Kokomo Tribune; Kokomo, Indiana

March 4, 2014

March 6, 2014: Letters to the editor

Kokomo Tribune

---- — Closure of U.S. 31for 7 months ‘insane’

In case it was not noticed, the Tribune published a small article a few days ago from The Associated Press with a dateline of Carmel, Ind. It was a small article, but the content should have caught the attention of hundreds or even thousands of people from our area.

U.S. 31 through Carmel is to be closed to traffic, totally, between April 4 and Nov. 27, Thanksgiving. That is more than seven months! My first thought was this has to be insane.

Look at the map. There is no other easy way to Indianapolis. The choices will be to travel to Ind. 28 in Tipton County, then either west 13 miles to U.S. 421 or east through Tipton to Ind. 19 (5 miles) or Ind. 37 (14 miles); then south to Indianapolis. Or, alternatively, keep going south to Ind. 32 at Westfield; then either east or west several miles.

And, who knows about that? If you have not noticed, the Westfield area around U.S. 31 is a mess, too, with many buildings now gone and piles of materials stored here and there. Ind. 32 may not be accessible. And none of these alternative routes will be easy given they are two lane and most go through already congested areas.

The planning for the “improvement” of U.S. 31 by closing all access from the north and south through Carmel is going to result in the end of many businesses and the loss of who knows how many jobs. Already the mess around Carmel and before that at Ind. 38, the road to Noblesville, has caused huge disruptions.

Now to think that the main highway will be closed for more than seven months is unbelievable. There are hundreds of people who travel to and from the Kokomo area every day for jobs. And who knows how many semitrailers make this trip daily?

Getting to destinations each day has already been enough of a challenge this season. Now to add a total highway closing for an extended period of more than seven months is, indeed, insane.

Kent Blacklidge


Religion teaches usto hate ‘different’

He was whipped 20 times across the back. He probably thought it would never end. The people outside the courtroom said the punishment was not enough, that he should be stoned to death. What did this man, convicted in Nigeria, do exactly? Rape or murder someone? Well, he had consensual sex with another man.

In Abuja, the nation’s capital, a mob armed with iron bars and wooden clubs dragged 14 gay men from their homes to a police station where they were beaten and kicked by police. They were threatened with 14 years in prison.

If you state gays should be free from violence in Nigeria, you will be jailed. Any support or activism for gay rights in Nigeria, Uganda or even Russia is a crime.

What motivates this kind of hate and violence? A few things, but one of them is a fundamentalist view of religion that teaches people to despise and hate gays.

Gays don’t suffer such institutional violence in the U.S., though they are still victims of random anti-gay attacks. But religion in the U.S. often teaches they should be despised and hated.

Christians and Muslims in nations like Nigeria are united by one thing, their hatred of those who are gay. We don’t see this degree of hatred in the U.S. because even the Enlightenment has affected positively even the most religious in America. Why we allow religion to teach us to hate those different then ourselves, I will never know.

Jerome McCollom