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Wednesday, Jan. 9, 2008 11:33 pm

Letters to the Editor

Untitled Document We welcome letters. Please include your full name, address, and telephone number. We edit all letters. Send them to Letters, Illinois Times, P.O. Box 5256, Springfield, IL 62705; fax 217-753-3958; e-mail editor@illinoistimes.com.
FATHER DOESN’T KNOW BEST I think Terry Young of Springfield may be misplacing his anger when he criticizes the clerk of the court for his exclusion from the courtroom where Mr. Young’s daughter’s speeding ticket was adjudicated [“Letters,” Jan. 3]. Mr. Young’s desire to see his daughter take responsibility for her error is admirable, but I see the court’s policy that she deal with the police, the judge, and the state’s attorney on her own as a positive influence. Does it not stand to reason that if she is old enough to drive unsupervised, she is also old enough to suffer the consequences of bad driving unsupervised? Does Mr. Young intend to hold her hand through every future traffic citation for which she has to answer? What if the next traffic citation comes as part of a fatal car accident, with whose consequences Mr. Young’s daughter will be haunted for the rest of her life? I am not proud that I have never had a ticket or an accident, but I believe that the reason is that I take driving seriously, just as did my father. In fact, my father took driving so seriously that if I had received a speeding ticket while living in his house I would not have operated a motor vehicle again until I had moved out of his house. The police, the judge, and the state’s attorney were the least of my concerns while driving a car belonging to my father. As onerous as his policy seemed at the time, my father taught me in no uncertain terms that driving is a privilege, not a right. The drivers about whom I whine seem to have it backward. My best advice to Mr. Young, to convince his daughter that driving responsibly is important, is to stay home while she walks or rides the bus to court to address the speeding citation. Let her pay the ticket, explain to the judge why she should suffer the minimum, and not the maximum, punishment, and pay for the entirety of her increased insurance costs. Because judges and state’s attorneys are often far too friendly in dealing with drivers’ first offenses, reminding the drivers that they routinely see 20th and 30th offenses which still have not cost the offenders their licenses (hence my whining), I fear that a novice driver’s first experience with traffic court is not sufficiently sobering and one more disincentive to drive recklessly is lost. I would therefore also recommend that Mr. Young demand that his daughter surrender her license and remove her from the family’s insurance policy for six months; her driving privileges are reinstated only after she has convinced her father that she will not receive a second citation. I fear that short of these eye-opening measures Mr. Young’s daughter will soon become one more reason for me to continue whining. (Four hundred drivers answering to traffic citations in one day in court? In one county? I’m obviously not whining nearly enough!) Eric Fisher Springfield
PUNKED BY THE JUSTICE SYSTEM Terry Young’s experience, being denied entrance into a Sangamon County courtroom, is not unusual at all [“Letters,” Jan. 3]. Last May my home was vandalized. The perpetrator was a 16-year-old punk and I was not allowed into the courtroom during any of the hearings, even though I was the victim and only witness.
State law is supposed to ensure the rights of victims to be present at all court hearings, but that law is ignored as a matter of policy by Sangamon County juvenile courts. I complained to the state attorney general’s office, but was told that the victims-rights laws have no enforcement provisions and there are no penalties if a judge disregards them. There is no possible rationale for denying me entrance into the courtroom during the hearings of the punk who vandalized my home. I knew who he was, where he lived, where he was supposed to go to school but never did, his mom’s name, and his phone number. I was the one who told the police who did it. Unlike the case with Terry Young’s daughter, the court was not very busy on those days. There were never more than four or five people in the hallway on any day that this punk had a hearing. So why was I denied entrance? I will never know. The judge just did not allow it. End of discussion. The punk in this case did plead guilty and agreed to restitution. I’m still waiting for my money.
Robert Huck

LET’S ALL WATERBOARD YOUR MAMA In recent issues of Illinois Times and the State Journal-Register there was discussion regarding whether it is OK for the U.S. to torture various captured Islamic revolutionaries, at Guantánamo or within the borders of cooperating nations such as Afghanistan, Egypt, Pakistan, or Eastern European countries. The “insurgents” in Iraq meet the definition of “revolutionaries,” as they are fighting against an occupying power. They can also be labeled “terrorists,” according to the most widely accepted definition. Bombing populations of cities also meets the criteria of the definition. It can be said too that all types of terrorism are condemned by the Christian book. Specifically in the words of Jesus: “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” It is just as certain that the Christian book permits acts of terrorism as provided by the instructions by Yahweh to Joshua (to paraphrase) “kill their men, their women and children and their cattle.” But maybe they kept the cattle. Sensible people prefer Jesus’ instructions on the matter. Some advance the idea that waterboarding is permitted, because unknown numbers of lives may depend on the information gained through torture. In the long history of torture, from ancient times to Abu Ghraib, one fact stands out: People under torture will disclose indiscriminately since their survival instinct will kick in. They will tell the torturer whatever they believe he or she wants. People under torture become highly inventive; they will spew out anything and everything possible. It is also useful to consider the question of torture in terms of concentric social circles, to wit: Is it OK to waterboard strangers? Is it OK to waterboard a president or a CEO? Is it OK to waterboard a TV celebrity or a member of Congress? Is it OK to waterboard the mayor of a big city or a state senator? Is it OK to waterboard the mayor of a central-Illinois city or a well-known powerbroker in politics? Is it OK to waterboard your pastor, priest, rabbi, or imam? Is it OK to waterboard your neighbor?
Your friends? Your family?
Ed Gutierrez-Perry
Pleasant Plains

LIBERALS DON’T NEED FACTS “Tax cuts for the rich” is part of the class-warfare mantra of today’s leftists. Yet never do they discuss the facts of this ideology of envy and hate of the successful, who are those who get rewarded for working harder and smarter to make and do the things we all want or need. The facts are that the richest 1 percent in the U.S. saw their share of the total U.S. income rise from 14 percent in 1990 to 21 percent in 2000 to 21 percent in 2005. But their share of the total U.S. income taxes paid rose from 25 percent in 1990 to 38 percent in 2000 to 39 percent in 2005. The richest 5 percent in the U.S. saw their share of the total U.S. income rise from 27 percent in 1990 to 35 percent in 2000 to 36 percent in 2005. But their share of the total U.S. income taxes paid rose from 44 percent in 1990 to 56 percent in 2000 to 60 percent in 2005. In summary then, doing the math, it would seem that in the 1990s, the bulk of which was under a Democratic president, the rich grew richer in a greater percentage than the taxes they paid. However, since the Bush tax cuts, the rich got only a little bit richer but in addition to continuing to pay the majority of income taxes they paid a lot more in taxes than they did previously. Also, the percentage of income taxes paid by the middle- and lower-income filers was reduced!
Seems liberals never let facts, sound logic, or reasoned conclusions get in the way of their ideology of envy and mythology of blame. Tom Rand Naperville
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