News from the Tennessee Valley Opinion
SUNDAY, MAY 13, 2007


Sentencing will say a lot about our society

To The Daily: Lucky’s abuser will be sentenced May 17. On that day, I hope Lucky’s story will serve as a wake-up call for our community. It affords us the opportunity to consider that abuse of a helpless creature is a reflection upon us as a people. As the most powerful species on Earth, we human beings have a responsibility to protect those less powerful than ourselves.

Is the image of a mangled, defenseless, innocent animal thrown in a Dumpster to suffer an agonizing death how we want to see ourselves as a community? Is this how we want others across our nation to view us? Is it acceptable to send a message to our children that this abuse of Lucky was “just a mistake”?

Lucky’s abuse is a symptom of a much larger problem. Recent research shows that animal cruelty often occurs in tandem with family violence, child abuse, spousal abuse and elder abuse.

I hope our judicial system, by imposing the maximum penalty on Lucky’s abuser, will choose to acknowledge Lucky’s message. To ignore and minimize any creature’s suffering serves only to put at greater risk the defenseless and powerless among us human beings.

Janet Jenkins
President, Animal Friends Humane Society

Commercial should not encroach on residential

To The Daily: Regarding the recent article on D&G Auto Sales operating on the Beltline access road between Spring and Sandlin, the Realtor who brokered the deal said, “Maybe we should start handing out ‘move-businesses-out-of-Decatur’ signs.” Please.

Is Decatur so intent on becoming Huntsville that we are willing to accept any business, anywhere they want to go, no matter what? A residential neighborhood like Austinville that has existed for decades should take precedent over a business that wants to encroach upon that neighborhood. D&G has already made using the access road an absolute hazard to residents, who must run a gauntlet of vehicles parked on both sides of the narrow roadway, not to mention that the lot is literally in the backyard of residential properties. If you’re going to rezone this land for business use, then the existing residential lots must be protected as much as possible. It is neither unrealistic nor non-business-friendly to insist on this.

Let’s quit trying to be Huntsville and instead learn from the example of Madison, which strictly limits business encroachment upon residential areas. People deciding whether to live in Decatur or Huntsville usually choose either Madison or Decatur because they are “not-Huntsville,” where it’s often difficult to tell where a neighborhood ends and retail begins.

Why can’t we take pride in Decatur being neighbor-friendly and quit spouting the preposterous argument that we must accept every business that comes down the pike or die as a city? Why can’t we quit selling Decatur as being almost-like-Huntsville and start selling it as being Decatur — a place where neighborhoods still exist and are still valued?

Putting legitimate, neighborhood-friendly restrictions on where businesses can and cannot locate is good business and just plain common sense for Decatur.

Susan Szczepanski

Story of kidnapped girl exhibited love, compassion

To The Daily: The story of the two Polish girls kidnapped by the S.S. was intensely moving. The overall impression it made on me was how much love the adoptive parents must have shown to this young girl, to later aid in overriding the horrors she experienced: the kidnapping, time in a children’s concentration camp, beatings etc. and later knowledge of her father’s beheading and mother’s imprisonment at Auschwitz.

The fact that she returned to Germany for visits and that she still identifies with her German upbringing was an indication of their power of love and kindness. The adoptive mother returning Alice with the acknowledgement of the birth mother’s right and child’s best interest was a testimony to her character.

I wonder how her biological mother viewed these events. My heart goes out to her biological mother for what she must have endured before, during and after the kidnapping.

The story raised many questions for me. Above all, though, the principles of selflessness and love stand out and I hope this gave comfort to all involved. Thank you for printing this story.

Mary Alpher
Tinton Falls, N.J.

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