to the Editor

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Thursday, May 24, 2001

Idled police vehicles decrease public safety

Police Chief Lee Donahue's decision to pull all 80 Go-4s temporarily out of service may be putting the public's safety at risk. Pending warranty repairs to their vehicles, Honolulu police are driving cars brought in from other districts, thereby decreasing police coverage in those areas.

Though Donahue's loyalty to his officers is an encouraging contrast to the recent Marines Corps/Osprey scandal, the deliberate non-use of 80 police vehicles is an unacceptable sacrifice of public safety for the sake of the police.

With only one Go-4 accident resulting in minor injuries, the risk is low. If, through a neighboring district's inability to respond to a crime, something more serious happens to a victim, who would bear the responsibility?

Protecting the well-being of our police officers should definitely remain a priority, but it should not be paramount in importance. It is a police officer's duty to risk personal safety to protect the public. That is what makes them heroes.

Bryan Langley


"This movie has the potential to rekindle the hatred that misguided individuals and organizations traditionally have directed at AJAs."

Clayton Ikei,
Spokesman for the Honolulu Chapter of the Japanese American Citizens League, on the public reaction to the movie "Pearl Harbor," which opens to general audiences tomorrow.

"It's senseless. He just beat it until it was gone."

Maggie Hirakawa,
Honolulu police detective, on the destruction of the statue of St. Augustine displayed in front of St. Augustine Church in Waikiki. Witnesses say they saw a man smashing the century-old statue with a copper pipe in the early-morning hours of May 13.

Sorry that Hawaii was afflicted with Affleck

If only Ben Affleck could act, then perhaps all the buzz over the film "Pearl Harbor" might have been justified. Nothing he has done so far in previous roles suggests he has anything going for him but his native hunkiness and possibly one and a half emotions.

Sorry your city had to endure the embarrassment of being the site of the world's most expensive film and the most wrong-headed premiere in film history. Good luck next time.

Robert Buxbaum
Newton, Mass.

Photo of dead pig was disturbing

It was extremely disturbing to see a picture of a (dead) snared pig in the May 21 Star- Bulletin. Seeing any kind of death to sell newspapers is objectionable. There was one thing glaringly missing and it was compassion for the life that once was and the fact that it suffered before dying.

Just because a being walks on four legs, grunts, cannot speak for itself and doesn't look like a human, should not diminish the fact that the being is capable of feeling fear and pain as well as love.

The actions of adults will no doubt affect the actions of children as they grow up trying to solve similar problems whether it involves animals or humans. It is a needless cycle of suffering. Why is it unthinkable to model compassionate ways of solving problems?

Jane Shiraki

'Merdeka' revises history of World War II

With the opening of "Pearl Harbor" it is interesting to take note of another newly released film commemorating this 60th anniversary of America's entry into World War II. "Merdeka" ("Independence") is now being shown to audiences throughout Japan so that, according to its director Yukio Fuji, the world may be presented with "a proper understanding of history."

The story tells of how "thousands" of liberty-loving Japanese troops remained behind in Indonesia to make things right for the native people rather than selfishly return to their homes in post-war Japan. And rather than portray the monstrous behavior of some of the emperor's troops, the film paints them in the highest moral tones of humanity.

Indonesian officials were aghast over the movie's grotesque inaccuracies and blatant 1930s-style propaganda. One scene had an Indonesian woman bowing tearfully on the ground and kissing the boots of a Japanese soldier in gratitude.

In truth, the troops of the period callously enslaved, raped and murdered tens of thousands of civilians throughout Indonesia, China, Korea, the Philippines and Southeast Asia.

Curiously, modern Japanese school texts continue in their defensive, non-apologetic tone for the cold-blooded carnage that was unleashed throughout Asia.

William Thomas Hall III

Bush's education plan is bound to fail

George W. Bush's education plan is the work of morons. This megamillion bag of tricks and red tape mandates that kids be distracted from their studies and bombarded with standardized tests, while principals create trucks full of statistics and comparative analyses. He then has the audacity to declare this a "reduction in bureaucracy."

His plan would reward schools that "close the gap," and reduce money to schools that fail to meet objectives. (More cash for the schools that need it the least!)

The people I know want school vouchers. A total of 71 percent of black families with children want them. Senate Democrats say they know better. They also say $23 billion more should go to keep kids trapped in rotten public schools (while 84 percent of congressmen shelter their offspring in private schools).

We spend 14 times more per student today than in 1920 (inflation adjusted), but Yale research shows reading levels stalled through 1970. OK, we'll spend more -- from $3,800 per student in 1970 to $6,900 in 1998 (adjusted). You guessed it. SAT averages dropped from 1049 in 1967 to 1017 in '98. No sane person can argue that more spending for more programs works. There are too many programs and too many administrators.

One way to spend money we haven't tried yet is paying people to teach kids. In 1970, the average teacher salary was $35,300 compared to $39,100 today. What does Bush's plan say about that? One sentence: Teachers can deduct $400 for out-of-pocket classroom expenses.

John Burbage

McVeigh's reasoning is understandable

Almost everyone condemns Timothy McVeigh for the Oklahoma City bombing, but they are oblivious to why he did it. He could become a martyr for the reasons behind his actions -- to take revenge for government acts at Ruby Ridge and Waco.

He concluded that our government officials were being too callous with human life. They close their eyes, mind and heart when they believe people are not complying with their rules. McVeigh thought surely the egregious Ruby Ridge and Waco would change government policy and that there would be an outcry by everyone. That never happened.

Outraged and disillusioned people did not answer the call to make a difference. It took someone like McVeigh, who had the guts to do what he did. But I regret that our government did not even blink.

Ken Chang

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