The horrible killings in Connecticut have been on everyoneís mind, Iím sure. It would be a tragedy at any time, but the Christmas season magnifies it. I have written letters like this in other years. My reasons remain the same. Just think about all the things we have lost since the 1960s.

We have lost prayer in schools; some may not even recite the Pledge of Allegiance any longer. Some groups want to change the national anthem. We have taken Christ out of Christmas in public places by wishing happy holidays.

Think of violence in movies, on TV and in video games. What happened to wholesome TV shows like Carol Burnett, Ozzie and Harriet and the like? Most TV programs are not even funny, much less focusing on any morals or principles. They opt for gay themes, talking back to parents, using foul language and sex.

Many homes have parents who do not discipline their children due to not caring or not wanting the children in the first place. These people got married too soon, or not at all, had children they did not want and decided it was too difficult to take care of them.

Discipline went out the window, and the children raised themselves. They were pacified with money, cars or whatever to keep them occupied. Many children donít even reach that stage, as they are murdered when they are babies because they cry and their parents donít know what to do with them.

The welfare system is abused by people making more money not working when they really could be working.

Our young people have been in training for years to kill, maim and destroy. Not in actual training, of course, but through video games and violent movies and TV shows. How can we be surprised when one soul, twisted by years of this training, actually acts on it?

We, as parents and grandparents, need to encourage spiritual and moral training that teaches right and wrong. Tell children there is a creator God who made them for a purpose and loves them, unconditionally. Love them, listen to them and discipline them.

Changing gun laws is not the answer. Put discipline back in schools, allow teachers to hug a student when he or she does something fantastic, and bring back prayer.

Itís going to take more than my letter to make this work. It takes action and will power. During this blessed Christmas season, letís concentrate on making this world a better place.

Sandra Batson

Rittman

Too high ?of a price

I have become a one-issue voter. The school slaughter in Connecticut was the catalyst.

If this is the price we must pay to provide for private ownership of guns, it is entirely too high. I donít imagine that I am alone.

I am so sick and tired of children and innocent people being slaughtered by guns that I will never again vote for any candidate who has the endorsement of the National Rifle Association.

I am so sick and tired of the idolatry of guns that impels the so-called constitutional right to have them that I intend to oppose gun ownership whenever it is in my power to do so.

I am so sick and tired of the culture of gun violence that separates us from every other civilized country in the world that I am almost ashamed to be an American.

Enough is enough. We have to reject the anecdotal fantasies of people who dream of using lethal force to defend themselves. We have to look forward to a day when this country is finally free of gun violence.

We can do this by stopping the flow of ammunition. Join me.

Tom Liston

Stow

Expand Medicaid ?in Ohio

The Ohio Hospital Association commends the Dec. 13 editorial, ďA bargain for health,Ē which supported Medicaid expansion in Ohio.

The costs of providing health care for Ohioís 1.5 million uninsured citizens are being borne by Ohioís hospitals, employers and 10 million other residents. Forgoing the enhancement option altogether would dismiss a unique opportunity to streamline Medicaid eligibility, promote long-term stability of the stateís finances and create more rational incentives in the health-care delivery system.

According to the Health Policy Institute of Ohioís Medicaid Atlas, more than 24 percent of adults in Summit County live at or below 138 percent of the federal poverty level. Many of the families in Summit County who arenít offered health coverage through their employer and who canít afford a private plan finally would have access to coverage if Ohio pursues the Medicaid expansion option.

Ohio also has a chance to build a more flexible Medicaid program, with greater opportunities for personal responsibility, less cost-shifting onto privately insured families and employers and less financial risk for the state.

By law and by mission, Ohio hospitals are required to provide medically necessary care to all sick or injured people, including uninsured individuals with incomes at or below the federal poverty line.

When uninsured patients canít pay, hospitals go uncompensated. Hospital uncompensated care levels are at all-time highs. In the past five years, Ohio hospitalsí uncompensated care costs have increased by over 50 percent.

Even though Medicaid only covers part of the cost of providing care ó 83 cents on the dollar ó covering more uninsured Ohioans through Medicaid would provide some degree of counterbalance to the spiraling shift of costs to families, employers and hospitals.

Hospitals recognize that enhancing and streamlining the Medicaid program will present challenges. This opportunity will help address challenges faced by families without health insurance and the resulting unsustainable impact on Ohioís economy and health-care delivery system.

As the front line of health care, the Ohio Hospital Association encourages policymakers to seize this opportunity to help secure a better health-care system for Ohioans.

Mike Abrams

President and chief executive

Ohio Hospital Association

Columbus