Madeleine Gómez's Letter to the Editor of the Boston Herald Madeleine Gómez's Letter to the Editor of the Boston Herald
re: "Time to Spare the Ron," Mike Barnicle, Nov. 16
November 19, 2004

Dear Editor:

The Barnicle article written attacking the resolution proposed by Ron Goldman to support alternatives to violent "discipline" with children was fraught with errors in facts and logic. The only point that seemed to be accurate is that clearly, people have not given much thought to the reality that most children are socialized with and through violence.

To label Mr. Goldman, a "publicity hound" is the lowest type of argument. Name calling or "ad hominem" arguments are only resorted to when one clearly lacks other means for dealing with the issue. I learned that these were invalid arguments in my college Logic 101 class. It is ironic indeed that this blatant attack wasn't caught by an alert editor and sent back to its author. Furthermore, Barnicle needs to do his research. The statistics reported are accurate and well known to anyone working in the field. Perhaps, we can't fault him for not knowing but we must fault him for not taking the time to validate the numbers. This is a complete and irresponsible misrepresentation of what is available in the research.

Barnicle fails to note the amazingly close vote. Clearly, his unresearched notions have taken charge of his writing.

As for all the other issues of importance he alludes to in the piece, again, have we failed to consider how the reduction of violence for children would in turn affect violence on all levels? Worth considering to be sure. Ok, Barnicle admits that children shouldn't be beaten. Is he covering himself, back peddling or is there some part deep inside of him and every human that realizes that violence against another simply brings more violence and is wrong?

Who knows, because the conclusion of the piece reverts to attacking Mr. Goldman, which is no argument at all as I have previously stated. Why must we lend "legitimacy" to reducing violence? Why isn't the goal of reducing violence and alternatives to violence universally accepted by all?

Someday, and hopefully soon, Mr. Goldman's effort will be recognized as an act of moral courage and responsible citizenship paralleling the good work of those who fought the injustices of an earlier day: slavery, violent subjugation of women, racial segregation, abuse of workers, etc., etc. Today, clearly, there is no argument for the sanctioning of violence against one sub-group of humans: children. And, I hope and trust that the town of Brookline will reexamine Mr. Goldman's resolution at the earliest opportunity and then do the right thing.

Madeleine Y. Gómez, Ph.D.
President, PsycHealth, Ltd.
Mother of 4 children

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