July 14, 1997 12:00 PM

Our cover story on teenagers who kill (PEOPLE, June 23) elicited one of the largest responses this year from readers but little sympathy for its subjects. High schoolers charged with killing their own newborn babies inspired the most outrage, with correspondents citing everything from poor upbringing to society’s declining moral sense as reasons for their crimes.

KIDS WITHOUT A CONSCIENCE

Late-term abortions are still legal in America. So is the death penalty. It is likely that euthanasia will be legal in the near future. How ridiculous that we’re still naive enough to be shocked when our own lack of respect for life is reflected in our children’s deeds.

MICHELLE L. BARRETT, Brookhaven, Pa.

Kids without a conscience? How about parents without a conscience? In each case you cited of heinous crimes, both parents were working at “good jobs.” Children need guidance and supervision. Hiring nannies to do Mom and Dad’s job (or leaving the kids alone all afternoon) just doesn’t qualify as good parenting.

WILLIAM J. DAVIS, JR.

Virginia Beach, Va.

For 30 years now, the message to kids has been that battle cry of nihilism from the ’60s: “If it feels good, do it.” So now we have a whole grown-up generation “doing their own thing.” Why is anyone surprised that some of those things aren’t very nice? When you raise a child with no absolutes, no morals, no values, don’t be shocked when he or she turns into an amoral, uninhibited animal. Liberal America, you’ve gotten exactly what you wanted!

DOUGLAS ASHBY, Dallas

And this is the generation that will be taking care of me when I am old? God help us all!

SUZANNE BRYSON, Cartersville, Ga.

I am a 20-year-old who hid my pregnancy from my parents until I was five months along. My boyfriend at the time encouraged me to do so until he turned 18 and would not have to worry about his parents trying to keep us apart. My father, being an intelligent and observant man, cornered me and questioned me. Needless to say, the consequences on the two of us were drastic, but not drastic enough for me to let any harm come to my baby. Last February I gave birth to a healthy baby girl, whom I held and passed around the birthing room for 15 minutes, loving her more with each passing second. Then, on the 16th minute, I placed her in the arms of her shaky yet loving adopting mother. It pains me to see teenage parents being so selfish as to keep their children and allow them to live in poverty, but it pains me even more to know that there are others who deny their child the right to exist.

NAME WITHHELD

While I am deeply troubled by the terrible acts committed by the young people in your story, I am even more concerned about the fact that all of our children are being raised in a society without a conscience.

MICHELLE RUDOLPH, San Jose, Calif.

MARK BRYAN

Mark Bryan doesn’t believe fathers who “unconsciously disengage” from their children should continue to be shamed? He’s really breaking my heart. So all I have to do is give “Daddy” some time to work through his feelings of loss and despair. Then, when he’s finally pulled himself together and comes knocking on my door, I should greet him with open arms. Should the man I am unfortunate enough to have to acknowledge as being my “sperm-donor dad” ever shows up at my door, I will slam it in his face. This child didn’t have time to wait for Daddy to grow up.

C.R. JOHNSON, Silver Spring, Md.

It’s nice that Mark Bryan wanted to reunite with his son after diapers, school, teenage years, etc. were finished. Men take off, women take what they leave, [then] nurture, feed, love and watch them grow. I would never deny my four sons the right to see my ex-husband if they chose to, but I don’t feel sorry for any man who takes off and leaves his family. They got to make their choices. I never did.

LYNNE WEGENER

Farmington Hills, Mich.

MAIL

To the person who suggested Kathie Lee Gifford “stand by her man”: Are you kidding? If Kathie Lee stays with Frank, she and Elizabeth Hurley should do a sequel to Dumb and Dumber, and you can be the director!

LISA JUSTINO, Mount Vernon, N. Y.

CHARLIE SHEEN

Life for Charlie Sheen will continue to be one long bachelor party if inept judges like Lawrence J. Mira slap him on the wrists with community service he’ll never serve, a fine that is mere chump change and counseling sessions he’ll never attend as “punishment” for beating up his girlfriend. Wouldn’t it be nice if Sheen picked on someone like Lorena Bobbitt? Now, that’s what I would call a fair fight!

L. HARDY, Silver Spring, Md.

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