updated 10/10/1983 AT 01:00 AM EDT
•originally published 10/10/1983 AT 01:00 AM EDT
Tears mixed with anger as I read the story of Flight 007 (PEOPLE, Sept. 19). Why did a plane full of innocent people have to die so that a country could exhibit its control over airspace? Or maybe the world? Americans must not stand for such inhumanity. If we do, where will the next plane be shot down?
I wonder what the little girl who was invited to the U.S.S.R. earlier this year thinks of her Soviet friends now? Why don't you ask her?
Jean Meredith Howard
When contacted at her home in Manchester, Me., Samantha Smith, 11, commented: "I am sure the Soviet military knows they made a terrible mistake. The children I met when I visited the Soviet Union last July would never want a plane shot down. This just shows how dangerous it is when we don't talk to each other."
What was Flight 007 doing over Soviet territory? Why was it so close to Soviet military installations? Why did it ignore warnings for two hours? If a plane carrying Russian passengers flew along the coast of the United States near American military bases and ignored our warnings, what do you think we would do?
Shelburne Falls, Mass.
Kathy McDonald seems to think that her husband, Rep. Larry McDonald, was the only person aboard Flight 007. When hundreds of people are mourning the loss of their "ordinary" relatives and friends, she continues to repeat her litany of "deliberate assassination." I do not like the Soviets either; they supplied an aircraft that shot my uncle out of the sky during the Korean conflict. But please, Mrs. McDonald, have more respect for the 268 unknown people who died with your husband.
Patrick J. Whited
Bravo, Robert Bauman. Here is a man who has gone through hell, personally and professionally, who has had to confront and rethink his own sexuality and who has come out of it not only at peace with himself but with enough guts to stand up for gay rights in politics, the very arena in which he was persecuted. Let's hope his story helps gay men and women realize that they are entitled to their basic rights as human beings.
St. Petersburg, Fla.
As a teenager, I am faced with the same feelings of being different that Robert Bauman felt when he was in high school. I shudder to think that some day my life will be ruined just as his was.
Congratulations to Brooke. She shows the determination that is the hallmark of a real student. As for the Princeton grad who is so concerned about the poor soul who forfeited a place to Ms. Shields, I'm sure that if this sort of snippy attitude prevails at Princeton, Brooke will be transferring within the year.
Every year thousands of students start college. As a matter of fact, I myself attend college, but I have yet to see my face on the cover of any magazine. I bet Brooke Shields puts her Calvins on one leg at a time just like the rest of us.
James William Riggleman
Picks & Pans
What a presumptuous review of Neil Young's new album, Everybody's Rockin'. Those "primitive-sounding tunes" are closer to the early rock 'n' roll sound (for instance, the garage-like acoustics of Buddy Holly's recordings) than the new work of Billy Joel, whom you insinuate is redoing '50s music the right way. How unfair of you to compare two artists with completely different concepts. Face it: Neil's having a good time dancing around in his shocking-pink show clothes, and you come along with your stuffy comments like some ultraserious history teacher. If you don't like the party, don't crash it.
Miss America Pageant
My girlfriends and I celebrated at McDonald's with burgers, shakes and cheers when we read that Shari Moskau had gained 20 pounds after winning the Miss California title. At last, a normal, beautiful young woman who dared to indulge in croissants, butter and coffee cake—to the chagrin of pageant officials.
Marci B. Anderson
Miss California did not finish among the top ten finalists.
Beauty pageants are always covered in a negative vein. Having competed, I know that these young women are to be admired. Pageant competition is like an athletic sport; it takes discipline, preparation and hard work. Outstanding former competitors include Mary Ann Mobley, Phyllis George and Bess Myerson. All desired crowns, won them and made them sparkle.
Mrs. Oregon 1982
Angel Fire, N.Mex.
Our reporter Julie Greenwalt was a finalist in the 1957 Miss Hawaii Pageant (above). Greenwalt says, "Pageants were much more casual then. Coaching consisted of a half-hour charm course, including instructions on how to walk and pivot on the runway."