Child who died in fall was not 'left alone' on hotel balcony
It is with great sadness and a huge hole in my heart that was made ever so slightly larger by the inexcusable assumptions and accusations made by Shawn Lathrop from Kaneohe, regarding the horrific death of my son, Samuel Shpigler ("Boy's father should take responsibility," Letters, Jan. 9
). We owe nobody an explanation, but I will say that if you are going to make a statement, especially a public one, get your facts straight first.
Nobody "let a 3-year-old boy play on a balcony eight stories up while being supervised by his 6-year-old brother." One must assume that Shawn follows his children to the bathroom and sits in the same room with them the entire time they are playing and never lets them go into their bedrooms while he is in the kitchen.
My children walked from one room into the other (we had adjoining rooms) while I was changing in the changing area and my husband was using the bathroom. If there is one person on the face of this earth who can tell me to my face, with their hand on the Bible, that their children are in their sight 100 percent of the time, I will tell them they are lying. It is just not humanly possible.
The fact is, our eyes were off those children for no more than two or three minutes -- unfortunately just long enough for them to unlock the balcony door, step outside and have my life and the lives of my children changed forever. I look at beautiful pictures of my four children, pictures that from this day forward will now only include three of them. I don't know who Shawn Lathrop is, but I feel so sorry for him. I pray that God will forgive him. His letter was cruel; it poured just a little more salt in a very raw wound.
FYI: By current code standards those balcony railings are too far apart. No one is blaming, just stating facts: If those railings were up to code, I would be able to walk into Sammy's room right now and look at his perfect, sweet, innocent face, but they are too far apart and my baby is now an angel in heaven. When we checked into the hotel, do you know what they gave us? A key to the snack bar, but no key to the balcony door.
I pray to God that no one, not even Shawn, should ever have to bury their child; there are just no words to describe it.
Stop glorifying stars' bad behavior
I am dumbfounded why society stigmatizes unwed, particularly teenage, mothers, yet treats movie stars who engage in the same behavior as exalted idols. Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie certainly do not deserve the attention they are getting and will get for their irresponsible behavior. I suppose society uses the same reasoning when the most critical people of our society, such as teachers and doctors, are paid far less than some self-centered, spoiled athletes who feel they are above the rules of the game, as well as the law of the land.
I urge parents to ensure their children have their priorities straight and are entrenched in reality, and I don't mean reality TV!
Wiretapping offers permanent safety
Wendy Pollitt's letter quoting Benjamin Franklin and how she threw up her hands about the NSA "scandal" requires rebuttal (Letters, Star-Bulletin, Jan. 10).
She is appalled at the "sheer numbers it sucked in"; she reads the headlines "American citizens being spied upon" and ignores the reality that it is "suspected terrorists are secretly wire-tapped." She doesn't seem to realize that this is required to combat the real danger we are facing; we are being told we are in a war on terror. In a war civil liberties don't protect us, they only give aid and comfort to the enemy. In a war for survival on our own grounds it's "no holds barred" -- scratch, kick, bite, gouge.
Mulling over her use of Benjamin Franklin's quotation, I find her application of it to be faulty. His criticism, given in plain language, is of those who gain a little safety only temporarily, a well-placed criticism because logically that means it is still dangerous the rest of the time! The wiretaps along with all sorts of intelligence activities (hopefully well-kept secrets after this; we shouldn't be informing the enemy of all our moves to combat them!) are to gain safety permanently.
Do Democrats care about working poor?
I've been hearing about what the Democrats in the Legislature plan to do, but I hear nothing about any plans they might have to reduce the taxes on the working poor. Don't they care about the working poor?
It would be so simple -- with the huge state budget surplus -- to increase the standard deduction on the state income tax. And it would be simple to take the excise tax off of food and medicine. To paraphrase our governor, why tax people for being sick? And here in Hawaii, the cost of food is a crushing expense for low-income people. Do the Democrats in the Legislature represent all the people, or just the rich? If they represent all the people, they should have it as a high priority to remove taxes from those who are struggling because of low incomes. But frankly, I'm not seeing that now.
I appeal to every Democrat in the Legislature: Look at this situation, and see if some tax relief is necessary for the low-income people in Hawaii. Show us that your concern for the "little guy" is real, and not just campaign talk. Show us that you will walk the talk, and give us tax relief.
Editorial gave Sharon too much credit
Generally speaking, people have short and selective memories, but the press should not encourage this. Your Jan. 7 editorial was just such a case.
Ariel Sharon, just because he is at death's door, is suddenly a man of peace? This man, who was not that long ago called "The Butcher," has continued on with his practices of persecuting the Palestinians. So, he gave back Gaza! So what? He has allowed the Palestinians back on to their own land, without any sovereign control over that land or its air space or seashore; with no control over electricity or water rights. Gaza is nothing but another open-air prison, like the other "bantustans" that have been created on the West Bank by "the apartheid wall" by the man of peace, with American taxpayers' money.
This is a man of peace? I don't think so.
Elected officials must be held accountable
The November edition of Applied Animal Behavior Science contains a study based upon observations of 15 two-year-old grazing cows, which revealed that cows choose leaders based on intelligence, confidence and experience. Wouldn't it be great if we humans used the same criteria in choosing our own leaders?
The findings indicate that cows follow leaders who are more adept intellectually and socially as opposed to those who exhibit "bullying, selfishness, size and strength." Think about who our leaders are, both locally and nationally, and then decide if they display the same strengths and abilities as the bovine leaders.
Are you satisfied with the behavior and choices made by your elected officials? Have they enacted legislation that you support? Perhaps in a few cases, but overall, they have done a pitiful job of "leading" our city, state and nation.
Please don't give up on the democratic process; please exercise your right to vote. But don't vote for someone merely because you recognize his or her name, or because they have been in office for a long time. Demand more from our elected officials. If they haven't acted in our best interests, if they haven't been accountable, give them the boot. Let's clean house and send them a message: Carry out the will of the people, or get lost.