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Cautions on 'trigger warnings'

UC Santa Barbara

As an alumna of UC Santa Barbara, I'm confounded by the campus student senate's push for "trigger warnings" in the classroom. Jonah Goldberg rightly questions whether college studies must never cause discomfiture. ("The peculiar madness of 'trigger warnings,'" Opinion, May 19)

Curriculum materials that disturb and upset are part and parcel of the educational process. That's how students' minds are changed so as to better prepare them for roles undertaken as adults outside academia's sheltered milieu.

Otherwise, why would my daughter's sixth-grade class have spent weeks on the Holocaust? Mandated class studies — that didn't come with trigger warnings — included discussions of how countless victims were executed or tortured, with graphic photos of these atrocities.

College students ensconced in their academic cocoons need to learn that avoiding exposure to unpleasant realities doesn't make those realities disappear. Life in the outside world doesn't come with trigger warnings.

Lynn Sturgeon

Santa Barbara

Goldberg's sexist slip shows when he posits the supposed inconsistency of backing the right of women to join military combat units vis-a-vis supporting trigger warnings for women who object to viewing "realistic books and films about war."

As a patriotic youth who registered for the draft some 50 years ago, I enjoyed the "right" to join military combat units. Like many of my male peers, however, I've never relished gory depictions of war's gruesome toll. Does Goldberg thinks it's inconsistent for women to feel that way?

How about affixing an appropriate trigger warning to Goldberg's weekly columns? For example: "Caution: This column may employ straw-woman arguments to oppose progressive ideas."

Aaron Mills

Solana Beach

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