The piece "The Other Victims" (POINT, Fall 1999) by Becci Robbins was the most assinine piece of writing itís been my displeasure to read. The family members of death row inmates are NOT victims of the death penalty. They are more victims of the crime of murder that placed the inmate on death row to begin with.
And not one of the inmates on death row is rich? Well, Duh! Itís true that on very rare occasions rich people have committed murder, but seldom does the murder qualify as 1st degree. Nor should it. Can you show me a single instance of a rich person walking into a McDonaldís, stealing a couple of hundred dollars, then executing the teenagers working there? Or the last time a rich person murdered a child in a drive by shooting?
Letís see, polls say most would rather give life imprisonment without parole than impose the death penalty. But polls also show that nearly eighty percent of all Americans support the death penalty. Which is it?
But the utterly assinine gall of calling family members of the murderer victims of the death penalty, rather than victims of the murderer should make you ashamed of yourselves. Even if the cold blooded piece of crap who committed a murder received life instead of the death penalty, his family should not receive any closer contact with him. He should be dead to the world, if not dead physically.
Real simple. If he doesnít commit murder, his family can see him all they want, whenever they want. If he does commit murder, his family should see him exactly as often as the family of the murdered victim gets to see their beloved.
James A. Ritchie, firstname.lastname@example.org
I was in the process of sending letters to the editors of various S. Carolina papers when I had the urge to actually read one ó yours. WOW! I am bookmarking your paper even though I am half way across the country.
Progressive educational reformsÖ newspapers like the POINTÖ South Carolina is ruining its reputation as a backwater of civilization.
Your article about "The Other Victims" (POINT, Fall 1999) is outstanding. I am forwarding it to some people who are interested in the issue. Here in Texas the situation is an abomination.
George Bush is a nightmare for civilized humans who look behind his empty political rhetoric:
There are a million hungry people here that Junior George could not care less about. A quarter of the children here are not covered by medical insurance even though the feds will pay for it. Texas does nothing to help the mentally ill and a number of them have manifested their disorders by running around shooting people.
The Bush brothers seem to fancy executing poor minorities; Texas spends less on the legal defense of indigent accused than any other state in the nation. We have judges here who do not see anything wrong with paying court-appointed defense counsel more if their clients plead guilty than if the lawyer takes it to trial and gets a verdict of not quilty. The State of Texas has issued concealed handgun permits to more than 870 ex-felons.
Education here in Texas is a rapidly deteriorating disaster. Half the charter schools are insolvent, classrooms are overflowing, teachers are underqualified. Texas teachers colleges produce more than enough graduates but but there is a shortage of teachers because the average teacher in Texas gives up on the profession in about 2 1/2 years. Bush has not decentralized education; he has used his so-called system of "accountability," high-stakes testing, to further concentrate control over public education in the Texas State Board of Education that he appoints.
Taxes have gone way up. We pay more than we did in the one of the wealthiest suburbs in the county north of Chicago, Illinois, yet there are no social services and they spend far less than two-thirds as much per pupil on public education. Where is the money going?
Pollution in Texas is now the worst in the nation but Gov. Bush wants to keep trying to work with voluntary controls on the same industrial pollutors who refused to volunteer during the last five years.
Tort "reform" has led to some of the highest insurance premiums in the nation. Independent studies show that insurance companies have saved about $2 billion, businesses an unknown amount. If you accept Gov. Bush's arithmetic, consumers have saved $1 billion because premiums "would have" gone up that much.
Bush is a very appealing candidate to big business and fundamentalist Christians, however, no one else with a rational mind and possession of the facts could possibly believe he will look out for their interests.
Once again I am thoroughly impressed with the content of this newspaper. I am especially partial to this particular issue (POINT, Winter 2000). My whole life in the last two years has been consumed in the study of globalization and corporate domination of the world. I attended the most recent protest in Washington, D.C., against the IMF and WTO. I am only recently becoming aware of globalization right here in my own back yard. Thank you for yet another great collection of honest and good journalism.
Sometimes I am overwhelmed by the abnormal abundance of ignorance and complacency that pervades the landscape of upstate South Carolina (Spartanburg). Then I get online to search for that one ray of hope that keeps me from losing my mind. And there it lies, the POINT. Truly a point of light.
I just recently moved back to South Carolina only to be deeply troubled at the state of affairs here. It took moving away and traveling the globe to see where this state stands in the whole scheme of things. Itís not just the schools that are suffering, it is the entire consciousness of this state. Donít mistake my discontent for pessimism. I am truly optimistic. As long as the POINT has a breath of life left in it, then hope is still alive in South Carolina. Thank you.
Ashley Harris, Spartanburg
P.S. If there is one leftist anywhere in upstate South Carolina, please contact me at ICMIAL@aol.com. Itís a lonely world for a leftist in Spartanburg.
In response to Becci Robbinsí story on repeating history (POINT, Winter 2000). I was born and raised in New Hampshire, a Yankee right? Sure, if you label a person based on where they were born. I came to South Carolina to attended USC in 1980. I knew there was a confederate flag flying over the statehouse, however it did not offend me. I thought it was unique and cool at the time. However, my view has changed.
I view the flag as a symbol, as all flags are. To me it represents a time when people where proud, and honor was important. One place when charm and grace still could be found.
The writer of the article suggests South Carolinians live in the past and want to repeat history. I donít think so. South Carolinians do no want to repeat history, they want to make it. Fighting for an ideal is never easy. Fighting for a way of life is honorable. South Carolina has never been like the rest of the county. Why should it be. Our school system now teaches that everyone is unique and different and that we should embrace that difference. Why do those same folks who go along with that notion believe that South Carolina should walk lockstep with the rest of the county?
Is there prejudice in our state, sure. Is there prejudice in other states, you bet. But to suggest that every South Carolinian who wants all three flags to continue to fly is a racist is wrong. Every citizen of every state should have the right to be proud of its past. Pretending that South Carolina did not exist until 1865 will not solve any problem or undo any wrong.
Even though I was born in New England, Iím proud to be a South Carolinian. And I will always be proud of the bravery and honor shown by the men who defended this state and its citizens.
The American flag flew over the county during slavery much longer than any Confederate flag. Should we take that off all the capital domes as well. We should not run from the time when charm, grace and honor was in style, we should return to it.
Scott Malyerck, Irmo
One of the greatest myths perpetuated over the last 135 years is that Confederate dead deserve the same reverence, honor, tribute or respect that we give to other soldiers who died fighting for America. Worship of Confederate dead is anti-American and unpatriotic. These were not soldiers fighting to preserve America; rather, they were secessionists fighting to destroy our union and preserve the unholy institution of slavery. They were misguided souls who are probably burning for eternity in that very Hell and damnation they feared. Anyone who honors their demise, especially if this is done by U.S. military personnel, veterans or the devoutly religious, dishonors America and those high ideals of God and country characterized by true American patriots.
It is especially unpatriotic to renew the cause of Confederate dead, as by displaying the Rebel battle flag, calling for the formation of a new nation of white power states or using proclamations which glorify the Confederate States of America to promote unpatriotic ideals of a dead Confederate nation.
Yet there are people and organizations who have this as their very purpose for existence.
True American patriots honor only those brave soldiers who died to preserve our Union. Make no doubt about it, many who honor the Confederate dead and the cause for which they died, harbor hatred in their hearts for black people, would love to see our society divided into black and white only states and have no respect for human rights of minority groups.
Simply put, the idea of a Confederacy is the idea of an unholy slave nation ruled by whites only. It is apartheid; it is fascism; it is anti-American! These people and groups should be identified and their doctrines exposed and ridiculed by all true American patriots.
American patriots honor these United States and have no tolerance for those ideas which are designed to deprive a people of liberty, to destroy our Republic and break up our nation! To give any honor to Confederate dead is to slap America in the face and begin anew that fever and disease which tore our nation apart in a great Civil War! Rather I say praise those who died to preserve our Union and abandon forever the devilish dreams of their foe!
I pledge allegiance to the flagÖ Why? Because of what it symbolizes democracy, opportunity, and freedom of expression. Of course, the flag Iím speaking of is the one commonly referred to as Old Glory. Although, as an African-American, I must say that the experiment under Old Glory is not perfect and in many cases it has flat out failed. However, I think I can safely say that most African-Americans are still very proud to pledge allegiance to what it symbolizes.
Now, this other red, white and blue cloth (Confederate Flag) is symbolized differently. Itís heritage and history can never be erased but it must be looked at for what it really stands for. Created out of stateís right to keep the institution of slavery, it has a heritage and history of mistakes. Also, unfortunately, it is tainted with hate. In the 1860s slave owners hated the thought of African-Americans being freemen and in the year 2000, in some camps, it is still a hatred of African-Americans just to exist.
In the 1860s, when Mr. Lincoln, representing the Republican Party, said "slavery must end." The Confederate flag rose at Fort Sumter. Mr. Lincoln had the fortitude to put the nation at war within its own borders to take it down. Itís shocking to see, hear and believe that the candidate for Mr. Lincolnís party cannot muster up enough courage to fire salvos at the same flag.
I imagine that somewhere in Germany, excluding those who would like to resurrect not only Hitlerís ideas but him in person as well, there are families with grandfathers who proudly fought in a war with a mistaken cause they deeply believed in. Again, these families also cannot erase their "heritage and history." Someone, Iím willing to bet on, will have a picture of a family member (ancestor) on the wall for full display with the background being the Swastika. Iíve never been to Germany, but I wonder if they ride with the Swastika on their trucks, fly them from their front porch, or constantly remind everyone about the hurt and suffering that their ancestors were a part of by flying this flag above the building which houses the governing body of the state (nation).
Richard Caldwell, Charlotte, NC