Saturday, January 12, 2002
Life in prison is worse fate than deathThank you for the Jan. 4 editorial calling for a halt to capital punishment. I have been against the death penalty since I worked in the office of Harriet Bouslog, the attorney for James Majors and John Palakiko, who were convicted and sentenced to hang for the 1948 slaying of 67-year-old Therese Wilder. (Their sentences were later commuted to life in prison.)
Even in the case of Oklahoma City bomber Timothy McVeigh, who committed a heinous crime, I think a better punishment would have been life in prison (in solitary confinement, preferably) than going out like a martyr for some who believed in his cause.
It's time our "civilized" country joined the other civilized countries where capital punishment is outlawed.
Does airline merger violate antitrust law?Last month we heard that Aloha Airlines and Hawaiian Airlines plan to merge. The media portrayed this as a done deal, showing photos of the two CEOs of the airlines along with Greg Brenneman, the new boss of the new monopoly. This was followed by some letters to the editor pointing out that the merger would hurt both the employees of these airlines and the public who will be forced to pay higher airfares.
What is missing from this discussion is the position of our supposed protectors of the public interest: State Attorney General Earl Anzai and the federal Justice Department. I'm no expert on antitrust law, but it doesn't take an expert to read Section 480-7 of the Hawaii Revised Statutes, which prohibits any merger that will "substantially ... lessen competition or ... tend to create a monopoly in any line of commerce in any section of the State."
There's no question that this merger will violate this law, so why haven't we heard of any action by Anzai or by our federal agencies to stop this new monopoly?
"There are bigger dealers, but the reason this stood out so much was that this was an 18-year-old kid selling in this amount." Keith Kamita
State Narcotics Enforcement administrator, on the arrest of three people -- two 18-year-old men and one 20-year-old man -- on suspicion of distributing the drug Ecstasy. One of the 18-year-old suspects, who lives with his parents in Hawaii Kai, allegedly sold 200 Ecstasy tablets a week during the past year. Narcotics agents seized his 2001 Honda Prelude, which they believe was purchased in part with money from drug sales.
"We are waiting to die. If food does not come, if the situation does not change, we will eat this ... until we die." Ghalam Raza
Resident of the village of Bonavash in the remote Abdullah Gan region of Afghanistan, where people have been forced to eat bread made from grass after suffering three years of drought and a Taliban siege. Bonavash is a 412-hour donkey ride through the mountains from Zari, where the International Rescue Committee is distributing sacks of wheat to hungry Afghans.
Those who label others are the bigotsYou have published numerous letters that label as "bigots" people who oppose same-sex marriages or who believe homosexual behavior is immoral. However, real bigotry is when we fail to take into account a person's behavior and moral character.
Obviously a person who is against a particular behavior because he considers such behavior to be immoral is not a bigot. If we accept the conclusion that a person is a bigot because he is against a behavior that has been considered immoral throughout our history, this opens the door to calling a person a bigot for being against any immoral or wrong behavior. Are we bigoted because we are against adultery, stealing or suicide? Of course not.
Real bigotry is expressed by those letter writers who use the terms "conservative," "fundamentalist" and "Christian" in a derogatory way. They are saying that we should not judge these people as individuals according to their behavior and character, but rather by their political or religious labels. Unfortunately, the mass media, including this newspaper, have slowly been infected by such bigotry and misunderstand what bigotry really means.
The Star-Bulletin welcomes letters that are crisp and to the point on issues of public interest. The Star-Bulletin reserves the right to edit letters for clarity and length. Please direct comments to the issues; personal attacks will not be published. Letters must be signed, must include a mailing address and daytime telephone number.