June 20, 2010

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Conflict Resolution Thank you for bringing the important message of tolerance for wildlife to your readers (“How We Can Coexist Peacefully with Coyotes,” May 30). All animals need food, water, and shelter; wild animals come into conflict with humans by answering those needs in places where we also live. There are many ways to decrease the likelihood of conflicts with coyotes and other wild animals (don’t feed them, supervise small pets when outdoors, eliminate access to buildings). But lethal control doesn’t work. Coyotes have only responded by increasing their population and range. It’s far more effective, and more humane, to learn to live with them in ways that minimize conflicts.

Linda Huebner, Deputy Director of Advocacy, Massachusetts Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals / Boston

Congratulations to Tom Horton for a great article. However, his source Liz Skrobisch grossly overestimates the number of feral cats nationwide. No data-based estimate of feral cats in the United States has ever exceeded 40 million, and that estimate was mine, produced nearly 20 years ago. The US feral cat population is now about 6.5 million to 12.5 million (depending on the season), just a fraction of what it was then, before the advent of neuter/return.

Merritt Clifton, Editor, Animal People / Clinton, Washington

Trash or Treasure? Thank you for your revealing article “One Man’s Trash” (May 30). As a Haitian-American, I’ve been touched by the overwhelming support Americans have provided the earthquake survivors. However, University of California, Los Angeles, economist Matthew Kahn’s comment that “we’re sending them our dirty cars, but are we sending cars that are dirtier than the incumbent car already there?” was disconcerting. Just because Haiti might already have dirty cars, that doesn’t mean we should add to environmental pollution in the country.

Yolette Ibokette / Randolph

What Ails Us In “What Really Ails American Health Care” (Perspective, May 30), Douglas S. Brown addresses why teamwork appears anathema to physicians and why medical schools are slow to drop the “doctor as independent artisan” model. He suggests “professional egocentricity” may be afoot. I disagree. Release the doctor, as designated team “leader,” from being the deep-pocket proxy for liability claims and we’ll see these changes; it’s the pocket, not the ego.

Dr. Lawrence H. Climo / Andover

Brown hits the nail on the head. Not only are our hospital volunteer boards just worried about their bottom line and image, they also ignore the hubris within their systems and are seldom concerned about outcomes for the patient after the hospital stay or treatments. Wouldn’t doctors have less hubris and be more human if failed outcomes had to be reported to insurance companies or watchdog agencies? Brown is right: Change must come from within, from the top down.

Suzanne Miller / Plymouth

Bean counter Brown and his ilk need to spend a week every month following health care teams on rounds. Talk to patients, their providers, and their families. Then return to the mirror and admit they know very little about health care, and be ready to listen to people, not spreadsheets. They might become better human beings, more effective administrators, and intelligent members of the health care team.

Dr. Byron R. Diggs / Arlington

Parents’ Prayers I felt compelled to respond to “Fare Well, Son,” (Parenting Traps, May 30). I have two sons in the military and am humbly proud of them both. Not once did I say farewell or goodbye before they were deployed. I just continue to pray for them, as I always have. Born and raised in Dorchester, they are good young men who never got involved in drugs or gangs, though my oldest was robbed of his high school class ring and pistol-whipped and my youngest had a gun pulled on him at work. Far more young men have died of senseless violence in the streets of America than in the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.

Linda Mahdee / Dorchester

We teach our children to walk and talk. We teach them manners and help them with schoolwork. But how can we help our child be ready for war, a world to which we’ve never been exposed? Our feelings are so torn between respect for our son’s decision and a parental need to protect him that we don’t know what to say or do. We pray the Army has prepared him for deployment. We make sure he knows he is loved. We hope God will bring him home safely.

Steven Farley / Hyde Park

Reacting to Rude I’m writing about Miss Conduct’s advice to K.A. of Bedford, who wondered if she should give a baby-shower gift to someone who snubs her and others at the office (May 30). I wouldn’t give someone like that a gift, because she needs to see the results of her rude behavior and maybe realize she can’t have it all. Society can change some people by reacting to bad behavior.

Nancy Venezia / Braintree

Getting Along As someone who spent my teens listening to my parents fight (while staying together for “my sake”), my 20s running communication and support money between the two of them post-divorce, and my wedding day executing a seating plan that would guarantee that they would not come within 30 feet of each other, I truly applaud Susan Robison and Jeannie Robison for choosing to put Tyler first in forming their family dynamic (Coupling, May 30). I’m sure it wasn’t pain-free, but their efforts paved the way for his peaceful upbringing while demonstrating that happy families come in all sorts of configurations.

Karen Sackowitz / Haverhill

Comments? Write to or The Boston Globe Magazine/Letters, PO Box 55819, Boston, MA 02205-5819. Letters are subject to editing.

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