Killing someone is more than a 'mistake'
I agree with Clark Thompson's letter to the editor, "Accused killer stopped being a boy long ago
" (Star-Bulletin, June 23). Thirteen years ago a 16-year-old, driving a large pickup truck with wet wood in the bed, crashed into the back of our car, which was stopped in traffic, Besides cuts, bruises, broken bones and a concussion, my 12-year-old son lost his 7-year-old sister. We were devastated by her death.
The prosecuting attorney told us that the "boy" was a juvenile and he made a "mistake." Had he been an adult, he would have been charged with vehicular homicide. The prosecutor also stated that we needed to "overlook" this and give the boy a chance.
This "boy" is now 29 years old and is a wanted felon (conversion, theft and revocation of probation). Did he learn a lesson? He didn't get a ticket, lose his license or go on probation. Nothing. He learned that he could use the system and he actually got away with murder.
If he has the same right to drive as an adult, then he should have been held as accountable as an adult. Our only saving grace was our faith in God and the fact that we donated her organs so that others could have a second chance at life.
Rae Ann Reichert
Waimanalo and Peru, Ind.
Local Filipinos served with famed battalion
Laurie Au's article about a hapa nisei was interesting (Star-Bulletin, June 25
). However, there are other non-niseis that served with the 100th Infantry Battalion. In particular a local Filipino, the late Alvin Planas, trained with Sen. Daniel Inouye at Camp Shelby. Planas, like Inouye, also received a battlefield commission, and was awarded the Silver Star and a Purple Heart. Some living members of the 100th still remember him. In fact, his widow, Maria, and one son live in Honolulu.
Another Filipino who was featured in your paper years ago (also now deceased) was a B-17 pilot who received two Distinguished Flying Crosses while in Europe. Both of these Filipinos also volunteered for Korea. Planas served two tours of duty.
Smokers should be more considerate
There's an awful lot of dialogue concerning the smoking laws here in Hawaii, and otherwise across the nation. What is almost as concerning as the detrimental effects of smoking is the inability or unwillingness of some to simply try to be compassionate neighbors, parents, employers and so on.
I don't dispute anyone's right to smoke; if you choose to do so, that's your business. If it comes into my house occasionally, I will shut the doors and turn on the fan until it goes away. But it's not just your business if the smoke you create comes into my house repeatedly, and is inhaled by me, my family or my friends when we are inside, or if you smoke around someone (like your children) and they ask you to refrain. It seems like the neighborly or "good parent" thing to do would be to smoke somewhere where that isn't likely to happen. It isn't really that inconvenient to position yourself where your smoke won't blow in your neighbor's house or someone's face. Compare the inconvenience of walking down the block for a smoke versus not being able to breathe in your own home -- it's comparing apples to oranges.
There's a lot of talk in Hawaii about tolerance; on this issue it would be nice if both sides exercised some.
Overriding vetoes costly to taxpayers
All members of the Legislature were required to take an oath to "support and defend the Constitution of the state of Hawaii." It seems that some legislators, however, see this oath as merely a motion to go through on the way to power, as opposed to a legitimate promise.
A number of bills Gov. Linda Lingle cited as possible vetoes (Star-Bulletin, June 26) were included because they were found unconstitutional by the attorney general. By overriding these vetoes, legislators subject the state to unnecessary court battles and a driveling away of taxpayer dollars.
I guess when you're as high and mighty as the Legislature, unconstitutionality is a small hurdle to overcome, tax dollars are of little value and trust is an expendable virtue.
Political ads shouldn't be gagged, either
Wednesday's opinion by the Star-Bulletin regarding the Supreme Court's recent ruling
protecting political speech rights manages to both enlighten and confuse.
The opinion rightly notes that "The principle of free speech justifiably trumps restrictions on political activism" and "restricting expenditures by unions and corporations can be regarded as gagging speech."
How, then, can the Star-Bulletin possibly justify further regulations that restrict political activism and gag speech? Demanding that television stations not be allowed to air such ads is just as much a violation of First Amendment political rights as the rule the Supreme Court struck down.
One hundred years of regulations and limits on who can participate in politics have left the United States with a system that protects incumbents, suppresses the First Amendment political rights of citizens and amplifies some preferred voices while silencing others.
Instead of calling for more regulations to stifle speech, the Star-Bulletin should be advocating for less regulation and more speech.
Center for Competitive Politics
Board of Advisers
Grassroots Institute of Hawaii
Politicians should keep Christianity private
There already has been a letter
correcting Bill Prescott's alarming claim (Letters, June 25
) that it was Christians who supplied the Ten Commandments. But he also needs to be told that the Founding Fathers only agreed to include "endowed by our Creator" in the Declaration of Independence under pressure from New Jersey delegate Rev. John Witherspoon, because Jefferson, the declaration's author and not a Christian, didn't share that view.
He should also know that "In God We Trust" was not placed on our money until the Civil War, and only because religious conservatives were demanding it be done. Our Founding Fathers had nothing to do with that travesty.
Further, contrary to his contention, lots and lots of people regularly criticize not just the above, but also those conservatives in Congress who added "under God" to our pledge of allegiance in the 1950s.
Since all of his comments were meant to justify Lt. Gov. Duke Aiona's use of his office as a religious bully pulpit, I suggest his arguments fail. Indeed, if Aiona wants to be a preacher, he should leave public office and take up that career. I want elected officials who see to the workings of government, not who try to dictate our spiritual lives.
Editor, DaKine magazine