updated 12/09/1985 AT 01:00 AM EST
•originally published 12/09/1985 AT 01:00 AM EST
Your "Every Parent's Nightmare" cover (PEOPLE, Nov. 18) was every gay person's nightmare. While I understand what you hoped to convey, equating the two was an injustice. To find your child is dying has to be a hideous experience for all parents. Everything else seems incredibly trivial. Finding that your son or daughter is gay is not the same. For many parents it represents an easing of family pain caused by a child's unhappiness and distance for fear of disapproval. Many parents, after the initial adjustment, take comfort in seeing a formerly troubled son happy with a sexual orientation he must learn to live with.
It would not be my nightmare to find out my son was gay. It would be my nightmare to find out he was a wife beater, a child abuser or molester or a rapist. Never mind loving someone of the same sex. That's still loving. Let's relocate our true values.
Your story on AIDS in the family hit me the hardest of any report, television program or news article I have come across to date. I envy the strength Mr. Nassaney had to tell his family. I wouldn't bother to tell mine because I know they wouldn't be there at a time I would need them the most.
Your issue containing Dr. Damerell's comments concerning Bill Cosby's "sham" Ed.D. degree arrived the day after I passed my oral dissertation defense for my Ed.D. degree at Temple University. This was the culmination of four and a half years of intensive study which included 38 in-classroom credit hours, countless hours of independent library study, the learning of material from 21 textbooks, and more than two years of work on a thoroughly researched and comprehensive dissertation. Granted, degrees can be bought or given for life experiences, and these are not worth the paper on which they are printed. But to imply that doctorates in education, in general, are worthless is an insult to thousands of professionals in a wide variety of occupations who took their degree work seriously, passed rigorous requirements and are proud, as I am, of having earned a degree.
Linda C. Grafius, Ed.D.
Professor Damerell takes a very unscholarly potshot. If his book elaborates on this theme, he will be involved in acrimonious correspondence from many, many well-earned Ed.D.s. If, on the other hand, his book reveals widespread abuse of the doctoral program, he should offer suggestions for improvement. The fact that he served on the Cosby committee and let the degree be conferred seems to reflect as much on Damerell as Cosby.
Sol Taylor, Ed.D.
Newport Beach, Calif.
Police Chief Joe McNamara
Joe McNamara and Richard Boyd sure as hell do not speak for this policeman! Please have the august Mr. McNamara enumerate for all of us the number of police officers who have been killed by the "cop-killer bullets"—a misnomer if there ever was one. After he tells you the answer is none, then please ask him how often he seizes legally owned assault rifles from citizens committing felonious acts. How many of those guns owned by citizens have been used in the commission of crimes? The First Amendment allows McNamara's ilk to profess their views. The Second Amendment allows the people to keep and bear arms. Why do zealots like McNamara demand their rights when they labor to take the rights of others away?
Steven R. Wagner
Chief of Police
I commend police chiefs such as Joe McNamara for his efforts to curtail the gun war in America. I was robbed Jan. 15, 1983, a quarter of a mile from a naval base and shot in the back. The alleged assailant had been jailed twice before for brandishing a handgun. Not only was I robbed of my naval career, my ability to walk and the privilege of fathering children, I was robbed of the gift I was born with, that of being a healthy, strong, able-bodied American. The irony of my story is that the man who shot me is running the streets, and I got the chair.
Ron Bielicki Jr.
With the voice of Chief McNamara and the support of the general public, gun control legislation can be enacted despite the devious efforts of the NRA. Only then will victims of crime have at least a fighting chance.
Patricia L. McAuliffe
No Pass, No Play
House Bill 72, "No Pass, No Play," may seem harsh to students, but what they face once out of school can be worse. My brother couldn't read a TV guide; the school insisted there was no problem. A high school athlete, he was injured and dropped out of school. He couldn't pass the GED after three attempts, and the military wouldn't accept him. He has made a life for himself, but his lack of education made it difficult for him. My 9-year-old son is learning disabled; he needs all the help the state will give. I fear for my son's education. As a parent, I fight for education, not against it. I pray the law stays in effect. It isn't the total answer but it is a small step.
Sabrina A. Gallagher
Parents should be the people to punish children for grades, not a man with a million or two in his pocket.
I'm having difficulty understanding how parents can find fault with a law that places emphasis on academics. Correct me if I'm wrong, but isn't that why we go to school?