updated 06/25/2001 AT 01:00 AM EDT

originally published 06/25/2001 AT 01:00 AM EDT

Niki Taylor
The driver of the car that injured Niki Taylor is responsible for this tragedy by not realizing that staying on the road is more important than answering a cell phone and by enabling an addict. No recovering addict should be anywhere near nightclubs at 78 days clean and sober. Let this be a reminder to all.
Conni Nigg, Campbell, Calif.

Tell Niki to hang in there. We are all praying for her recovery. The Lord is not finished with her yet. She is young and can do so many things in life for others.
Millie Hottle, Cedaredge, Colo.

How very tragic for Niki Taylor's family to lose one daughter and have another in such a serious accident. Our prayers go out to them.
V. Morris, Toronto

Between the ages of 9 and 16 I was the victim of verbal and physical abuse by my peers. I was beaten up, called names and, once, tied to a tree and used as a human dartboard. Much of this went on in front of teachers. No matter how many times my parents went to the principal, nothing was done. Going to school became my own private hell. I am thankful now that most schools have zero tolerance for any kind of abusive behavior. Children who are victims of bullies are not homicidal or deranged. They are children who don't fit the norm of what society says they should be. After years of abuse, they can only see one way to end their suffering: either to injure themselves or injure their abuser.
Tamra Phelps, Gresham, Ore.

I was a victim of constant put-downs all through my school years. I had gum thrown in my hair and fun made of me. I couldn't stand it. But though my life was hell at school, I never considered taking a gun and killing these bullies. I ignored the name-calling and graduated with maximum honors. No one ever knew what I went through because I never told anyone. I kept it to myself and took the higher road. Get the bullies in the end by living a better life than they will, because in most cases, they are the ones who will be miserable.
Judy Colletti, East Weymouth, Mass.

My son was regularly harassed at his new school. One day, when he had all he could take and felt ready to snap, he got up from his desk, left class and walked out of school before he hurt somebody. The result? He was reprimanded for leaving school! The individual who harassed him got off because he "had no prior history of harassing others" and there were no witnesses willing to defend my son. We don't need to "bully-proof" our kids as much as we need administrators and teachers who are willing to listen, act and defend the tormented rather than the tormentors!
Name Withheld

I can sympathize with the pain these kids are feeling. I was the fat girl in school and I was tormented daily. It is a miracle that I stuck with it long enough to graduate. Never in all my years of school did a teacher or responsible adult step forward to defend me. While I don't condone the methods the bullying victims you profile have chosen, I do understand the feelings of desperation that caused them to go to these lengths.
Dot Miner, Huntley, Ill.

My sixth-grade daughter has been bullied since first grade by a boy in her class. Because he is the class clown and popular, teachers and administrators have consistently written it off as him "just being overly verbal." Recently it became physical when he purposely threw a ball at my daughter's face during p.e. class. In her anger and fear, she told him to "stop trying to hurt me or I'll kill you." Since the school system has a zero-tolerance policy, she was suspended for two days. He didn't even get a reprimand. He physically attacks my daughter and she uses words to defend herself, yet he's the victim and she gets suspended. And people wonder why these kids snap.
Name Withheld

As a seventh-grade teacher I see this problem on a daily basis, but without clear state laws, I'm limited in what I can do. I urge state senators and governors to follow the example set by Georgia anti-bullying laws. I also urge parents to pay attention and listen to your children's teachers. If a teacher tells you your child is picking on another child, you might want to think twice before answering "Boys will be boys" or "That's just part of growing up." Your child's life might depend on it.
Amy McFarland, Little Rock

Robert Wendland
This man's wife wants to take him off a feeding tube that keeps him alive and his mother doesn't. At first I sided with his wife, but after reading your article I agree with his mother. This man is not in a coma or brain-dead. The way it sounds is that his wife wants to get on with life, and apparently that does not include taking care of a seriously handicapped husband. The moment you let people like her take control of the life of a person who cannot care for himself, that will be the fall of our civilized world.
Miguel A. Martinez II, McAllen, Texas

How unfortunate that this poor man's wishes will not be met. And how unfortunate that his mother will not let go and that his wife, Rose, is left taking care of him as well as their three children. Let this man die in peace and with dignity. God did not mean for us to stay alive in a vegetative state on life support. If God wants Robert to continue on this earth once the feeding tube is removed, he will. If God's plan is for Robert to continue his journey in another sphere, then so be it.
Pegy Stanek, Traverse City, Mich.

Don't get me wrong—I love free stuff as much as the next person. But am I the only one who thinks that the gift baskets celebrities get for presenting at awards shows are getting out of hand—$3,000 to $15,000 worth of gifts for people whose income per movie is usually way above the average person's income for the year? Why don't the shows take the money they would spend on gifts and donate it to each celebrity's favorite charity? If it were me, that would mean so much more than getting a duplicate of something I already have or something I could afford to buy myself.
Nancy Knudson, Edina, Minn.

Picks & Pans
The only thing "bloated and boring" about the film Pearl Harbor was Leah Rozen's review. We saw Pearl Harbor during its first weekend ($75 million in ticket sales can't be all wrong) and thought it was wonderful. The love story was tasteful and not at all boring and the battle scenes the most realistic we had ever seen. If Leah wants to see a documentary on Pearl Harbor with no story, she should watch the History or Discovery Channels.
Julie Daniel, Santa Maria, Calif.

While my 84-year-old World War II Navy combat pilot father wept beside me, Pearl Harbor powerfully and stunningly evoked the period, a young America. One can quibble about cliché and dramatic license, but Pearl Harbor is unerringly accurate where it really counts—a bull's-eye straight to the heart.
Paul H. Brown, Newport Beach, Calif.

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