Letters to the Editor

Letters to the Editor for Aug. 31

Death penalty is a waste of lives

Recent letters regarding the death penalty require comment.

Coretta Scott King once said: “Justice is never served by taking a human life. Morality is never upheld by legalized murder.”

Our remedy for violence should never be more violence. Our remedy for murder should never be another murder.

America is the only Western democracy that continues to execute its citizens. The majority of the world are abolitionists and in Europe, this punishment is strictly forbidden.

The death penalty is an enormous waste of lives, money, time, and resources. It is not a deterrent to crime and generally kills the poor, the weak, the mad and the illiterate. Among those killed have been many innocent, many mad, many not guilty of capital crimes, and some who have not had competent counsel.

I can’t imagine that we are teaching anyone any powerful lesson by killing them. Can we teach them that it’s wrong to kill by killing them? The entire premise of the death penalty is innately cruel and barbaric. We should be above what is mere revenge and strive for the highest standards of justice that do not contain an element of criminality on our own part.

CHLOE BELL

Olympia

Some misinformed on debate

It saddens me to see so many misinformed people disrupt the health care reform meetings across the country — many of whom would greatly benefit from the very reform they are railing against.

Do they not realize that they are being duped by the health insurance industry and used as pawns to further the interests of multi-billion dollar corporations who pay their executives hundreds of times what the average worker earns?

These same corporations increase their profits by dropping unhealthy insureds or denying claims, while claiming that a government run system (like Medicare) would stand between you and your doctor. Oh, really.

Myself, I’d rather have a not-for-profit entity (like Medicare) overseeing my health care than a corporation that stands to make more money if they can deny my claim than they make by paying my claim.

The right wing likes to tell stories about the long waiting lines in countries such as Canada, France and the United Kingdom. Yet when you see interviews from citizens of those countries, virtually all say that they would not trade their system for ours.

I’d suggest that all of our citizens that don’t want a single payer or a government option in the reform package should opt out of Medicare, when eligible, and continue to support private sector profits.

GREG GLANDON

Olympia

World War II Memorial is a disgrace

As the son whose now deceased father was in the infantry and fought in “The Battle Of The Bulge” during WWII, I, too, am appalled at the deteriorated condition of the WWII Memorial on the Capitol Campus in Olympia.

I also had trouble locating the tile that I purchased in honor of my father while visiting the site a month ago to touch the tile, think of my dad, and to reminisce about the day that my dad and I spent together at the WWII Memorial dedication May 28, 1999.

The carved letters/numerals in my dad’s tile were badly worn, and the white highlight was gone.

“What a disgrace,” I said to myself! I thought that the Department of General Administration had a lot of nerve to say that the memorial is not damaged.

Obviously there is no civic pride in state government for the Capitol Campus that belongs to all of us in the state of Washington.

Sadly, the WWII veterans were the last to be recognized (after Vietnam, Korea) and are the first to be forgotten.

STEVE MAXWELL

Olympia

Traffic fatality changes many lives

Recently, a tragedy occurred that we hope will not be magnified. Choices were made and a young man lost his life. The lives of four families have been changed forever.

However, we hope that, somehow, something positive can come out of this. We both believe that when prosecuted to the fullest extent no one wins.

We hope that Emil Swartling will still be able to join the military and will choose to speak to young people about this tragedy while honoring Ben Turner’s memory and preventing the loss of other lives.

We have known the Swartlings for more than 25 years and, thus, have known Emil all his life. Rus and Lorri are exceptional parents, with good values, who always put their children’s welfare first, and both Emil and his sister are blessed.

Just days before the accident, we had the opportunity to talk to Emil about his future plans — to join the military. We both went away thinking about the sacrifices this young man would be making and were impressed, once again, by him.

Then this terrible accident occurred. Since then we have been amazed at the strength, courage and grace shown by both Swartling and Turner families and appreciate the example they have set. We encourage honest discussions among families and have already had some with our grandsons.

LARRY AND KATHY STEELE

Rainier

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