Regarding the Maienschein appointment [“Editorial,” Jan. 14], Fred Belinsky writes, “I'm certain that homeless people hope that he succeeds” [“Letters,” Feb. 11].
I can just picture Fred Belinsky, lying on an operating-room table, where the surgeon tells him he has no experience in surgery but he's just gonna wing it and “hope” he proves himself worthy.
This is no honeymoon. Standards matter—plain and simple. Same thing applies for the competency of firemen, policemen, teachers and FEMA officials. Greg Sullivan,Homeless
Down with death (wink)
I just read your editorial “to-do” list for President Obama [“Editorial,” Jan. 28], and I'd like to comment on one of the things that you feel he needs to accomplish during his time in office. That one thing is No. 31—abolish the death penalty. I couldn't agree more. Two wrongs don't make a right, and I'd like to give you an example.
In mid-2005, an Idaho man by the name of Joseph Edward Duncan III broke into a home and kidnapped 8-year-old Shasta and 9-year-old Dylan Groene. However, before that, he tied up their mother Brenda, their older brother Slade and the mother's boyfriend, Mark. Duncan then bludgeoned them to death as the children were outside the home in a stolen rental car. The children were taken to various locations, where they were both raped and molested for six weeks. Shasta stated in the police report that they drove long distances and stayed in various campgrounds while Duncan bragged of having beaten her family members to death with a hammer. He then took Dylan and Shasta to a remote western Montana campsite, where he raped, tortured and threatened them before shooting Dylan in the head and burning his body.
During the trial, jurors viewed the video Duncan made of him sexually abusing, torturing and hanging Dylan until the boy lost consciousness. Duncan was arrested and Shasta rescued after the kidnappings when a waitress at a Denny's in Coeur d'Alene called police after recognizing the two as they ate. Last August, Joseph Edward Duncan III was sentenced to death for these acts.
After reading this, it's obvious that Duncan is sick and needs help. Putting him to death would send the wrong message to the world about the United States. By President Obama abolishing the death penalty, he will ensure that this man does not become a victim of cruel and unusual punishment. This man has rights, and they should be protected. What should happen is that he should be forced to spend the rest of his life in prison, which is paid for by taxpayers. Now, I know these prisons are costly, but that's why we pay taxes. We pay our taxes so these incarcerated individuals can be fed three times a day, as well as having lots of free time to plan their futures.
President Obama, please ignore the facts of the Duncan case. The psychological scars that Shasta will possibly carry with her forever are just something that she'll have to deal with. The demise of Dylan Groene is just a mere detail in the big picture. The big picture is that the death penalty is wrong and can never be justified regardless of how long you sodomize, then murder a 9-year-old boy.
C'mon everyone—yes, we can!Jason Bang,Golden HillP.S. Hopefully President Obama will never abolish sarcasm.