Iraq, fuel costs, terrorism and jobs. Sounds like a typical political agenda. With the coming elections, topics like these are sure to provide candidates with ample opportunity to promote their image as strong, capable and concerned leaders. We have spent an unimaginable amount of time and money debating the war in Iraq, terrorism and building walls around our borders to keep threats out. And yet, we fail to spend a fraction of the time, effort or money debating how to save 4,600 annual youth suicides from happening or how to slow the additional 110,000 self-inflicted injuries common to the youths of this country each year. Who is addressing the 1.6 million youths who have been forced to live on the streets?

The United States, traditionally, has a history of protecting the rights of parents to legally abandon, neglect and abuse their children on the basis of socialized prejudice. If a child identifies as transgender, gay or bisexual, they can still be legally institutionalized or forced into aversion therapy. Or instead, be thrown to the streets or choose to run away in order to avoid such cruel treatment.

Who is going to protect these children within our borders?

Shannon Candice Metzler

Salt Lake City