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Just talk

There is a lot of talk about "stop the violence" and, unfortunately, talk is all it really is. Few people are willing to admit this, but violence is money. You have a problem believing violence is a big moneymaking market for mankind? The sale of drugs of all kinds is a multibillion-dollar industry. In America, money is power. The fight over the control of the sale of drugs has caused millions of lives to be destroyed. Violence among my people, by my people, is a disaster. People wonder why there is so much violence among black people? Well, go out and buy a copy of "The Willie Lynch Story" and many of your answers can be found. We have been programmed to be who and what we are; we have been robbed of all hope. Black people are like little turtles that are washed upon the shores from bodies of water by various tides. Few of those turtles make it back to the waters.

I feel there is a concerted effort to slow or stop the advancement of black people in America. Unfortunately, when you stop the advancement of one American, you stop the advancement of America. Black people have been in America for many years. What do we own? We don't own large factories or industries that are able to employ large numbers of people. So employment is in the hands of people who control whether we are employed.

We are almost set up to fail. Our young people are either sure to be incarcerated or go to an early grave by getting into early trouble. Once they into the criminal justice system, they are nobodies. Many of these prisoners are right at home in prison because they have no real homes on the outside.

Austin Porter Sr.

Little Rock

The difference between left and right

The breakdown of politics in America is fairly simple. Those at the top are for plutocracy, and the leaders on the left and right play to their respective bases to win votes. The upper echelon uses social issues such as abortion and gay marriage to keep the masses distracted from economic issues. In this way they can rob us blind while we fight over who is allowed to marry a person of their own choosing. The general populace, whether aligned with the political left or right, want basically the same things — access to health care, education and economic security. The difference is the conservative base wants these things for their kind only, while the liberal base wants it for everyone. That's basically it.

Rich Hutson

Cabot

Promise must be kept

During the presidential campaign, Donald Trump made a crystal-clear pledge to protect Medicare and Social Security. Now, as his term begins, older voters are counting on Congress to support President Trump's vow. This issue is looming because some in Congress are pushing for a drastic change in Medicare that threatens to increase costs and risks for those who depend on it. 

Proposals to create a voucher system, sometimes called premium support, could drive up costs that the 565,000 Arkansans who are now in Medicare have to pay out of their own pockets. And the pain will spread, as another 575,000 of our state's older residents enroll in Medicare over the next 15 years. Arkansas already has one of the country's highest rates of senior hunger, because of seniors' low income, so how are they going to pay additional premiums?

Americans have earned their Medicare benefits by paying taxes throughout their working lives. As our new president declared last year, "You made a deal a long time ago." That deal does not include cutting benefits and pushing up health care bills at a time in life when people can least afford it.

For more than 50 years, Medicare has delivered on its promise, bringing health care to seniors who were once shut out of the system. Yes, health care costs must be contained — but in a fair and responsible way, not by harming hard-working Americans and retirees. President Trump understands this vital principle, and we urge him to remind those in Congress who do not.

Larry Larson

Little Rock

The foster care crisis in Arkansas

As of November 2016, there were over 5,000 children and teens in Arkansas's foster care system, 30 percent more than the same time the year before.

During their time in the system, children may experience years of physical, emotional and even academic troubles. Studies have shown that kids in abusive homes may exhibit signs of delayed learning, aggression and attention deficit disorder. When kids are exposed to controlled substances at a young age, they may experience medical complications as they grow up. They may also encounter emotional problems away from home. Within just a few months of placement, many children show signs of depression and withdrawal. As they grow up, they are most likely to have higher rates of anxiety and poorer social skills at school.

Adolescents in foster care can have trouble with academic functioning. When they come out of problematic homes, many of them show signs of decreased ability to concentrate, and they are likely to make bad choices starting at a young age. Studies say that more than 75 percent of teens in foster care do not remain in school.

It doesn't require lots of effort to help; simply showing compassion and understanding for the children is enough. The most efficient way to contribute to the system is by publicizing the issue to the community. There are so many people in Arkansas who do not know about foster care, and it would be best to educate the public about this problem in our society today. With the help of many caring people, the number of children in the foster system can be reduced significantly, not only in Arkansas, but all over the nation.

Serye Kim

Hot Springs

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