Letters: 'Bully' And Smuggling Immigrants

NPR's Neal Conan reads from listener comments on previous show topics including the Secret Service prostitution scandal, Harvey Weinstein's new movie Bully, and the process of smuggling immigrants over the border.

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NEAL CONAN, HOST:

It's Wednesday and time to read from your comments. Last week, we talked about the people that helped smuggle immigrants across the Canadian and Mexican borders. And B.G.(ph) send us his story from San Antonio: I was smuggled into Texas once when I was nine and again when I was 13. I think my father paid $300 for about six people 35 years ago. Both experiences crossing the border were amazingly dangerous for a young child. We were led by total strangers across a river, wading for about a mile with helicopters hovering at times. Both times, the people my father contracted to bring us into the U.S. were very good men and women who were part of a family - mothers, wives, sons and sons-in-law who all did this. Now, when I think about it, I felt protected.

When we discussed the Secret Service prostitution scandal, Kristin(ph) wrote in to wonder why there's a scandal in the first place. She did not give her location. I'm an escort, she wrote, and it seems delusional at best and hypocritical at worst to pretend that men in positions of power do not see prostitutes. Escorts I know in Washington, D.C., see men in Congress and other extremely high-level government positions and have been taken into the Pentagon by their clients. I'm not saying that's the majority practice, but it's more common than most people want to acknowledge. I know that some listeners think this practice threatens the sense of honor of military members, et cetera, but I just want to emphasize that the men involved in the scandal aren't extreme outliers, and that in seeing prostitutes, these men have company at the highest levels of every industry and institution.

When Harvey Weinstein discussed his new movie, "Bully," Tom(ph) from Iowa City called in to argue that bullying builds character. Kate(ph) in Portland, Oregon, wrote in reply: While I disagree generally with him, I do agree with a kernel of what he said. It concerns me that we seemed to be raising a generation that cannot deal with negative feedback of any kind, who see all negative comments as bullying. Life isn't all roses, and we do our children a disservice when we don't teach them to handle the difficult parts with grace and skill, but that has nothing to do with being directly and personally harassed and/or attacked.

My other issue that was not mentioned in the segment is that, to allow bullying is doing a great disservice to the bully as well, especially among children who are still trying to determine how they should and will deal with the world and the people they encounter in it. Why teach them by omission that bullying is an effective tool for dealing with people?

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