DEAR ABBY: I read in a recent column about the Midland (Texas) Community Spirit Award honoring American communities for distinguished caring service.
While it is fitting that truly good people should be honored, may I suggest a different award -- for the community that most shames America by its total lack of decency and humaneness. I nominate Hegins, Pa.
Every Labor Day, this little town invites its citizens to a family outing that features a live pigeon shoot.
As the pigeons (which have been confined in small boxes) are released, and the disoriented birds attempt to achieve flight, they are shot down by the town's "sportsmen." The birds that are not killed instantly -- but merely wounded -- then have their necks twisted and broken by young boys trained for this occasion.
Their slogan this year was "Shoot pigeons -- not drugs!" (As though the only sensible alternative to shooting drugs is shooting pigeons.)
Let's hope public awareness and outrage at this unbelievable cruelty will finally bring an end to this "sport," which the Pennsylvania legislature has refused to stop. -- ASHAMED IN PENNSYLVANIA
DEAR ASHAMED: I hope so, too, but don't bet on it. In 1986, I wrote to then-Gov. Dick Thornburgh (who was until recently U.S. attorney general), asking him to please put an end to this shameful sport. He shot me down with a courteous letter defending the live pigeon shoot as a time-honored tradition.