Sen. Ted Cruz, Pepper Spray, Clear Backpacks, Christians, Muslims, Andrew McCabe

Editor's note: April 4 marks the 50th anniversary of the death of Martin Luther King Jr. We'd like to ask readers: "What has the civil rights leader meant to you?" Submit a response at them seriouslyTexas Sen. Ted Cruz seems to have escaped the criticism leveled at Sen. Rick Santorum, who said protesting students should learn CPR or learn ways to deal with school shootings. Cruz, according to a tweet by Texas Tribune reporter Patrick Svitek, said during a Day of Unity gathering Sunday in Houston, "One of the things you need to remember is not to take yourself so doggone seriously. You're not that big a deal. ... In the long run, we're all dead."This tone-deaf condescension came a day after thousands of students in hundreds of cities took themselves seriously enough to challenge political inaction of hard-core gun-rights advocates such as Cruz. In the short run, it's Cruz who should take seriously the views of young people who see national gun violence as reason to become politically active.Mark Spencer, Cross RoadsA simple, easy solutionRe: "Questions, solutions from inside the classroom — Marti Harvey: Arm educators with pepper spray, not guns," Tuesday Viewpoints.With the good news that the causes of gun violence will be studied at the University of Texas at Dallas, and possibly even someday be funded by Congress at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, I look forward to seeing the production of charts that can clearly lay out, for all of us to see, good ideas and bad ideas.We've got a strong start on the bad list: bump stocks, AR-15s, gun show exemptions. But today Marti Harvey, an educator, made an excellent suggestion that I nominate for No. 1 on the good list: "Arm educators with pepper spray, not guns." Making her case for practicality, she emphasizes the portability, ease of access, real effectiveness and, importantly, the willingness of teachers who would have to arm themselves and use such a device. Let's be sure such great, if simple, ideas make the list in our search for solutions.Patricia (Pat) W. Evans, PlanoIs this school or prison?Re: "Students must use clear backpacks next school year — Changes to enhance security include more officers, ID badges," Wednesday Metro & State story.So we have clear backpacks, random backpack searches, student ID badges, locked classroom doors, more security cameras, security gates and more police officers and canine units.Are these students going to prison or class — because it's hard to tell the difference.I guess all that Ennis ISD is missing is metal detectors and visiting hours for family members.William Dominguez, East DallasChoose kindnessI sincerely hope and pray that the kids involved in these protests understand that they themselves can be the front line in keeping their schools safe by respecting and treating their peers with kindness. Sometimes it's those "different" children who are ostracized, bullied or ridiculed by their fellow students whose thoughts can turn to darkness and violence. These kids can make a huge difference in their own schools by respecting each other. We as parents and teachers must teach our kids that all humanity has been created in the image of God, and so all deserve respect. We all must reach out to those who feel alone and unworthy to help them to realize that they too have a purpose to exist on this planet. All of us need to know that somebody cares. Peer pressure, fear, intimidation — these do not change hearts. Love and kindness will change hearts. Jesus Christ came to this earth to demonstrate God's love and compassion to us all —"for God so loved the world ..."May more of us allow His Spirit to move through us to bind up the brokenhearted among us to perhaps remove the fear and violence in a soul before it has a chance to take root and erupt into another dark headline.Scott David Smith, GarlandWe can all worship hereRe: "Christians are not infidels," by Elaine Coullias, Friday Letters.Maybe things are different in Elaine Coullias' part of Highland Park. But here in Plano, I haven't noticed any Muslims hanging around street corners criticizing us helpless "infidels" for not following Shariah law. Nor have I noticed any Christians at our malls castigating women who wear jewelry, cut their hair or eat shellfish. Come to think of it, I also haven't noticed any religious conservatives in my neighborhood stoning adulterous women to death either. Instead, what I have noticed, are our good, decent, hard-working citizens who happen to be Muslim and who have enriched our community with their presence.Atrocities in the name of religion have happened for at least the past 2,000 years, and in more savage parts of the world, continue to this day. But not here. Religious tolerance is one of the foundation stones of the United States, although we have seldom completely practiced what we preach. It's why Elaine Coullias and Naheed Rajwani, who wrote about being Muslim, can both believe what they wish and worship as they please.Holmes Brannon, PlanoIn defense of BrennanRe: "War of words a two-sided affair — Trump's Twitter attacks, targets' replies 'a race to the bottom,'" March 20 news story.John O. Brennan said in the wake of the of senior FBI official Andrew McCabe's firing, "When the full extent of your venality, moral turpitude and political corruption becomes known, you will take your rightful place as a disgraced demagogue in the dustbin of history. You may scapegoat Andy McCabe, but you will not destroy America. ... America will triumph over you." I immediately thought this must be some rant from a liberal appointee of some Democratic president, therefore worthless, partisan drivel; so I looked him up, and found: The American Civil Liberties Union has repeatedly opposed Brennan. Under several presidents, he spent 25 years with the CIA, including: CIA director, 2013-17; Homeland Security adviser, 2009-13; and National Counterterrorism Center director, 2004-05. He attended Catholic school in grades 1-12. Not exactly the credentials of a card-carrying liberal. So then I thought he may have some secret info that we lack, which prompted the above statement. Now I'm worried.Hugh Resnick, Dallas/The CedarsDig deeper for truthWhere is the truth? What is fact and what is not? How do we distinguish fake news from factual news? It seems many only want to follow blogs and television news channels that reinforce their beliefs, not caring that they aren't factual. It is much easier to be ignorant. I challenge people to seek the truth by searching out the least biased news sources. Read more than one source. Dig deep. Be diligent. Be passionate about your search for the truth. Be a responsible citizen. Don't look back and wish you had said something. Our children will inherit what we allow to happen.Walter Logan, Waxahachie  Continue reading...

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