Walkers and drivers need to be careful
As both a driver and a pedestrian, I have a few observations about the ongoing dialog about crosswalk safety. When driving, I slow to a near-stop when approaching a crosswalk and carefully look in both directions before proceeding; indeed, I always stop to allow pedestrians to safely cross. As a pedestrian, when entering a crosswalk I look in both directions and make certain that the driver of an approaching car indeed sees me before I proceed. Most drivers are very courteous. What I have observed in both sets of circumstances are the pedestrians who rush to cross the street without looking in either direction or without taking the physical circumstance into account. Out-of-touch pedestrians on their cell phones are particularly aggravating.
Here I would admonish the woman in a wheelchair who recently stormed into the crosswalk in front of my car. I could not see her because of her low profile and the blinding 5 p.m. sun in my eyes. Oblivious to the circumstances and without exercising an ounce of common sense, she rushed into the crosswalk on a very busy street, waving her arms and shouting loud obscenities at me. Fortunately, I was moving slowly and was still a distance away.
Great caution and simple common sense being exercised by drivers and pedestrians could prevent many accidents.
Those who drive for a living are the worst
Living and working in Waikiki, every day I walk a gauntlet. Why? Shuttle buses, taxis, limos ... every day I have to dodge them. I wait at street corners for the walk light to turn in my favor. Yet all the professional drivers immediately run through lights, make the right turn on red without waiting for pedestrians to clear the street, and honk and yell at pedestrians.
The intersection of Kuhio Avenue and Paoakalani Street is especially dangerous. The large number of tour buses and taxis using that intersection make it very dangerous. But I'm guessing that because these are "professional" drivers they are overlooked for their misdeeds.
I have made it a point to write down the names of these companies, and recommend to my guests at the hotel where I work not to use these companies for any of their tours, as they employ and promote unsafe driving practices.
Editorial jumped gun on hate-crime ruling
Wednesday's Star-Bulletin editorial
stated, "Waikele beating does not meet hate-crime standard." That is a conclusion of law which, under our state and federal systems of justice, cannot be finally decided except by an impartial tribunal after hearing the witnesses, considering other relevant evidence, hearing the arguments of both sides, finding the facts and then applying the law.
The facts as reported by the Star-Bulletin on Feb. 22 certainly establish probable cause that a hate crime was committed. See the "Corky's Hawaii" cartoon (Star-Bulletin, Feb. 25), which is better than a thousand words.
The next step is for the Honolulu prosecutor and the U.S. attorney to proceed with the hate-crime charges, one in state court and the other in federal court, and let the judicial process determine what behavior is or is not acceptable in the state of Hawaii and the United States of America.
H. William Burgess
War veteran deserves our aloha, not abuse
Regarding the beating in the Waikele parking lot last week (Star-Bulletin, Feb. 22
), what might not be emphasized enough is that the victim is a protector of our country, a war veteran hero.
We must rally and give maximum support to the couple and show them our aloha they deserve anyway, but especially after the vicious crime committed.
Drug addiction column erred on the data
Research data attributed to the Treatment Research Institute have been erroneously quoted by state Rep. Rida Cabanilla in her "Gathering Place" column "Triple threat helps loosen meth's icy grip on addicts," Star-Bulletin, Feb. 27
Cabanilla refers to a September 2006 briefing conducted for state legislators from around the country discussing the impact of substance abuse on public health and safety. TRI's remarks were completely misinterpreted. The facts in that briefing were that very high proportions of those who are arrested and convicted of many crimes also use drugs.
But that is quite different from what was printed -- that among drug abusers (about 10-15 percent of the population), very high proportions are arrested and convicted of crimes. In fact, the great majority of individuals with drug problems have not been arrested or charged with crimes.
Although the mistake is common and not malicious, it seriously misrepresents the nature of substance abuse and substance abusers in this nation and needs to be corrected.
With regard to the Prometa protocol for methamphetamine addiction, which was a subject of the column, TRI has not evaluated the effectiveness of this proprietary product. In fact, we are not aware of any evidence for its effectiveness from any placebo-controlled study -- the type of studies that are required by the Food and Drug Administration for approval of new medications. Such trials are necessary for a determination of effectiveness and thus we cannot comment responsibly on the value of that product.
A. Thomas McLellan
Chief executive officer
Douglas B. Marlowe
Director, Section on Law and Ethics
Treatment Research Institute