Newspaper surveys I've monitored over the years consistently place Letters to the Editor as one of the most popular segments of papers around the nation.
I agree completely.
I believe letters written by local residents help to give our newspaper a dash of distinct seasoning. I've often found letters can be thought-provoking and insightful. And, being the editor, it's nice to receive something other than junk mail.
Just this week, we've published two very different letters on the gun debate. The first letter on Sunday suggested the best defense against gun violence is more guns. That way the "good guys" with a gun could take out the "bad guys" with a gun.
The second letter published Wednesday suggested more guns would only lead to more deaths as there would be no way, in a frenzied crowd fleeing from gunfire, to distinguish the "good guys" from the bad and everyone would get shot.
From my point of view, I don't want to comment on either letter as they stand on their own and don't need further analysis. I'm glad folks care enough to write and I appreciate their contributions.
I've been asked why the Standard doesn't publish Letters to the Editor in every edition and the answer is simple. We rarely receive signed letters. I'm happy to print your letter on most any topic, provided you're willing to take responsibility for your words and sign it.
One recent letter which was sent to me anonymously made some powerful points about motorists and their driving patterns on one of our city streets.
The letter said, "I see cars speeding, ridiculously speeding, up and down that hill ALL THE TIME. There is no sidewalk on a good portion of the street and families and friends walk in the neighborhood and many have strollers and young children in tow."
The letter closed by making a somewhat poetic plea for drivers to exercise more caution.
"For your sake, my sake, the children's sake and Pete's sake, be aware of your surroundings and have heart for innocent lives."
Since the writer was adamant about not being identified, the letter never made the paper, save for the three sentences listed above.
Around that same time, I received another anonymous letter by someone bothered by 4-wheeler noise in their residential neighborhood.
The letter said, "The last thing I want to hear when I'm trying to relax and unwind from a hectic 10-hour work day is a motor that sounds like a chainsaw going up and down the street. At times I work the night shift and need to sleep during the day, but I am awakened by dirt bikes and ATVs racing by my house powered by little speed demons who are completely oblivious to the fact there are other people in the vicinity."
Letters to the Editor make for great reading and are an effective way for your voice to be heard. So this Christmas season, forget about Santa. Send your letters to me.
Standard editor James Clark can be reached at 473-2191.