Readers respond to my post yesterday on the tears of liberal sympathy shed over at the Washington Post for the New Orleans looters (see “They’re Not Looters–They’re the ‘Disenfranchised,'” Sept. 1, and also The Other Charlotte’s “If Federal Programs Are Crippling, Looters Kill,” today below):

This from Jillian:

“Just I was clicking over to your site, I thought, ‘I bet that they are writing about the looters and how the left will make them out to be victims.’ You didn’t disappoint!

“The situation is desperate, and if people can’t find any necessities( food, water, medicine) except from taking them, then that’s what they need to do….Unfortunately, while it would help their economy to do so, paying owners back would have to come from a sense of personal dignity, not the sense of personal entitlement that is so prevalent today.”

This from W.W.:

“The best comment I saw was that you shoot looters not to protect property but to protect order. We know, now, just how important order is.”

And this from L.M.:

“So the anointed are defending looters who are stealing guns. I never thought I’d see the day that they defended the right to keep and bear arms.”

Great points all, especially L.M.’s. And if you want to get your dander all the way up, read this blog-post by the Nation’s David Corn explaining why he’s “pro-looting” (yeah, David, they need food, so they hold up a nursing home). If you want to get your dander only halfway up, read this column by the Washington Post’s E.J. Dionne twisting logic into spaghetti carbonara trying to explain why Hurricane Katrina should inspire Congress not to repeal the estate tax. 

Now for some more letters on Miriam Weinstein’s “The Surprising Power of Family Meals : How Eating Together Makes Us Smarter, Stronger, Healthier, and Happier,” arguing for a revival of the family dinner, or, as Weinstein and everyone from south of the Mason-Dixon line call it, “family supper” (See “Family Dining Values,” Aug. 30, and the Mailbag for Aug. 31):

From D.D.:

“Isn’t eating together as often as possible just one of many parenting behaviors and practices generally recognized as supporting and enhancing the healthy physical, emotional, and intellectual development of children? I wonder if the best parenting behaviors and practices oughtn’t be taught to young people in an effort to prepare them for the responsibilities of parenthood. Comprehensive, community-based parenting education might be a tremendously powerful and proactive tool for breaking the cycle of child abuse and neglect, substance abuse, and other forms of violence.”

I agree wholeheartedly, D.D. that young people need parenting education–although I believe in doing it the cheapest and most effective way: learning from your own parents. Read this famous and justly derided piece in Slate by Michael Lewis chronicling the parenting miseries of two highly educated people who seemed to have regarded themselves as too smart and sophisticated to consult their own mothers and fathers about how they managed to raise their own infants to become successful adults without turning themselves into sleep-deprived slaves of their offspring.

And this from K.C. regarding my comment that one of the benefits of family dinner/supper is that kids learn that they have to try a mouthful of everything, “even if it’s parsnips.” K.C. writes:

“PARSNIPS! They’re wonderful–sweeter than carrots, less starchy than potatoes. My husband, the chef, French-fries them–we’ll have you over.”

Hey, K.C., I’ll take you up on that one. I adore parsnips, although I’ve never tried them French-fried. But mention parsnips to most kids, and it’s like mentioning carrots to most kids–which is why you should force them to take a teeny bite and maybe change their minds. When I was growing up, it was “Eeeeww, spinach!” and “Eeeeww, liver!”–two of my very favorite foods, then, and now (see, I told you my mama was a great cook!).

Parsnips Update: A friend sends this:

The parsnip, children, I repeat
Is simply an anemic beet.
Some people find the parsnip edible;
Myself, I find this claim incredible.

        –Ogden Nash

Which is why you’ve got to make your kids taste ’em.