior followed.

Fresh out of seminary, I attended a ministerial gathering where an esteemed colleague and mentor grabbed my clergy vestment stole, pulled me to him and kissed me.

Like my securities colleague from the previous decade, I felt uncomfortable, even embarrassed. Unlike my colleague, I recounted the episode to another established female clergy who quipped, “Oh, that's just old Harold. He does that to us all.”


These perpetrators are not unrefined barbarians. They are esteemed, trusted colleagues who know better, yet cross the line anyway.

In their wake are disappointed co-workers riddled with fragility and shame over a sin they did not commit.

Savannah Guthrie, Lauer's long-time “Today” show co-host, raised the question many are asking. “We are grappling with a dilemma that so many people have faced these past few weeks: How do you reconcile your love (or admiration) for someone with the revelation that they have behaved badly?”

I'm glad these sordid workplace events have come to light. They are inviting discussion yet again about how men and women can safely and effectively work together.

Only as more women share their “uncomfortable moment” stories and as more firms hold offenders accountable can progress be made.

Rev. Mona Safley

Fort Wayne