Killing God’s creatures celebrates him ... how?

I don’t understand why on one page of the Aug. 19 paper we celebrate the killing of a “monster alligator after mighty struggle in Alabama” and on the next page we condemn the killing of 100,000 elephants across Africa. We tell the Africans to stop hunting their elephants (which will probably become extinct) but celebrate “with all the glory to God” the killing of a 1,011.5-pound alligator in this country.

I doubt that God is celebrating when we kill one of his great creatures just for the “catch of a lifetime.” The poachers in Africa are destitute and need the money they get from selling the ivory. What’s our excuse?

Kenneth H. Cohn

Veterinarian, Tucson

Alligator wasn’t the monster

Re: the Aug. 19 article “Hunters snare monster alligator after mighty struggle in Alabama.”

The photo on Page A5 of the carcass of a 15-foot dead alligator, surrounded by grinning children on the left and adults on the right, was truly nauseating. A magnificent gator is going about his business one minute, then the next is being punctured by hooks and blasted in the head with a shotgun, twice no less. The teenagers participating in this slaughter learn that might makes right and more force is better force.

And all of this is fully approved by God who, according to hunter John Stokes, gets all the “glory.” What “glory” is that, exactly? The glory of five human beings equipped with a boat, large hooks and shotguns going after a creature of nature? And to what end? The gator goes to the taxidermist and “beyond that, they’re not sure what they’re going to do with it.”

And this is what makes humanity great?

Kendra Gaines

Writing consultant, Tucson

‘Governing while black’

not as easy as it looks

Re: the Aug. 19 Fitzsimmons cartoon.

When I saw the Fitzsimmons cartoon in which President Obama laments the difficulty of “governing while black,” I was grateful that someone had finally pointed at the elephant in the living room.

Since his election in 2008, Obama has endured a shower of malice that surely has something to do with the color of his skin. Political commentators and members of the public have treated him as if he didn’t belong in such a lofty office.

Worse, Congress is almost completely dysfunctional, due largely to an intransigent Republican Party that seems more committed to its own ends than to serving the country. The most recent Congress has done even less than the renowned “do-nothing” Congress of 1947-49.

Thanks, Fitz, for pointing at the elephant. I can only hope that in the forthcoming election, the voting public will usher the elephant out of the living room and into a richly deserved oblivion.

Jay Hornbacher

Actor, Tucson

Arts education is good for math and science

Re: the Aug. 18 article “Students need exposure to arts to realize full human potential.”

Theodore Buchholz laments that arts education is pruned as schools focus more on math and science.

As a math educator I also lament; high-quality arts education starting at an early age develops traits that allow a child to learn and perform better in all subjects, but particularly in math and science.

Music and dance teach the value of practice and persistence, the universal lesson that mastering a skill requires sustained effort over a long time.

Visual arts such as drawing, painting and sculpture teach a child to observe their surroundings in a highly engaged way. The ability to observe a microorganism or a galaxy and identify its significant features is a crucial ability for a scientist.

Theater develops the ability to work in a team toward a common goal. A child who participates in theater in elementary school is prepared to join a robotics team in middle school.

If you want science and math, keep arts!

Bruce Bayly

University of Arizona math professor, Tucson