Letters: Apartment protest; The hollow men; Curbing hate

(Joe Kline/Bulletin photo) 6811772

Picket signs on SW Colorado were intended to let the public know about a proposed four-story apartment building. The developer notified persons within the minimum required distance from the project and this amounted to a very small number of people. When a large project is proposed it seems the city of Bend might need to change the notification requirement to include a much larger radius. This proposal would place roughly the same number of people in one building that reside in the neighborhood enclosed by 14th, Galveston, Bradbury and the Deschutes River. Inviting the neighborhood into the process might have been a more engaging thing to do by the developer; as it happened neighbors were “put out” to say the least. The sentiment is not to stop an apartment building from being built but rather to have a building that can meet all infrastructure needs of the tenants and employees within the property. As it stands it appears the proposed project is too large for the size of the lot.

The developer has met “minimum” city requirements. We are used to builders that go above and beyond what is expected to make the project “fit” the neighborhood and cause the least amount of disruption. Bend should not be bending over backward to accommodate the developer — rather, the developer should be bending over backward to accommodate the residents.

I am not opposed to apartment buildings. What I would like to see is a socially responsible building where current residents are considered in the equation and thriving neighborhoods are not put at risk.

After the Parkland school shooting, we were reminded of T.S. Eliot’s poem, “The Hollow Men,” in which Elliot described modern man as having lost his moral compass, devolving instead into “shape without form, shade without color, paralyzed force, gesture without motion.”

President Trump’s responses to the shooting predictably demonstrated “paralyzed force, gesture without motion,” a masquerade of leadership — empty condolences for the victims’ families and survivors and a refusal to meet with the grieving Parkland community, his only activity obsessive tweet attacks blaming his usual cast of suspects. Then after announcing he would back any congressional gun-reform proposals, he has taken no realistic action to support his words. Most of Congress responded with its usual condolences, then with a variety of proposed half-measures, and then with its usual silence, its “shape without form.” It was not the murders of children but only the recent economic threats to their constituents as fallout from Trump’s proposed trade wars that congressional voices finally became an uproar.

The angry, morally motivated children of the Parkland massacre and other youth around the country give us hope that the era of hollow men — and women — will soon be replaced by a generation that will not tolerate a further collapse of our best qualities in future leaders or the erosion of our loftiest intentions for a truly civilized society. Let us keep listening to our kids and joining them in drowning out the cowardly voices, and silences, of those who offer only a moral, ethical and empathic void.

Thank you for printing the article “Tours of Nazi camps aim to curb a creeping hate,” March 12. The article mentioned a Berlin state legislator, Sawsan Chebli, was considering legislation to make it compulsory that all German schoolchildren should visit a concentration camp. Yes, the children of Germany should be required to visit a concentration camp.

My visit to Dachau was one of the most emotional days of my life. Dachau is now a memorial to a horrendous crime against humanity. Tour guides remind you to be quiet. You are asked to imagine yourself wearing a colored star representing one of the groups the Nazis chose to exterminate as you are surrounded by guards, dogs and guns. You walk though solitary cells, bunkhouses, kitchens and gardens, and finally the tour ends at the gas chambers where prisoners were asphyxiated and the ovens where bodies were incinerated. The number of prisoners incarcerated in Dachau between 1933 and 1945 exceeded 188,000 and the total number of victims who died there is unknown, according to the U.S Holocaust Memorial Museum. Finally, you are invited to pray at a house of worship of your choosing.

There is no reason for Germany to act alone in educating their youth in confronting past crimes. Our country too has historic sites that reveal the harm done to others because of racism and hate. Our schools too should be encouraged, with or without legislation, to take children to these historic sites.

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