to the Editor

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Wednesday, March 3, 1999


System failed to heed a man crying for help

The tragic death of Mackey Feary questions the goal and competence of our justice system and those in charge of public safety. When Judge To'oto'o denied Feary's request to enter a residential program for his drug problem, he denied Feary the help he really needed.

What kind of opportunity do you give a drug offender by putting him back into the same environment without first giving him help? How sad to think that the person who knew what was best for Feary -- rehabilitation -- was Feary himself, not the judge.

Hawaii's public safety director, Ted Sakai, says that Feary showed no suicidal tendencies. Isn't a prior 1996 attempt an indication of suicidal tendencies? What about Feary's admittance of depression coupled with drug use? How much louder could he cry out for help before officials would listen?

And is it Feary's fault that budget cuts allow Halawa only one psychiatric worker instead of the recommended six?

No, Mackey Feary, your death is not in vain. I hope your cry might still be heard and enable others to get the same help you pleaded for. Unfortunately, the system failed you and, because of that, Hawaii has lost one of its most talented entertainers.

Tiare Barclay
(Via the Internet)

Nobody forced Feary to take illegal drugs

It's a tough call, and there are a lot of extenuating circumstances and facts that we don't know, but Mackey Feary's death cannot be blamed on the "system."

Nor was he put in prison because of taking drugs. He was ordered to prison for disobeying the law and for unlawful acts that our society feels are not normal or acceptable.

Feary took his own life rather than face years in prison without drugs. I feel for his family, but that was his decision, and we all have to live with it.

Any life lost to drugs and suicide is a tragic loss to our community. Mackey's suicide just happens to get more media attention because his life was very public.

Keith Haugen
(Via the Internet)

High school basketball is far from boring

Having read Joe Edwards' Feb. 17 column, and noting his adamant claim that ILH basketball is "not interesting to players and fans" because of low scores and patient tactics, I must assume that he has attended many of these games himself.

That being the case, I cannot understand how he could find the two Iolani-Punahou games played before turn-away crowds and incessantly screaming fans less exciting than a lopsided, over-in-the-first-quarter game.

Judging by the effort, intensity and reactions of players, I don't think that they found it uninteresting, either.

Edwards' criticism shows a fundamental lack of understanding of the purpose of high school athletics. Absent the ability to buy talent as colleges and professional teams do, high school sports try to teach young athletes to use discipline, hard work and team strategy to make themselves competitive with whatever talent that they have.

For all of us who appreciate that fact, and who frequent high school athletics, that makes low-scoring, close games much more enjoyable than showy, high-scoring blowouts.

James Kawashima



Bullet "I don't trust no one over there. I am sick of this."
-- Virginia resident Louise Ireland, the mother of Dana Ireland, who was murdered on the Big Island in 1991. Dana's parents are outraged over delays in prosecution of the case, and take no comfort in the fact that one suspect, Frank Pauline Jr., will finally face trial on June 14 in the courtroom of Judge Riki May Amano.

Bullet "Four suicides in two months is most definitely cause for concern."
-- Public Safety Chief Ted Sakai, who says Hawaii corrections officials will take "a hard look" at the way inmates are screened and processed after suicides at three of the state's eight prisons.

Bullet "This is not like mochi. This is something we have to have."
-- Attorney Gary Galiher, representing the state in its price-fixing lawsuit against oil companies, in response to the comparison that the cost of gas in Hawaii might be akin to mochi makers jacking up prices around New Year's Eve.

Fireworks sales generate much-needed revenues

Fireworks After reading the pro and cons of banning fireworks, I feel compelled to express my views in defense of their use. Although I personally do not use fireworks, I feel this is a rare opportunity for families to congregate and celebrate together. Many of them have limited leisure time and seldom have a chance to express their emotions.

With crime and the poor economy, we should make every effort to cooperate. I'm sure that the purchase and use of fireworks is one way of bringing revenues into a lagging economy.

Kazuo Kinoshita

Fireworks ban would spoil traditional celebration

The proposed fireworks ban must be stopped. I just can't see myself "ringing in" the new year with a little bell, a party hat and a noise maker. The new year needs to be welcomed with a bang -- of 10,000 firecrackers exploding in succession.

I know that some people believe fireworks are dangerous. I agree. After all, it's an explosive, isn't it? However, just because it's dangerous doesn't mean we should ban it. We just need to treat it with respect, just as we do a car or firearm.

Fireworks, if used the wrong way, can become extremely dangerous, as we've seen in the incidents at Campbell High School.

We are quick to say that banning fireworks could have prevented these bombs and future incidents from happening. But are fireworks the real root of the problem?

I don't think so. We need to look at other areas: the students themselves, their morals, and their parents and friends, for starters.

Fireworks are ingrained in the people and culture of Hawaii. I've heard many stories of locals going up to the mainland to visit relatives during the New Year's holiday and just hating it because of the lack of firecrackers.

Every New Year's Eve, my family strings up a long strand and, at the stroke of midnight, we light 'em up: BANG! BANG! Not ring, ring!

Lance Shinsato

Fireworks online vote results

Education warrants more news attention

Local coverage of educational events and achievements is disappointing. If education is truly a priority, why don't the media reinforce this by devoting more space and newscast time to educational news?

I challenge your newspaper to devote one-third of a page, once a week (less than 1 percent of your sports coverage), on recognizing excellence in education. The format could be similar to your Scorecard in the sports section.

You could include results from the Oahu Math League, speech and debate tournaments, writing contests, music competitions, chess tournaments, art contests, the Math Bowl, Science Bowl, Geography Bee, Model U.N., Math Counts, scholarships, etc. Individual schools and organizations would be responsible for sending the information to the newspaper.

This coverage would foster pride in the students, as well as in their families and schools. Take the lead and show that excellence in education is worthy of media attention!

Michael Park

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