Copyright 2000 St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Inc.
February 4, 2000, Friday, FIVE STAR LIFT
SECTION: EDITORIAL, Pg. B6
LENGTH: 1376 words
LETTERS TO THE EDITOR
death penalty, justice and the law
A Dec. 26 editorial, "A moratorium on
killing," said our nation executed 98 inmates in the past 12 months. However, it
failed to say how many of our good and honest citizens have been raped and
murdered in the past 12 months.
The death penalty is not about revenge.
It is about justice in our country. It is a punishment to fit a crime. Our
prisons should be used for what they were intended. That is why they are called
"correctional institutions" -- to punish yet rehabilitate those who are capable
of being put back into society as good, upstanding citizens, and not to just
house them in a penal institution until their death.
The editorial asks
that a moratorium on executions be granted so Missouri could investigate its
capital cases. Why? It takes 10 to 15 years of appeals for an inmate in Missouri
to be finally executed. When convicted persons have gone through the complete
appellate system, there is not any doubt of their guilt. With the advances of
DNA it is very unlikely that an innocent person will be executed.
it when we raise our children, we punish them to teach right from wrong, but we
can't seem to do this with our most heinous murderers? The editorial says this
should be a year of forgiveness. The death penalty is not about forgiveness; it
is about the law and justice.
The death penalty is not murder as some
may say; it is about justice and our law.
Lewis & Clark Chapter Leader, Parents of Murdered Children
Thank you, Gov. George Ryan of Illinois. It is
so good to hear of an elected official placing right and wrong and justice above
political ambition. Death row inmates have been pawns of politicians for too
long a time.
The Catholic bishop in Belleville has also spoken out on
this issue. I can hope that other religious leaders will follow him and the
Another thought: Maybe religious leaders can change their teaching
on revenge and vengeance.
Margie I. Johns
Anyone cheering the recent Supreme
Court ruling upholding the Missouri limits on campaign contributions should
remember this: The limits will be enforced by the notoriously inept Missouri
Those wishing to violate the law need only make
multiple contributions in the name of their relatives, their friends, or anyone
else they can think of. They have nothing to fear; the limits will affect only
Although blatant violations of the campaign finance
disclosure law have been reported to the Ethics Commission over the years, it
rarely takes action. This leads to even more violations.
Since the law
requires that commission records be kept secret, and since it isn't even
required to explain its decisions, the Ethics Commission can never be held
A recent article told of more of the commission's
incompetence. It spent $ 250,000 for a campaign finance computer program that
still doesn't work -- and wants $ 387,000 more. "The evidence of incompetence is
overwhelming," said Sen. John Schneider, who wants the state's Office of
Administration to take over the computer work. A 1994 state law required
electronic filing by 1998.
Until major changes are made in how the
Ethics Commission operates, the campaign finance laws will never be properly
enforced. This includes the limits on campaign contributions.
Equal rights effort
Women are once again under siege by those who are determined to defeat
the Equal Rights Amendment and keep women in their place.
ERA would have everyone believe their opposition is about abortion. The fact is
that abortion is just a convenient excuse, because ERA was fought when abortion
was not the excuse.
Opponents hypocritically propound human rights
everywhere else in the world while they fight human rights and simple justice
ERA is really about a woman being paid the same for doing the same
work as a man. ERA is about women receiving equal access to health care. Unequal
health care is evidenced by the fact that insurance companies
pay for Viagra for men but refuse to pay for contraceptives for
ERA is about women receiving equal treatment by the courts so
discrimination and sexual harassment against women can be remedied.
opposition is about maintaining women in a second-class-citizen status without
equal protection under the law.
ERA is essential to truly make
this a land of the free.
This is in response to a Jan.
26 article. State Sen. David Klarich is frantically trying to push a bill to
stop same-sex marriages. He says Missouri needs to define that a marriage is
between a man and a woman.
Well, in most cases it is. But the word
"marriage" in the dictionary is defined this way: The condition of being
married; Wedlock. A wedding ceremony. A close or intimate union." Nowhere does
it say, limited to only men and women.
If two people love each other and
are committed to each other, regardless of their gender, they should be able to
make that commitment to each other like anyone else. Marriage is saying: I love
only you. I want only you in my life and I want to express my love by this union
that will hopefully last our lifetime.
This isn't the downfall of
America. This isn't the weak brick that will crumble the building. The sad thing
is the fear that people like Klarich spread. He says this isn't discrimination.
Again, I would refer Klarich to the dictionary, which states: "To make a clear
distinction; To act on the basis of prejudice."
Alcohol abuse isn't limited to
The Jan. 21 editorial, "The end of Animal House?" was one
of the best ever. However, it failed to state directly that fraternal
organizations are just a microcosm of campus life.
Behaviors -- some
good, such as community service and academic achievement, and some bad, such as
alcohol abuse or hazing -- are representative of the campus community as a
Those campuses on which fraternities and sororities are most
successful in curbing alcohol and hazing abuses are those on which the
university has taken a responsible stand working with the national Greek
organizations, alumni and undergraduate students in supporting one another's
We are least successful on campuses where the university
undermines our efforts to curb such abuses either by carelessness, ignorance or
malevolence -- preferring instead to use Greek organizations as a convenient
scapegoat for campus-wide abuses.
Contrary to author Hank Nuwar's
assertion, it is rare that drinking is part of any ritual or initiation in a
fraternity. The use and abuse of alcohol on college campuses is far subtler than
that. It has simply become the norm to expect that students will get drunk
almost every Friday and Saturday night.
The fraternity house merely
provides the convenient setting for that to occur, particularly if one is under
the legal drinking age. Until fraternities, universities, alumni and
undergraduate students work together to change this expectation, tragedies will
continue to occur.
If a university were serious about confronting this
matter, it would require incoming freshmen to take a course on alcohol and drug
abuse rather than requiring them to take classes that they had once or twice
already in high school. Such a class or seminar would have a real impact on
these issues and contribute far more to students' continued academic achievement
than a repeat of the oft-required civics, composition, algebra or chemistry, or
the new, yet seemingly endless parade of multi-cultural mumbo-jumbo.
fact, if I were a parent, I would not send my young adult to a university
without first evaluating the use of alcohol by its student body, as well as the
efforts by the university and Greek system to address that use.
universities begin to see that ignoring this issue affects their admission
levels (and thereby their finances), they will begin to address it more
February 4, 2000