DEAR ABBY: In a recent column in the Delaware News-Journal, you condemned the traditional Labor Day Pigeon Shoot in Hegins, Pa. I was pleased to learn that you were compassionate enough to have written to then-Gov. Dick Thornburgh in 1986, protesting that barbaric tradition, and you asked him to please put an end to it. You said he responded with a courteous letter defending the live pigeon-shoot as a time-honored tradition.
Well, Abby, last week, on Election Day, Dick Thornburgh suffered an unexpected defeat in his race for the U.S. Senate. In Philadelphia, the newspaper headlines read: "Wofford Stuns Thornburgh!"
In sustaining this totally unexpected defeat, Dick Thornburgh must have felt as stunned as those doomed pigeons of Hegins for whom he refused to take merciful action. -- JANICE DILLON, WILMINGTON, DEL.
DEAR JANICE: I have received a few letters asking if it was just a coincidence that the letter about Dick Thornburgh and the Labor Day Pigeon Shoot in Hegins appeared in my column just a few days before the Pennsylvania elections. I assure you, it was. I am not so egotistical to presume that my column was in any way responsible for Thornburgh's defeat. Suffice it to say, it didn't help him any.
DEAR ABBY: Re Dick Thornburgh's letter to you describing the Hegins Pigeon Shoot as "a time-honored tradition": May I remind him of a few other "time-honored traditions"?
-- Public hangings
-- The caste system
-- Binding the feet of female infants (in pre-revolutionary China) to impede their growth
-- Leaving elderly people out on the ice to die
Some of these "traditions" needed a war to stop them. Others ended because they became illegal. I thank God we have people who see injustices for what they are, and have the courage to fight for change. -- ROSALIE BEREZICK, TRUCKSVILLE, PA.
DEAR ROSALIE: Thanks for writing. I am reminded of the immortal words attributed to Edmund Burke (1729-1797), the Irish-born British statesman: "The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing."