Readers debate "Let My Children Go!" by Miven Booth Trageser and hail the return of funk goddess Lynda Barry.

Published August 3, 2001 8:58PM (EDT)

Read the story by Miven Booth Trageser.

Kudos to Ms. Trageser for writing such an important article.

Although many safety rules are designed to save lives, I think it's time for reasonable people to stop and think about what's really behind this kind of legislation.

I think people mistakenly believe that mortal beings (with the aid of modern technology, of course) can prevent tragedies. What about kids being killed by air bags when a mother accidentally runs into a curb or has a fender bender? What about improperly installed car seats? Aren't they just as dangerous? Even with all our good intentions and all our best inventions it's still impossible to cheat the fact that it's extremely difficult to protect the fragile human body in crashes of 70-plus mph.

Thanks again for another great article, Salon.

-- Lisa Leitz

I am so glad that someone has the courage to address the absurdity of the current obsession with child safety. Playgrounds have become so soft, rubberized and safe that they lack fun for all but the youngest of toddlers. Helmets, kneepads, wrist pads and elbow pads take the spontaneity out of a quick romp in the park. And my daughter would also be in a booster seat till the junior prom if I followed weight guides. Trageser has a very good point about how difficult compliance can be in everyday life.

I want to ensure the safety of my daughter, but I feel that part of learning how to be safe is learning how to evaluate risk. Children cannot learn if they are not allowed to fall down sometimes. We learn not to speed our bikes down gravel roads when we fall off and need to pick gravel out of our knees. We need to fail in order to learn our own limits. If we keep our children in cocoons, they feel invincible and never gain the most important safety skill -- caution.

Recent reports about the increase in head injuries to bicyclists despite an impressive rate of wearing helmets should indicate to us that protective laws may not always have the intended outcomes.

-- Milly Baker

When people who ought to know better deliberately and defiantly ignore the law simply because it inconveniences them, I begin to have serious doubts about our ability as a species to survive. I'm not talking about the recent state and federal laws the author rants and raves about -- I'm talking about the irreversible laws of physics, the ones that make all motor vehicle passengers projectiles in the case of an accident.

The author of this article is simply wrong; there is no other way to put it. Choosing to be ignorant is nothing to bray and brag about; deliberately putting your children in harm's way simply because you are in a hurry is unforgivable. Empirical data and sound reasoning can't seem to shake her from her entitled position to not be inconvenienced with matters of her children's safety.

Unfortunately, by the time she comes face to face with the natural consequences of her willful ignorance it will be too late to do much about it. I suggest she put her children up for adoption now so she can spare herself any future aggravation with concerns for their well-being.

-- Phillip T. Stewart Jr.

Reading your well-reasoned article on the dubious merits of legislating booster seat use for people in certain age/size groups reminded me that, as a 5-2 adult woman, I have not once driven a car whose shoulder belt did not cut uncomfortably into my neck. Should I use a booster seat too? If I did, how could I reach the gas and brake pedals? Let's not forget that the air bag may or may not maim or even kill me upon deployment. Car manufacturers (of economy cars too!) need to recognize that people of all sizes use their products and design safety features accordingly.

-- Joy Romanski

Last year, I was talking with a Chinese acquaintance as I suited up with the appropriate gear (helmet, gloves, headlight, taillight) to ride my bicycle home after dark. As I strapped on the helmet and prepared to ride off into the sunset, she gave me a funny look, and asked me why I wore all that stuff.

I hadn't really thought about it -- you just do, because you're supposed to want to be safe. So I answered that it was for safety's sake, and she replied that in China, no one bothers with all that stuff, and billions of people ride bicycles every day. It's also true that there are a lot more cars and a lot fewer bicycles on the roads in the U.S. than there are in China, so I do like to take precautions -- but she did get me to thinking.

Last night I accidentally left my bike helmet in my office -- and I didn't go back to get it. I didn't die, and had the pleasure of feeling the wind in my hair as I rode home. Sometimes that last little bit of safety protection should be sacrified on the altar of convenience and pleasure.

-- Nancy Sims

Read the Lynda Barry archives.

A big thank-you for including Lynda Barry's work again! "One Hundred Demons" was my first real taste of her brilliant (and, as it turns out, quite addictive!) work. She's such an original talent. It is a real credit to your excellent taste and discernment that you've made a commitment to show her stuff.

When the demons flew away, I was really surprised at how much I missed her work and went out to find her books. So I thank you for turning me on to her -- and for continuing to supply the good stuff.

-- Sharon Riley

Thank you for running a weekly Lynda Barry comeek. I have been without her inspired work since the Seattle Weekly (spelled "Weakly" locally) dropped her after something like 18 years.

I loved the "One Hundred Demons" series and look forward to more.

Kudos to Salon for giving this talented artist international exposure!!

-- Mark W. (Seattle)

Lynda's back!!

God, I knew I'd miss her but I didn't know it would be this bad. I've had to go back and read all her "One Hundred Demons" archives a couple of times.

Nobody can evoke so much in just a few panels.

Thanks for leaning on her, Salon!

-- A big fan in Dayton

Lynda Barry is a national treasure. She should commission herself to make a statue of herself and put it in downtown Evanston, replete with the way she draws her nose. Thanx.

-- Robert Myers

Lynda breaks my heart on a regular basis. This big fag would love to have your babies!!

-- Steven Patterson

I love Lynda Barry. Please do not let Lynda Barry go away ever again.

The July 20 strip was just the greeting card I needed this morning. I, too, know the pleasures of giving up on stupid parties so I could stay home to read a good book about coelacanths.

Give my best to one of my soul mates. And my best to all of you at Salon. You're the greatest (no matter what the Screeching Chimps at Free Republic say).

Thank you.

-- George Peterson

I just wanted to thank Salon for bringing Lynda Barry's comeeks back. Her illustrated stories keep me from jumping out of my office window each week. Thanks again!

-- Name withheld

By Salon Staff

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