With his usual wit and perception, Al Martinez has quite rightly pointed out the lack of understanding of adolescents by lawmakers, including Councilwoman Joy Picus, in his column “Picusing Teens in the Valley” (July 25), describing efforts to establish curfews at teen discos.
If I were 16, I would understand precisely the logic that permits me legally to drive a motor vehicle but not to attend a movie rated R. I would also understand that as a male I would be required to register with the Selective Service System at the age of 18, with the potential of being required to risk my life in the service of my country, but that responsibility would not logically lead to permission to drink any alcoholic beverages for another three years.
Therefore, it makes perfect sense to restrict attendance at one of the few public places where teens may assemble so that their choices are either to not socialize or to assemble after curfew.
Either treat our teens as responsible individuals and allow them their few discos or treat them as irresponsible children and make their parents or legal guardians responsible for their acts.
Al Martinez’s brillance continues to amaze and delight me! Each and every time I read one of his articles, I am seized by an overpowering urge to respond. Most of the time I am able to control myself. Otherwise the editor would surely get sick of me and throw me off the page.
However, the discourse on teen-agers in the Valley caused me to throw caution to the wind, and my urge to write won! His ability to tease with words is never less than wonderful.
Treatment of Farm Animals
In response to the San Fernando Valley Fair, which just ended, something, I believe, needs to be said. Five-billion farm animals in this country are being sacrificed annually to satisfy our ravenous addiction to animal flesh products. Add to that another 2 billion animals bred and slaughtered in foreign lands, then exported to us for additional dining pleasure.
The enormous quantities of grain needed to help fatten this vast number of animals could easily feed the starving world, a well-publicized estimation worth repeating. The average American consumes almost 200 pounds of meat a year, which, in view of what is occurring in the world today, seems totally irresponsible--no, crazy. Ironically, the average American, in my judgment, does not look that good. Might there be a connection?
Further, it is outrageous that there are no humane laws relating to farm animals. Even pets, wildlife and lab animals have some minor protection--ineffectual though it may be--while the biggest victims of all, the farm animals, have nothing. Regarded as commercial property, they are confined and manhandled by agribusiness in an unspeakably cruel and unhealthy fashion as a generally unaware or disinterested public looks the other way.
A strange contradiction is that a country so sensitive to rights, liberty and freedom from oppression almost totally ignores the pathetic plight of today’s technologically abused and depressed farm animal. Yet we say we care and that we love animals. Especially, it seems, for breakfast, lunch and dinner.
Burke is the Los Angeles director of the Farm Animal Reform Movement. Kindness Not Dead
During a windstorm last week, one of the limbs of a tree in our yard blew down, obstructing the sidewalk. I called the city because it was in the parkway, but phones were busy and I realized the fires were utmost in priority. So I decided to wait until later.
A neighbor across the street had guests come over, pulled the limb into his yard and cut it into kindling--all without expecting a thank you.
We are in our 80s, and he is a young man. It shows that kindness isn’t dead in the Valley.
MRS. BERNARD J. BENSON