LETTERS & COMMENTS FROM SUDDENLY SENIOR READERS
Read comments from some of our more popular columns.
The Death of Bin Laden by Dave Whitney
Lessons I Should Have Learned From My Mother by Susan Pierres
Crossing The Pond by Susan Pierres
Finding Love Online by Doug Noble
My 15 Minutes Of Fame As A Poster Girl For Menopause by Susan Pierres
Are You Ever Too Old To Orgy? by Frank Keiser
Won’t $450 Billion in “Medicare Cuts” Destroy Medicare?? by Frank Kaiser
When Did We Get Old? by Frank Kaiser
Sex After Death? Heaven Forbid! by Frank Kaiser
THE DEATH OF BIN LADEN
by Dave Whitney
A few weeks ago, our televisions brought the news that Americans had craved for so long; the capture and killing of Osama Bin Laden, architect of the 9/11 terrorist attacks, #1 on the World’s Most Wanted list. This week, our contributing editor Dave Whitney shares his thoughts and feelings on this momentous event and the summary execution of the man responsible for the deaths of more than 3000 people.
From Dan Lopez
I appreciate your article in Suddenly Senior. I too was raised in a home where the 10 Commandments were considered sacred.
As an adult, I have been able to understand better the issue of terminating someone’s life. It was extremely helpful to me when a
Bible professor explained to me that “Thou shall not murder” is a more accurate translation.
Thanks again for the article.
From Jon Rice
I am sure you believe what you wrote in the Suddenly Senior about the death of Bin Laden, but how do you know the facts? The only proof we have that this actually happened is the words of our Washington liars. Everything about our current administration is shrouded in mystery. No pictures of Bin Laden with a bullet hole in his head or of his burial at sea. Which Seals participated? Wouldn’t they be considered heroes and have medals bestowed on them? No pictures or public interviews with the woman that was supposedly shot in the leg during this supposed raid, why not?
At 72, maybe I have just become too cynical after watching lie after lie coming out of Washington DC. Everything just seems to be a game of controlling the population. We no longer have a system of checks and balance. The bulk of our leadership should be actors, not politicians as they seem to live in the land of make-believe. Now was Bin Laden killed as we are led to believe or had he died before and his body frozen until it was needed politically? Are we fighting to bring Democracy in Iraq and Afghanistan or for oil and poppies? Expecting Democracy in a land divided by three religious factions sure seems like a pipe dream to me and the supposed killing of Bin Laden will do little to slow down any terrorist activity around the world.
From David Nusbickel
Thank you for sharing your thoughts about the elimination of OBL with the Suddenly Senior readers. I concur with your sentiment, that it is not a cause unto itself for national celebration; sending an individual into eternity who is obviously unprepared for his destination is no cause for celebration.
You mentioned the 6th Commandment, about which I have spent some time in study. To understand the context we need to know the Author’s heart on the matter of killing.
One clear comparison is found in Proverbs Chapter 6 “6:16 There are six things that the Lord hates, even seven things that are an abomination to him: 6:17 haughty eyes, a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood, 6:18 a heart that devises wicked plans, feet that are swift to run to evil, 6:19 a false witness who pours out lies, and a person who spreads discord among family members.” Here we find the shedding of innocent blood as the objection (not self-defense, nor ‘eye-for-eye’ recompense). [ObL was guilty of many offenses before his Maker; I regret that likewise I have offended The Almighty, but have accepted His offer for redemption]
Further clarification is found in Genesis 9 where GOD proclaims to Noah following the conclusion of the horrible judgment upon mankind “9:6 “Whoever sheds human blood, by other humans must his blood be shed; for in God’s image God has made humankind.” Here GOD ordains human system of governance that includes the ultimate tool as a deterrent. This interpretation is confirmed by Romans “13:1 Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except by God’s appointment, and the authorities that exist have been instituted by God. 13:2 So the person who resists such authority resists the ordinance of God, and those who resist will incur judgment 13:3 for rulers cause no fear for good conduct but for bad. Do you desire not to fear authority? Do good and you will receive its commendation, 13:4 for it is God’s servant for your good. But if you do wrong, be in fear, for it does not bear the sword in vain. It is God’s servant to administer retribution on the wrongdoer.”
On this basis, the activities carried out in Pakistan by USA Seal Force Six was justified in eternity by the Creator and Sustainer of humanity. Although He despises the taking of innocent blood among His Creation, He redeemed all who accept it by the shedding of the Most Innocent Blood that ever coursed through a man’s vein.
I hope you are comforted by this knowledge. Thanks for helping me put GODly perspective to this Memorial Day commemoration of the sacrifices that earn our freedom. “Free” really means “PrePaid”.
From Richard Earl
The disappointment I felt as I read your column on the murder of bin Laden
is both real and profound.
First, the notion that one or a thousand “terrorists” present any significant
threat to your country’s ability “to survive as a nation based on individual freedoms,
including the freedom of choice of our personal religious beliefs” borders on
hysteria and paranoia. For sure, every once in a blue moon the tragedy of a “Twin Towers”
event may visit upon you, but it certainly is not the ACTION that threatens your
freedoms – it’s your REACTION that does and continues to do the damage.
You said it yourself: “But in many instances, our existence depends upon the actions
we take based on these conflicting messages.” So far your “actions” have included
the withdrawal of many of your sacred freedoms. You can’t blame bin Laden for the
reaction of the zealots in that bottomless financial pit you call your “Home Security.”
Your own Benjamin Franklin warned you that “Any society that would give up a little
liberty to gain a little security will deserve neither and lose both.” Sometimes we
let primal fears override the wise experiences and obvious history of others.
And if you think that somehow a “bin Laden” puts the religions of America in
jeopardy, I think you are profoundly mistaken. From what I’ve seen and heard
from the frothing millions of fundamentalists, one more sect joining the
lunatic party isn’t going to make much difference even if that sect is hell-bent
on destroying the others.
I continue to hold hope that my American friends will come to their senses to
realize that the actions you suggest are pretty much 180 degrees from what will
work! “It is time to shut off our aid to them (the Pakistanis) as a message to others
that we are not going to tolerate those who are bent on our destruction or their supporters.
It is time to bring our troops home and defend our own borders from those who would slip
into our country and carry on the work of those determined to destroy our way of life.”
You’ve been around long enough to KNOW that overpowering and forcing others to do
anything will NEVER gain you either their cooperation or freedom from their threats.
America is the elephant that is terrified of the mouse. The bin Laden-types are NOT
your enemy. Your attitude is. But… for now, you’ve got enough guns to line all the
rest of us up against the wall with our hands in the air. It’s very disappointing that
you don’t realize/understand that when you take that action, EVERYONE loses their
That was my response to Bin Laden’s death. It was part of an overall war. Peace is the goal. You cannot have peace when someone is attacking you. If someone broke into your house, you would defend yourself. I think that is the ethical grounds for killing him.
I can not rejoice in his death. I think when you make someone into an object instead of a person, it dehumanizes you. There is no joy in ending a precious life. He was a person who had hopes and dreams and failures just like us.
Thank you for articulating this point of view.
Normally I do not agree with your articles. I say this in the beginning.
You do not know me, of course, and what I think would have no impact on your perspective nor opinions. Regardless, I chose to respond to this particular article.
I am a Forensic Examiner, by profession, and teach Criminology and Gangland Terrorism courses in the Criminal Justice Department of a local college as a courtesy. I chose to teach young people coming into the profession now as my way of “passing the mantle”, so to speak. We seniors need to share experiences and wisdom we have accumulated, I think…. as you do with the articles in “Suddenly Senior”. Thus, my reason for writing. Terrorism is terrorism. It matters little what color brush we use to decorate it. The Mideast does not have the corner on the concept.
America has, in the past, and in the case of bin Laden, recently engaged in terroristic acts. All countries of the world are guilty of the behavior, regardless of the rationale for the activity. It is not a moral issue, it is a political one and probably began when some caveman picked up a club and threatened his neighbor. Humans tend to be a violent breed by nature. Just the way it is. Retaliation breeds contempt and each response results in loss of life and property. Hate for a culture, race, religious concept, etc. becomes generalized and a “Hatfield-McCoy” mentality ensues, neutralizing the individual identity of both sides. A no-brainer.
The burial at sea prevented Bin Laden’s gravesite from becoming a martyred and consecrated location; however, this will not change the animosity of the Mideastern followers. Another “Bin Laden” type will only step up and walk in the shoes with additional bitterness and resolve. The tiger has not been caged. The assassination has only stuck a thorn in its foot, not a knife in its heart. Scary situation. Desperate people take desperate measures… and thus the cycle continues.
Terrorism has a simple, comprehensive definition: It is illegal political violence. But no practical or ethical purpose is served by characterizing all of its practitioners as terrorists. Each case is unique. Each terrorist action occupies only one point on the spectrum of political violence. History teaches us that violence is the ultimate determinant; society depends on the law, and law depends on the apparatus to enforce it. Thus, government necessarily exercises violencecontrolled, legal violence.
The fundamental strategy for reducing the global level of violence must be a reduction of the sense of grievance that fuels it.
It is no coincidence that most costly incidents of anti-American terrorism in recent years took place in the Middle East. Perhaps the most extreme example of post-World War II American paternalism is U.S. determination to deny hegemony over that oil-rich area to any rival power. This commitment to a precarious status quo puts the United States in opposition to the perceived interests of the regimes in Iran, Iraq, and Syria, and to the currents of Islamism and Arab nationalism throughout the region. While professing to act as the impartial protagonist of peace and justice in the Middle East, Washington has aligned itself with only two of the several competitors in a chaotic regional power struggle.
A number of Third World countries continue their long and convulsive passage from colonialism to full independence. Part of the cost in making this change evidently must be paid in blood, mainly by the people of the Third World nations directly concerned, but also as an adjunct to the process by the nationals of any country that seeks to intervene. Here the United States’s actions in the Middle East illustrate the point. And this being the case, the question arises as to what policy options are best calculated, above all, to reduce the toll in human lives.
Under isolated circumstances, reprisal can be morally justifiable and tactically effective.
But today in the Third World, violence is most often the inevitable expression of legitimate grievances against local oppression or foreign interference. The violence can be attenuated only by political and economic reform, not by counter-violence. Taking whatever action is feasible, the United States has an obligation to lead the campaign to reduce international violence. That effort will succeed only insofar as it meets the tests of morality and consensus. No nation, however powerful, is qualified or entitled to be the policeman of the world.
Fortunately, if U.S. policy is not always democratic, the American political system is and it enjoys the system’s capacity to learn from experience.
A part of the terrorist motivation comes from domestic oppression and lack of good economic options for terrorists. If you have a bad boss you can’t get mad at him so you go home and get mad at your wife and kids, it happens all the time. Arguably the same holds true internationally, if the people in Saudi Arabia or Palestine are pissed about their 50% unemployment rates, governmental oppression & corruption and cannot get mad at their leaders w/o risking death they can take it out on the US the same way someone who is mad at their boss cannot take it out on him so he finds someone else to yell at. Democracy would help redirect some of that anger back at their own domestic government. Religious fundamentalism and personal strife seem to be linked from what I have seen in my life, the people who turn to fundamentalism are more often than not desperate in some way.
None of this would cure terrorism, but it would help cut it down.
“An eye for an eye” is not an excuse to violate the commandment that says “Thou shalt not kill.” The Bible was written over many hundreds of years by many different people, and there are many contradictions in it. I tend to rely on the Ten Commandments and the Sermon on the Mount for guidance in these matters.
My personal feelings about the death of Bin Laden are that he should have been arrested and brought to trial and gone through due process. In reading various accounts of his death it seems to me that this could have been possible. But I understand that those who killed him were under intense pressure, possibly confused and possibly not aware of all aspects of the situation.
I do not believe in capital punishment for any reason. I do not believe in punishment at all. “Vengeance in mine, saith the Lord,” to quote the Bible one more time. That means vengeance is not ours. But I do believe in restraint. We have to make sure the person who commits a crime doesn’t do it again. So life imprisonment without possibility of parole, I think, would have been appropriate for Bin Laden. However, that would not have been for me to determine.
From Rev George Honn III
I just finished your column on the assassination of Osama Bin Laden. Thank you for being honest and setting a high standard for us to look at. Being a minister I have done the same thing you did. Others have done the same. I have not commented on this issue publicly. The killing of a leader geopolitical or ideological is still a killing. It may have been necessary and we did it as humanely as possible, I for one cannot celebrate it. It is a sad moment in our history when the only way to solve a problem is to kill someone, anyone.
I write this to you on Memorial Day knowing that you served and undoubtedly had friends die in combat. I chose a different way I did not serve in the military I did my best to curtail the war. We didn’t do such a good job welcoming home our troops. Back then it was hard to separate the war from the warrior. I now understand the difference and as you do I applaud the men and women who risk their lives so I may raise my voice for peace.
Thank you for your article I found it well balanced open and objective. I pray for all of us to live in happiness, health, and harmony.
From Douglas Keever
The commandment is actually written that Thou shalt not murder. A slightly different context than killing.
Do you actually think we could “defend” our borders, & stop evildoers from entering better with the forces we would bring home? I doubt it.
It is fruitless to assume we will ever “win” the war on terrorism. Slow it down, perhaps. But there is no way to eradicate all terrorists & and they are not a nation that could capitulate.
We haven’t been doing such a great job for the past number of years with the rest of the active terrorists that aren’t quite as high a profile. It took how many years to find this one we’ve been searching for, and have offered 100’s of thousands of $’s reward for? Even repeating this “finding” once more would take more than a decade. Not exactly a clear and present danger to them today.
I do agree with your conclusions though.
From George S. Robinson Jr.
That was an interesting column in Suddenly Senior. In it you succinctly summarize the conundrum posed by the execution of Bin Laden. On one hand, we are steeped in the ten commandments or other faith’s similar tenets. Prime among these is “Thou Shalt not Kill.” On the other side of the ledger we hear “An eye for an eye,…etc” and act to protect, not only ourselves but also all others on the globe, allies or not.
Was it not difficult on V-J day or V-E in the forties to not applaud the cessation of hostilities? Those two dates meant primarily an end to the conflict and killing in the Pacific and European Theatres of war. Bin Laden’s demise will, hopefully, either end or widely reduce terrorist events around the world.
Thank you for your post so thoroughly identifying the moral and ethical conflicts in this solution and telling of your method of dealing with them.
From S. MacKenzie
Thank you for the article on bin Laden’s death. It echoes my sentiments exactly.
From Joan Griffin
Thoroughly enjoyed your article in this week’s Suddenly Senior. I totally agree with you.
Thanks for sharing.
LESSONS I SHOULD HAVE LEARNED FROM MY MOTHER
by Susan Pierres
Sunday, May 9th we celebrated Mother’s Day. Many of our readers are mothers and grandmothers, and will hopefully be surrounded by children and grandchildren celebrating motherhood. Some older readers are lucky enough to still have their mother around. One of those fortunate children is guest columnist Susan Pierres. This week she writes about her childhood, battling with her mother as a teenager, how her 95-year-old mother has now become her best friend and shares her “Top Ten” list of lessons she should have learned from Mom.
From Michael Graham
How wonderful. I wish I had had the experiences you are having with your mom…
Thank you so much for writing something which in reality stands for all of us.
From Alexa Fleckenstein
Thank you for your fine article for Mothers’ Day! What I wonder these days is what kind of people our mothers were
beyond us? Or – gasp! the unthinkable: without us? Wish my mother were still around. I thought I never listened to her. But in the end, like you, I might have listened more than I thought.
From Saralee Perel
A beautiful, wonderful story. You take the reader along with you on your discoveries.
From Frances Canet
This is wonderful and you are so very right. Seems Mothers get smarter the older they get – or maybe we do. Happy Mother’s Day to your Mom.
From Mara Fisher
A wonderful, most enjoyable piece. It brought me back to memories of my mom….thank you!
From Linda Georgian
I was intuitively guided to open up my SUDDENLY SENIOR email out of my more than 781, and there was your story of you and your mother…which I, of course, read. I loved it and felt great love for you and your mother that I just had to email you myself… My main reason for contacting you is to tell you what an excellent writer you are! and what a wonderful mother and family you have! God Bless You ! and for your contribution!!!. I was enjoying and appreciating your mother’s list of do’s and don’ts…they’re all true!! I laughed about the plastic bag when going to restaurants…my mother ALWAYS did that. Hope to hear and read more of your material.
From Richard Earl
It’s such a shame we all must age. Your mom is a testament to her success in dealing with a long life. For some reason, it’s a comfort to know that 100 years ago most were dead by my
age of 71 years. These days squeaking parts remind me that
this ride will end, sooner not later, and there ain’t no grease
gonna prevent it! And that’s OK…
Thanks again for your wonderful column. I hope
you and your mom get to swap lies for a long while yet.
Good column…by Susan…but she must have a very heavy head…she’s supporting it in 3 out of 4 photos…HA! (We photographers notice a thing like this).
From Richard Watherwax
When I was the director of the audio-visual Dep’t at Harrcourt Brace from 1972 to1974 …I photographed many of their authors. And as soon as they sat in front of the posing table, they’d lean their heads on their hands. Seems like it’s the thing to do…
CROSSING THE POND
by Susan Pierres
There is nothing quite like a transatlantic voyage to still your soul. No early morning wake-up, no daily ports of call; no self-induced pressure to sign up for every shore excursion in the book. Far from the chaos of the city – its traffic, smog, congestion, pollution – just you and your mate (or mother, daughter, sister, grandchild), the open ocean, the fresh clean air, a chance to read those books, remember things past, reshuffle life’s priorities.
From Pat Connery Koko
We thoroughly enjoyed your story about the double-crossing. While we
only did the one way that year, our Westbound crossing brought us
into New York in June, 2001 (just a couple of months before you did
that). We took the crossing that introduced the QM 2 to the world
with the ship architects, shipbuilders, execs of Cunard, etc. and
lots of transatlantic crossers who especially love to cross in the
worst of winter during the storms. … Thanks for a great blast from the past and potential future. Great idea with TSA and luggage restrictions to
sail both ways!
From Richard Earl
“Thanks for the Memories” …. Oh, not about crossing the Atlantic but the Pacific – Twice…. Left Vancouver aboard P&O Arcadia > Los Angeles > Oahu > Suva > Auckland > Sydney…. With the exception of a few foggy days from Vancouver > LA, and some around the S. China Sea, every day was a deck day – swimsuit only was the dress code from morning to night – and back in those days we didn’t have knowledge of skin cancer to worry about so we lathered ourselves in coconut oils and baked under the tropic sun until we looked like gorgeous chunks of mobile mahogany, and that was us “white” folk. I also vividly remember standing at the front of the ship – Titanic-like – in the middle of the night – pure blackness except for the phosphorescence of the bow wave and the stunning display of starlight – with the tropical wind blowing on me in a sensuous fashion that has never been equalled on land. As I said – thanks for the trip down memory lane. Now, back to the snowblower.
From Lil Williams
I want to go! I want to go! WOW. What an excellent writer you are. I really, really felt I was with you and your Mom. For my ‘big birthday’ (70), my husband and children surprised me with a cruise vacation! I always wanted to take a cruise. “He said he is now ready”…. Now with your article I want to go across ‘the big puddle’, by ship. Maybe my next ‘big birthday’ … Don’t put off tomorrow what you can do today. Right?
I had to reply immediately as I chuckled on reading a desire for a “passive shall I say” crossing the exact opposite of my life at [my] age…. The last place I want to be, at this stage of my life, is on a ship, in the middle of a vast ocean, with no way to get off. My friends are all cruisers, but for me, just give me solid ground and a means of escape-probably related to a life of motion sickness, vertigo etc.
From Ree Woodworth
Fantastic column in Suddenly Senior it reinforced my interest in crossing the ocean and even returning the same way. I retired from EA but with children and my mother to take care of all of my infrequent travel was domestic. I can now see the light at the end of the tunnel and have requested various brochures from Cunard, Lindblad etc but I am not having much luck finding a way to travel without a companion. Do you have any information or suggestions on this subject? Thanks in advance.
FINDING LOVE ONLINE: THOUGHTS FOR VALENTINE’S DAY
by Doug Noble
Another Valentines Day is here, and single seniors are not sitting around. Internet dating has become a very popular way to find the perfect mate. While it might not be for everyone, letting your fingers do the walking has proven successful for many. This week, Suddenly Senior’s Editor Doug Noble describes his personal experiences and offers some advice.
From Kathryn G.
I met someone online, but not through a single site.
I’ve joined Plenty of Fish, Eharmony, Match.com, a senior singles site, and even a more local dating site, which makes me think my Alaskan neighbors are really in need of physical activity because they are bored, so sex seems like the answer. I won’t continue about this. I met a man in AARP and it was not a relationship group. I had no idea AARP even had groups to participate in. I just wanted to renew my membership card, saw all the options and Now I feel at home. For the most part, it’s a safe site, and I’m among my own generation….ahhhhhh!! Before I met Art, I did try to get back into a single site. As soon as I saw all the profile questions that have to be filled out…something in my head told me to leave, and I have no urge to return to any single site. No more games. He lives in N.H, and I’m in Ketchikan, Alaska, so you can imagine the logistics we are going through. We are taking our time, and we are practical. We’ll see what happens. If it’s meant to happen, it will. Enough from me.
From John B.
Very well written. You are great. Nice flow, interesting. Maybe do a follow up with more details on the mechanics [of online dating]?
From C. Reynolds
Doug- a beautiful email for today. Have a happy Valentines day with Carmen.
MY 15 MINUTES OF FAME AS A POSTER GIRL FOR MENOPAUSE
by Susan Pierres
Just when I thought my dolce vita was over
Time magazine put me on their cover –
And suddenly my life got a fresh start.
It was a sultry summer Sunday not unlike any other. I watered my plants, breathed in the morning air, made a pot of tea, glanced over the papers and checked my e-mail. Browsing leisurely through the news sites online, I suddenly stopped short: Was that my face on the cover of Time magazine?
Bravo! or is that brava…loved your “Suddenly Senior” column … I’m a writing snob ( being a pro writer, too) so when I say I think a piece of writing is terrific, I really mean it. And I thoroughly enjoyed your column.
From Kathryn Guillaum
All I can express after reading this is……WOW, what a ride, huh? You are
a beautiful 60 and represent all of us Senior, hormoned, frenzied, mature
women……very well. Thank YOU!!
From Brenda Fine, New York City
LOVE LOVE LOVED the piece. It reads like vintage Pierres — entertaining,
thought-provoking, savvy, smart — all those good things. I truly enjoyed
reading it. I forwarded it to a friend who also, it turns out, is a Susan
Pierres fan. She loved it and was inspired by it. Said she was going to
write to you right away.
You deserve all the accolades you are receiving. Reading your biography
of past life, plus your speaking up about the pharmaceutical stronghold
on the public makes me want to give my thanks for uttering the truth of
today’s dishonesty used to sell products. Keep talking !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!