In response to the Oct. 12 Living article “Little King Dunce: Technology coddles kids into ignorance” (Europe edition): I would first like to point out that I am only 21. I do not have any children, nor will I any time soon. Given these disclaimers, I ask that you take my comments accordingly.

The general thesis of this article is that technology and the conveniences it provides are dumbing down our children into a generation who don’t know how to address letters, write in cursive, get ice out of an ice tray, etc. I firmly believe that the author of this article is only taking the opportunity to blame technology for things that parents should be teaching kids. I’m sure that the reason second-graders cannot tie their shoes or zip jackets isn’t because we’ve made huge advances in Velcro or zipper technology; it’s because parents and teachers have failed to teach them to children.

The main problem is that skills that were once considered useful and valuable are no longer seen that way. It’s difficult to feel that what you know is viewed as quaint or obsolete or just plain not worth knowing. A whole generation rolling its eyes at what you think is important isn’t a pleasant thing to come to terms with, so perhaps it helps to belittle them, and wonder aloud about their future success/failures in order to feel better about it.

Technological advances are not to blame for our children’s inabilities. The author took an incredibly one-sided view to avoid the weight of using technology that makes our lives easier responsibly. That said, my kids will wear Converse shoes.

The ability to break something down in your head and learn how it works is a critical step in our basic functions. Listening skills are also a wonderful thing to develop. I don’t care how ubiquitous computers and Internet access have become; these are fundamental skills that should not be technology-dependent, lest we surrender our humanity to the machines.

Seaman Kody Smith

Naval Hospital Guam

Retiree happy with Tricare

Regarding the Sept. 5 article “Gates blasts health system”: From what I read (and the average person would not see this), Tricare itself has a couple of different options, or maybe we should call them plans for simplicity. One of the options that no one has control over is the Tricare for active-duty personal (we will call this A) and the same Tricare that is modified for retirees (we will call this B). So once upon a time I was Tricare A, but now that I am retired I am Tricare B.

There are a couple of options with Tricare, one is Tricare Prime, which is somewhat like a preferred provider organization (PPO), where you have a doctor and he has to order all your testing to have it covered. I believe this is available for Tricare A people and Tricare B people. I believe most people have Tricare Standard, as I do.

If you read Secretary of Defense Robert Gates’ statement [in the article], you can see he is talking almost exclusively about the people with Tricare A. I have had very little problem with Tricare B since retirement, and that has been for about 30 years.

I am glad Gates does not want to raise the cost of our active-duty military health care (Tricare A), but it seems that all the increases will come to us retired military (Tricare B), and I don’t see how increases to retirees are going to help Tricare A, which is only for active-duty personel.

I just thought I would give you the opinion of a retired grunt.

Cpl. Mike Allumi (retired)

Houghton Lake, Mich.

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