Monday, February 2, 1998
Readers split on friends

The Cincinnati Enquirer

Be careful when you open your voice mail. A friend may be taping every word you say.

''That column was a pile of liberal bull.'' - Wallace Homer, Hartwell.

''That column was a wonderfully calm, cool evaluation of the entire situation.'' - Fred Jacobs, Monfort Heights.

That column was about the questionable future of friendship, as embodied by Monica Lewinsky's good friend with the tape recorder, Linda Tripp. And it got a whole lot of people worked up.

Responses to the column were split right down the middle. Half said Linda was right to tape the chats she had with Monica. Half said true friends don't make secret tapes of their conversations.

''Someone who would do that to somebody else is not a friend. They're a snake in the grass.'' - Bill Butz, Mount Carmel.

''What Miss Tripp did was an act of revenge, thanks to Bill Clinton's lawyer calling her a liar.'' - Grant Williams, Westwood.

''Turn in your friends. Turn in your neighbor. Go too far with that and we can turn into Nazi Germany.'' - Frank Schuller, Loveland.

''What Linda Tripp did was in self-defense. Wish it didn't have to be done by betraying a friend. . . . But sometimes there are bigger things than one particular friendship.'' - Tom Blumer, Landen.

''What Linda Tripp did was sleazy, two-faced, immoral and unethical.'' - Alma Walker, Evendale.

''Sometimes turning people in - even if they are your friend - is the only moral thing to do.'' - Shirley Watkins, West Chester.

''It was justified to tape a conversation which could compromise the presidency, undermine the security of the United States and peace in the world.'' - Frank Katz, Bond Hill.

''Your article is not about what Miss Lewinsky or Mr. Clinton did. It's about the loyalty of friendships. I'm going to cut this out and show it to my grandchildren.'' - Maxine Gregg, Roselawn.

''I'm going to spit on your article.'' - Mike Bledsoe, Kenwood.

The last word on the issue of friendship belongs to Delmer Watson of Georgetown.

He summed it up like this: ''The only guilty person in this whole mess is Miss Tripp. Friends are friends. Treat them right. You can't get them puppies every day.''

Witnesses to abuse

When a mother beats her little girl with a belt, and then throws her face-first into a shopping cart in a busy department store, feelings of outrage prevail.

Those feelings intensify when - as readers found out in my Friday column - the mother gets away with it.

''My blood pressure is boiling,'' raged George Marousek of Covington. ''If I had been there, I would have rammed that woman with a shopping cart.''

''Your column said people watched this happen and didn't intervene. Experts say you could get hurt if you step in. Let me tell you,'' said Jill Pandorf of Anderson Township, ''if I had to throw my body in between that abusive mother and that precious child, I would. I did this once at Bigg's. I'd do it again.''

Pam Mulhall-Smith of Blue Ash knows ''when people see something like this they are stunned. But they must get involved. I would have grabbed that child and called 911.''

Clyde Mosley of Milford, was ''moved to tears wondering if this little girl's all right.''

He had a suggestion: ''Several people observed this lady do this terrible thing. So, make a composite drawing of this woman.

''Somebody knows her and her anger. If they see her picture, they might get her the help she needs. And maybe save the life of her innocent child.''

Cliff Radel can be reached at 768-8379; fax 768-8340.