James H. Korecko
Whipping up support against spanking: Robert Surgenor, a Berea police detective, obviously has some very deep problems that require therapy ["One-Man Swat Team," September 21]. What idiot spends his time writing a 239-page book on spanking children? And the entire city of Berea must be sleeping, as they pay his salary to encourage smacking juveniles for misbehavior. As any rational person knows, violence begets violence. If a child is misbehaving, go to a therapist, spend more time with him, encourage other activities, or use nonviolent techniques for discipline. Spanking a child reinforces the belief that the bigger and stronger person is always in the right. What about the mom who comes home drunk, and her kids have been waiting for dinner? Not appropriate behavior -- so do the kids get to slap her around? It seems only fair. Or the dad who missed the basketball game to work overtime? Does he get the belt, as long as there are no welts?
Of course, this man is a born-again Christian, which usually translates to "Believe what I believe or you don't exist, and if you complain, I will beat the shit out of you with the Bible." Of course, Berea has this maniac working the Juvenile beat, while I wouldn't allow him within one mile of a juvenile. I would assume that, if little Junior calls in that Dad just belted him with a shovel, Mr. Surgenor says, "You probably deserved it, you little bad-seed monster. You listen to your father and honor your father, or you will burn in hell. At least a shovel doesn't leave marks, so quit your complaining."
So he is bothering people with handouts of Bible verses, handouts on corporal punishment, installing a video camera in his cruiser for footage to submit to such classics as World's Scariest Police Chases, etc. Lovely way to spend your spare time. As he is writing a book, 'No Clue,' on psychology involved with parenting, I think he should turn the camera around and video himself as World's Scariest Cop. Wake up, Berea!
Randy Sindelar Corturillo
Rehabilitate, don't incarcerate: Once again our government -- this time our local government -- thinks it is necessary to build another prison. This is more of our government philosophy of "build more prisons and fill them." The only reason that we have overcrowded jails is The War on Drugs. According to the 1998 National Institute of Justice and FBI reports, 65 percent of those incarcerated in local, state, and federal facilities are jailed for nonviolent drug offenses! Why do we insist on making the use of certain drugs a criminal justice issue, rather than a public health issue?
Instead of jailing those convicted of drug violations, they should be placed in mandatory treatment and counseling programs. Treatment is 15 times more effective at reducing serious crime than mandatory minimum sentencing, according to the RAND Drug Policy Research Center. We should help them to be contributing citizens, rather than warehouse them at great expense. We must resist building more jails. We must handle the drug issue in a more productive manner.