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Letters to Editor

June 18, 2014

Graphic protest image upsets local mother

As many of you may have witnessed, the Oxford community had quite a public disturbance happen last Tuesday afternoon at the corner of Lapeer and Drahner roads.

A man was exhibiting a large sign protesting the act of abortion.

The sign was two-sided; one side with a written message and on the other side an extremely graphic picture of a disembodied, aborted fetus being held by medical clamps.

Before I go any further I want to make very clear that this is NOT a pro-life or pro-choice argument and the topic of abortion itself is irrelevant to the matter at hand.

What I am attempting to convey to the community is how an act such as this can affect our public health and safety. It definitely had an impact on my family.

I was heading home from Kroger at about 4 p.m. when I was stopped at the red light at the intersection. I noticed the man immediately as his sign was fairly large and brilliant neon yellow along with his coordinating colored shirt. When I first glanced over he was displaying the side of the sign with script on it and I quickly read his message diverted my eyes back on the road and for the green light. It was then in the corner of my eye did I see him flip the sign to the repulsive image of the dead fetus.

Within seconds I became panic stricken knowing that the wondering eyes of my 4- year-old son were in the back seat of the vehicle. I quickly shouted for him to look over at the Dairy Queen across the street in hopes that the idea of ice cream would be an effective distraction but I looked back to witness his little face staring at the sickening photo with confusion and fear. As he struggled to process this image he began to ask me "What happened to that baby, Momma?..." All I could do was plead with him to look away and pray that the traffic light change so I could speed away, but no matter how fast I could flee the situation the damage had already been done.

This left me with a feeling of anger like I have never felt before. As a mother, it is natural to want to protect my children from unnecessary graphic material put in our society as much as I can and here I was left defenseless against this public act that victimized my child.

I immediately called the police to make a report. I was informed by the Oakland County Sheriff's Office that a deputy had already talked to the man and nothing could be done because he was protected under the First Amendment.

Here's where I am confusedů We have censorship for a reason, and it is EVERYWHERE! We censor our music on the radio and label CD's for content. We have ratings on movies and television shows for suitable age groups. Even on the nightly news they warn us if they are about to show any kind of "disturbing images."

These are things we do to justly shield a younger developing generation from harmful material. So how does the First Amendment get to be so taken for granted in other incidences?

I am not challenging our constitutional rights. I raised my right hand and have served in the military for almost a decade now defending those rights. Within this time, I have witnessed the violence that children in war stricken countries are exposed to and what that does to a society. There is nothing more distressing than the innocence of a child being deprived from them. Here in America our kids deserve better.

I grew up in the Oxford community and wanted my children to be raised here to avoid instabilities such as this. I am proposing that we as Oxford residents demand that there be an ordinance that prohibits the display of extremely violent or graphic images during any public protest.

I believe in the freedom of speech, but I feel just a strongly that we as parents and Oxford residents should have the freedom to protect our children and the children of this community.

Kate Logan

Oxford

Reader complains Skilling article made him 'dumber'

(In response to June 11 article "Why was Skilling's house on Craigslist?")

When did the Oxford Leader become the National Enquirer, delving into the personal lives of people, just because they hold some sort of "standing" in the community?

This information is none of my business.

And the reporter looks petty and small for chasing a personal item like this, especially when Dr. Skilling asked and answered the question and mentioned he didn't want an article written about personal matters.

I am dumber for having read this article and somebody owes me a dollar.

Kevin Kadrich