Letters to the Editor
Letter to the Editor:
I want to thank Congressman David Dreier for his work to bring cop killers who
cowardly flee the county to justice. Recently, Congressman Dreier supported a
bill which urges Mexico to work with its Supreme Court to renegotiate their
In addition, I worked with him to introduce another bill, H.R. 2363, the Peace
Officer Justice Act, that would make it a federal crime to kill a law enforcement
officer and evade prosecution by fleeing to another county, punishable by the
death penalty or life imprisonment. This bill, which is supported by the National
Association of Police Organizations, the Fraternal Order of Police and the National
Sheriff�s Association, will provide prosecutors and law enforcement a powerful
tool to apprehend violent criminals because they can use the federal
government�s power, resources and leverage to seek justice for the victim�s
family and friends.
Opponents of H.R. 2363 erroneously claim the bill gives exclusive jurisdiction
over cop-killer cases to the federal government. This is far from the truth. The
bill, in fact, gives an additional tool to prosecutors to seek justice from fleeing
cop killers by making it a federal crime to commit such an act, because the law
does not currently provide for such a penalty. Opponents also mix apples and
oranges when they claim the bill would ensure that a cop killer would face
neither the death penalty nor life in prison. Their reference to the type of
sentence sought against these types of criminals is the issue addressed by the
bill supported by Congressman Dreier that urges Mexico to work with its Supreme
Court to renegotiate its extradition treaty. These two bills, both
supported by Congressman Dreier in his effort to fight crime, are worthy and
Our communities are safeguarded by our brave men and women in uniform. H.R.
2363 establishes the atrocious act of killing an officer then fleeing as a federal
offense that will help bring these criminals to justice.
And the Winner is. History.
To the Editor:
The other day, I was filling out my ballot for Major League Baseball's All-
Star Game and a thought occurred to me. It's not terribly difficult to come
up with a system to help make the tough comparisons between great players.
How many home runs has a player hit? What is his batting average? How many
runs batted in? There are many numbers we use to measure athletes across the
decades. It's comparing apples and apples.
I watched the series "Greatest American" on Discovery Channel and found the
opposite to be true. It seems impossible to measure a brilliant president
against a groundbreaking scientist against an innovative entrepreneur. What
is greatness, anyway? Each choice was great in some way. [Though, with all
due respect to Brett Favre and Dr. Phil, I find it hard to put them in the
same category as George Washington and Abraham Lincoln.]
Like many notable American TV shows - and many notable Americans, such as
Alexander Hamilton and Albert Einstein - the idea for "Greatest American"
was born somewhere else. Similar programs in England and France chose
Winston Churchill and Charles de Gaulle respectively. To be sure, "Greatest
American" only scraped the surface of information about the most significant
figures in our history. But there is value in thinking about individuals
like Franklin, Lincoln and King - and even greater value in reading about
them. The popularity of books by David McCullough, Ron Chernow, Walter
Isaacson and many others is evidence that all Americans, not just scholars,
are interested in history. The "beach book" we take with us doesn't have to
be filled with fluff. It can be filled with the story of our country.
The important choice being made is not in choosing the greatest American, it
is in choosing to learn about all of our great Americans. So, when we join
our family and friends at picnics and baseball games, when we share hot dogs
and apple pie or peanuts and Cracker Jacks, it's worth talking about our
country's all stars and the seasons in which they lived. The records they
set are not likely to be broken anytime soon.
James G. Basker
New York, June 28, 2005
The writer is President of The Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History
and the Ann Whitney Olin Professor of English at Barnard College.
To the Editor:
I guess I could take Mr. Tabor's allegations about PETA more seriously if
the criticisms were emanating from a man who was truly committed to
alleviating animal suffering. ("PETA is an Animal's Worst Friend" 7/3). The
truth is that PETA, like all organizations grappling with the problem of
companion animal overpopulation, euthanize animals. When PETA learned that
homeless animals in North Carolina were being gassed with fumes from the
tailpipe of a pick-up truck and being shot with a .22 rifle while tied to a
pole, they began subsidizing euthanasia through a local veterinarian. I
think we can all agree that a painless death is better than being shot and
left for dead. Further, PETA has spent more than a quarter of a million
dollars improving facilities in N.C., has delivered hundreds of dog houses,
free food and sterilized 7641 animals at minimal or no cost.
Is killing homeless animals a travesty? Absolutely. Those of us who have had
to do society's dirty work by euthanizing healthy dogs and cats will be the
first to admit it. Nobody wishes it were not necessary more than we do, but
a painless death is better than what life has in store for homeless animals
who are born into a world that does not want them, that does not care for
them and that does not deserve them.
If euthanizing dogs and cats and disposing of their bodies was a crime, I,
along with almost every animal control officer and animal shelter employee
in this country would be guilty of that crime. We are only doing the grim
work that our throw away society has delegated to us. It is ironic that the
people who often care most about animals, animal shelter employees, are
forced to kill animals.
People who are shocked or outraged by the fact that the bodies of dead dogs
and cats find their way to landfills and rendering facilities by the
millions every year should wake up and do something about it. More than
15,000 dogs and cats will be killed in shelters across the country today.
Their blood is on the hands of those who continue to patronize breeders,
puppy mills, pet stores and people who fail to spay and neuter their
animals. The only thing more tragic than the fate of homeless animals is the
fact that their deaths are entirely avoidable. A truly humane society would
prevent them from being born in the first place.
Since Mr. Tabor sees fit to lecture readers on hypocrisy perhaps it is he
who should come clean. Mr. Tabor alludes to the innocuous sounding group
known as the Center for Consumer Freedom. CCF is an industry front group
that represents the interests of tobacco companies, restaurant chains, meat
producers and others who stand to lose from increased government regulations
and public scrutiny. CCF attacks PETA and other "radical" groups such as
Mothers Against Drunk Driving because the vested interests CCF represents
stand to lose money as a result of effective advocacy campaigns. A more apt
appellation for the Center for Consumer Freedom would be the Center for
Cunning Fabrication or perhaps Charlatans for Crafty Falsification.
Actually, Cons fraudulently Covering-up Falsehoods is probably the most
accurate of the three.
Leana Stormont, J.D.
Iowa City, IA
As the U.S. Senate prepares to vote on S.J. Res. 12, the flag protection
amendment,the following is offered for your publication consideration from
the perspective of a U.S. Navy veteran, Legionnaire and proponent of the
Will They Still Sing "God Bless America"?
By Daniel S. Wheeler
Often I am asked by reporters, "What harm does it do to burn a flag?" This
question usually comes from young men and women, most of whom aren't
veterans, and I frequently sense that they really don't understand why this
issue is important.
Recently, I was asked this question: "Tommy Lasorda told the story of a flag
burning during a Dodger game in 1976 where Rick Monday ran out on the field
and tore the flag away from a protestor. When they became aware of what had
happened, the crowd stood and sang 'God Bless America.' Doesn't that prove
that we don't need the flag-protection amendment?"
When I heard the question, I was reminded of what Gen. Patrick H. Brady,
Medal of Honor recipient, said. He pointed out that nobody can change your
mind or my mind about protecting our flag. It's the children of America
that we have to think about.
What happens when they lose, or are no longer taught, respect for our flag?
What will happen when an enemy threatens our nation, or even attacks our
country, and our moral fiber has become so desensitized -- our patriotism
has been so eroded -- that ordinary citizens aren't willing to stand and
fight for the United States?
Brady reflects on those who have died in battle, and those who risked their
lives for this great country. He says that the men who wear the Medal of
Honor risked their lives for their country - many of them died -- but he
wonders if they would be willing to risk their lives for the "country we are
Then I think about those thousands of men and women singing "God Bless
America" in Dodger Stadium. Why were they doing it? Well, obviously they
did it because they loved their flag.
But why do they love their flag, and why do they love their country? It's
not something you are born with, this patriotism and love of our flag. It's
something you learn from your parents, your teachers, your Sunday School
teachers, your drill instructors, your life experiences.
Throughout the lives of those who rose to their feet, we had laws protecting
Old Glory. Throughout their lives, they'd been taught that America was a
good nation, in fact, the greatest nation on earth. Many probably risked
their lives in her defense. They understood that "the tree of Liberty is
watered with the blood of patriots."
That's why they stood and sang.
But what of this generation, and of the next? What are they being taught
about love of country? What are they being taught about the greatness of
America? How many of them will start each school day pledging their
allegiance to our flag, as most of us did? How many of them will learn the
proper way to respect her, and what she means and why patriotism is
And what of those who grow up learning that the flag is just one symbol
among many, just one point of view, not deserving of any special
recognition, dignity or respect? How will they reconcile the idea that we
prove our love for our nation's flag by allowing those who hate America to
desecrate it without penalty?
Twenty years from now, when another Rick Monday snatches a flag from someone
who is trying to burn it, will the crowd still sing "God Bless America," or
will it rise in anger because the game has been delayed?
It's certainly true -- as we've heard people say -- one person burning a
flag, or urinating on it, or defecating on it, or trampling it under his
feet, will not harm Old Glory. But it's not true that no harm is done.
The harm is done if the American people fail to respond to such vile and
hurtful conduct. The harm is done only if, by our apathy, we condone the
defiling of the banner that has draped the caskets of our American heroes.
Edmund Burke once said: "The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is
for good men to do nothing."
Failure to protect our flag by law is not a celebration of liberty; it is
the celebration of evil. A great nation cannot preserve its greatness by
turning a blind eye and a deaf ear to that which is wrong, to that which is
destructive, to that which is immoral and evil.
What harm does it do to burn a flag?
Over time it destroys the very fabric of our nation. It undermines the
goodness that makes us great; and it ensures that future generations will
not stand and spontaneously sing "God Bless America" because they will not
know that - once -- God did.
Daniel S. Wheeler is the President of the Citizens Flag Alliance, Inc., and
the Executive Director of The American Legion National Headquarters in
As all prison reformers welcome Federal receivership, of this
highly troubled prison health care system, many more inmates are still dying
as we wait. This obvious dismal medical negligence, still persists. The
Department of Corrections, denies good Doctor's requests, and threatens
them, so they can remain silent. The guards create medical conditions,
through abuse and torture of inmates, which produces the out of control
medical guarding-costs !! The guards deny basic medical treatment &
medication for inmates who suffer from life-threatening illnesses. The
guards have no business, playing Doctor or Nurse. No wonder some inmates
commit suicide!! Torture does not reduce crime! It is a definite crime in
itself ,which causes crime to rise, because people who have been tortured
never get over it. Luckily,if they do come out of this pit of hell, funded
by our tax dollars, would you want them, as your next door neighbor ?? The
system does not care, about our safety!! If they cared, this abuse and
torture would not exist, as it is now. They abuse prisoners, knowing, darn
well, they will be thrown out into society,with worst problems !!! We the
People pick up the tab, torture business as usual !!!
Alexis Endurance,San Francisco, Calif.
United for No Injustice Oppression or Neglect
Op-ed: Flag Amendment Fixes Constitution
By Patrick H. Brady
As we near a Senate vote on the flag amendment, which passed the
House for the sixth time June 22, the hysteria in the media runs wild. They
fear it could pass and, in their frenzy, they distort the facts. From recent
radio and TV interviews, it is clear to me that many of them have not read
the amendment and do not understand its purpose or impact. Tragically, they
mislead their audience and are blatantly unfair to the truth. As an aside,
many of those who fight for the right to desecrate the symbol of our country
are outraged at the desecration of the symbol of many terrorists. Let's look
at the truth.
Many in the media support flag desecration as free "expression."
One need only think of the many types of expression to know why the Founders
wisely eschewed that word. Some, in desperation to fit their objections into
the First Amendment, use the word "speech" in contradiction of the
dictionary and in defiance to reason.
Sixteen years ago 90 Senators voted for a statute to protect the
flag after the Supreme Court, in Texas v. Johnson, took that right away.
Those Senators could not have so voted if they believed flag desecration was
constitutionally protected speech. Three of four Americans, all 50 states and
over 70 percent of the Congress agree that desecrating the flag is not
Critics say the amendment protects the flag and changes the Bill
of Rights. It does neither, and this is important to understand.
The flag amendment says: "The Congress shall have power to
prohibit the physical desecration of the flag of the United States." An
amendment, of itself, does not protect the flag. It simply takes control
over the flag away from the courts and returns it to the people where it
resided until 1989. Once the amendment is ratified, and only then, can a law
be passed to protect the flag. This point is fundamental for those Senators
who seek a statute to protect Old Glory. They can have a statute, but only
after an amendment is ratified by the people.
As for changing the Bill of Rights, consider this. By judicial
fiat, with a single vote from one Supreme Court Justice, flag desecration
was inserted into the Bill of Rights. If you deny this, then answer this
question: If the Court had declared that flag burning was not speech, would
they then have amended the Bill of Rights?
One pundit feared the amendment would curtail the rights of
those who hate us. There are no laws against hating, but there are laws
against hateful conduct. Flag burning fits both roles. But this is about
rights, the right of the people to protect their flag, the right of the
majority to rule, the right of the people to define their Constitution. And
beyond the flag, this issue spills over into the right to protect our
children from pornography, the right to own property, to pray, to post the
Ten Commandments, and to say the Pledge of Allegiance.
If we can recapture our flag, we will have begun a march to
recapture our Constitution.
Retired U.S. Army Maj. Gen. Patrick H. Brady is a recipient of the
Congressional Medal of Honor, credited with the medical evacuation of over
5,000 combat casualties while serving as a "Dustoff" helicopter pilot during
the Vietnam War. He is Chairman of the Board of the Citizen's Flag
Alliance, a coalition of more than 140 civic, fraternal, veterans, minority
and business organizations representing some 20 million Americans.
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