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letters | Crash course in global relations

Casual reaction overlooks dangers of traveling abroad

I take issue with the conclusions arrived at by the editorial “Student’s China protest: Re-education at Newton North.” Calling Henry DeGroot a “feisty, red-blooded American kid,” and saying that his “actions [were] a bit childish” and that he “probably deserved a lecture” displayed a casual attitude toward a very serious situation that exists in today’s scary world, particularly for young people.

The notion that a citizen of the United States is invulnerable to punishment for breaking the laws or mores of a foreign hostile country is a disservice to a generation eager to travel and experience life in other lands.

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Unlike earlier days, Americans are not welcomed in certain countries. Doing such things as hiking in the mountains of Afghanistan and Iran, or writing words that are obviously unwelcome in a Communist-controlled country, as DeGroot did, are not adventurous; they are plain stupid and dangerous. Many young people have ended up in jail in other countries from such highjinks. The sooner high school-age people realize this, the safer they will be when they travel abroad.

John T. Gardiner

Waltham

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