Pranking is a form of bullying. Consider: Pranksters dupe a person whom they perceive as gullible so as to make themselves seem superior while others laugh. Pranksters pride themselves on cleverness and bask in the glow of others' approval. Once clued in, the person pranked is supposed to think the stunt was funny and is supposed to laugh at his or her own weakness.
Joe Paletta's Dec. 17 argument ("Prosecute for Gags?") that the U.S. culture enjoys pranks and that any sympathy for anti-pranking is anti-American is troublesome, to say the least. He fears that the suicide by the Indian nurse who attended Catherine, the Duchess of Cambridge, in an English hospital will inhibit pranking in the United States. He was responding to a Post-Gazette essay by Rekha Basu ("The Prank That Killed," Dec. 12 Perspectives), which said that other cultures based on honor respond differently to such victimization. He indicates that people coming to the United States should adapt (he reminds us of the saying, "When in Rome ...").
Sorry. There are many of us in the United States who have never bought into pranking. Many of us are women who were raised gently and who, perhaps thin-skinned, do not seek self-importance based on others' discomfiture. Jacintha Saldanha was a nurse who helped people in need. That fact should substantiate her sensitivity and her own vulnerability. But additionally, I (and I am sure many others) resent any sweeping statement that pranking/bullying is humor and typical of American culture. Please reconsider, Mr. Paletta.