Letters to the Editor for April 9th, 2008

Dear Editor,

My deceased son (11/84-9/04) was involved in underage drinking. My husband and I never drank alcohol during his entire life (20 years).

Unfortunately, peer pressure and our culture influenced him heavily.

My advice to parents with teens is to know who your teens are with and where they are at all times.

Your teen&8217;s friends may come from great families, but that could deceive you.

Those parents may not be keeping a close eye on their teen.

When my son was in high school, if a teen&8217;s family was out of town, several teens would raid the house and have wild drinking parties while the adults were gone.

In 2000-2004, it was so easy to get a fake (I.D.) Ala. Driver&8217;s License.

Many service stations in Shelby County would honor them and sell cigarettes and alcohol to underage teens.

I would find receipts in pants pockets or in my son&8217;s car.

If parents drink alcohol, I would recommend that you either quit or keep it locked up. It could save your teen or another teen&8217;s life.

My sister&8217;s first drink at 15 put her into 20 years of alcoholism. Some people just cannot control it.

Being the parent of a teen is a real challenge, and if you love your children, you will take sound advice from others.

Linda Thompson

Montevallo

Dear Editor,

Rep. Cam Ward raised some valid points in his March 26 column on illegal immigration. I think there are some other points that need to be addressed, in the area of compassion and tolerance.

While Rep. Ward is in a position best suited to address the social and political points, I would like to add, as the owner of a Christian ministry, some other areas.

I have read John Steinbeck&8217;s great work &8220;The Grapes of Wrath&8221; several times in my life. I cannot help but see the similarity between the plight of Steinbeck&8217;s Joad family, unwelcome migrants to California during the depression, and the illegal Latino immigrants to America today.

It is easy for a reader in the 21st-century to sympathize with those dust bowl farmers in Steinbeck&8217;s novel, run off their land, poor, hated by the established farmers and workers of California who were being invaded by this throng of illiterate migrants threatening their jobs.

Yet many people during the 1930s understandably did not have any compassion for these people, and this had to be a reason Steinbeck wrote the book.

If you dare risk a change of heart toward Latinos, both illegal and those you assume are illegal because of your prejudice, please read &8220;The Grapes of Wrath.&8221; I am not trying to promote any political strategy to give amnesty to people who do things illegally, or to use more of our government&8217;s resources to help people who do things illegally.

That is not my purpose in writing, and it is up to you to make up your mind on these issues.

What I am saying is, you see these people everyday. How do you see them? If you call yourself a Christian, do you see them as Jesus would?

Many, not all I am sure, are here for the same reasons Tom Joad and his family were in California during the 1930s.

The economic conditions in their home country (spawned in part by the exploration of American based corporations) create sad situations that cause some to leave their families for a strange land, to earn enough to send back for their families to survive.

Yet, I see prejudice and disdain for these people that is similar to what many white southerners directed at blacks 40 years ago.

The fact is, I find them to be very beautiful people who have a very beautiful language. I would love to learn it better. Whatever political position I might have on immigration, I refuse to let it affect the way I treat another individual.

Warren Hamby Jr.

Alabaster