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Letter: Manners, civility, caring fast disappearing today

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Note: The statements, views, and opinions contained in this letter to the editor are those of the author and are not endorsed by, nor do they necessarily reflect, the opinions of The Republic.

From: Sally Van Dyk


It is a few minutes before noon and already three things today have sent me into various stages of rage.

First, I read online about the total lack of sensitivity voiced by a well-known reporter on TV. I am one who was shocked and saddened by the suicidal death of comedic genius Robin Williams. The reporter of whom I speak declared that Williams was “such a coward.” I assume by that he meant that, rather than face the grind of daily life, he took the cowardly way out.

There have been two suicides in my family, and I can tell anyone that neither of them was a coward. Both dealt, in their own way, with severe depression brought on by different factors. To declare someone a coward for whatever reason is, to me, the height of insensitivity.

Most of us know someone who suffers from depression in one form or another, and none is a coward. Depression is an illness just like any other illness, and there is treatment for it, though it does not always work as expected. For those, the best choice, in their minds, is suicide.

Secondly, just an hour or so ago, an elderly woman was walking, I assume, to her car when a man walked up behind her. Because she was not walking fast enough, he yelled, “Get out of the way, you old (expletive)!” The woman was shocked, as was I. If I had been a younger woman myself, I probably would have stopped the man and said something about his crude, outlandish behavior.

Thirdly, I was the first car to stop at a railroad crossing as the lights began to blink and the arms came down. I sat waiting for the oncoming train, which never came. A man in the opposite lane jumped from his truck and ran across the highway, yelling and waving his arms at a man standing on the side of the road. All I heard was that he was very upset at being stopped when there was no approaching train. Being the first car to stop, I was aware that we sat there a grand total of a minute.

What is my point? Civility is rapidly vanishing. I don’t know why, but things like these happen many times every day, proving that manners, civility, caring and class are, indeed, as my grandmother used to say, going to hell in a handbasket.

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