Readers ponder Kahealani's death
Kill hatemongers with doses of alohaI am so sorry that Fred Phelps and his Westboro group have decided to descend upon paradise (Star-Bulletin, Dec. 18). I am a Kansas native and have been to your islands and experienced the aloha that is an everyday occurrence in your beautiful place.
Phelps is a sorry part of our part of this world. I have seen him at 7 a.m. in a popular party district pronouncing that "fags burn in hell" and "die fag scum." He is hated by many people because he is so over the top. If he had any idea how things and people change over time, including religion and our own views of ourselves, he might just get a clue. But don't hold your breath.
I am not gay. I have a wife and two children, and I can tell you that I would rather live through the Great Depression or Nazi Germany than put up with the hysterics he and his group live and believe.
Do not use his tactics to get back at him. Instead, kill him with aloha. Meet him at the airport with a lei. Let him know that you respect his right to hold his view, but do not agree with it. The sooner he and his following get the point that we are all here to support each other, the sooner we get to the real truth -- that we are all we have -- the better off we will be, including Phelps.
Kansas City, Mo.
Bigots want to tarnish paradise of diversityI am appalled that members of the Westboro Baptist Church in Kansas are coming to Hawaii to spread their gospel of intolerance and hatred. The ignorance of these narrow-minded people is surpassed only by their arrogance. That they would dictate their personal standards of behavior to us, as a state and as a people, is an insult.
The extraordinary racial, ethnic, religious and lifestyle differences of Hawaii have made ours one of the most open and tolerant cultures in the world. This should be celebrated, not denigrated. These religious zealots disgrace themselves and their faith by labeling the tolerance and diversity of Hawaii as a sin.
The only bright side of this group coming to Hawaii is that we can now distinctively and decidedly separate ourselves from their ideology. These bigots should take a vacation here, but they should leave their moral baggage at home.
Phelps full of mindless sound and furyIt is with mixed emotion that we even bring attention to Fred Phelps and his ilk, as it only serves to feed their distorted egos and misguided belief that God hates America, homosexuals and an endless list of others who Phelps has personally determined are not worthy in God's eyes.
How could any sane person take pleasure in the senseless murder of Matthew Shepard and then declare that he deserved it for being gay, or state that the tragic events of Sept. 11 were God's vengeance on America for tolerating gay lifestyles?
A psychologist friend of mine opined that Phelps himself is probably a repressed homosexual unable to deal with his own internal desires and therefore has to create a fantasy world in which he can insulate himself from reality. As Shakespeare would have put it, "The lady doth protest too much."
It doesn't matter to me if Phelps is gay, straight, transgender or anything else, and I suppose it doesn't really matter which local group invited him to Hawaii to stir up trouble. Let's just hope, to use another line from Shakespeare, that people recognize him for what he is -- "an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing."
Social Justice Council member
First Unitarian Church of Honolulu
Give animals peace on Earth this ChristmasThe holiday season is viewed as the happiest time of the year. It conjures visions of families gathering by a warm fireplace, sharing their love, opening presents and feasting on turkeys and pigs.
But for the millions of factory-farmed turkeys and pigs hauled to slaughter for thousands of miles in freezing weather, the holiday season signifies misery, despair and death. Their agonizing death journey follows a lifetime of caging, crowding, deprivation, drugging and mutilation.
Each of us can refuse to subsidize this cruelty during this holiday season by choosing plant-based foods that abound in every supermarket. These include fresh fruits and greens and soy-based deli slices in the produce section, veggie burgers and nuggets and ready-to-eat dinners in the frozen food section, and a variety of soy milks, cheeses and ice creams.
This holiday season, let's begin spreading peace on Earth to all living things.
Regulate cruise ships visiting Hawaiian islesPeople who want cruise ships need to do their homework. Have they forgotten the history of our islands? What did ships bring to the Hawaiian islands other than disease and contract labor for the plantations? Those who work on cruise ships today are not Americans, but contract labor from Third World countries, just like our ancestors who had no rights from big corporations.
These big ships owned by American companies and carrying American passengers make billions of dollars a year by not paying federal income taxes. Meanwhile, the U.S. Department of Justice records their felony fines for fraudulent logbooks involving the dumping of raw sewage and toxic chemicals.
These floating cities have to dump their sewage, dry-cleaning chemicals, oily bilge water, pesticides, detergents and other waste products three to four miles offshore. Bad things can grow rapidly in our warm water.
Cruise ships must be regulated in our island waters.
Yes, it is nice to have visitors, but we are not the Third World and no one asked Molokai about the cruise ships. I urge the Molokai community to do its homework on cruise ships.
Hanabusa led fight against BronsterOne of the reasons letter writer Sean Lester supports Colleen Hanabusa to replace the late U.S. Rep. Patsy Mink is her "impassioned way of speaking" ("Hanabusa is natural successor to Mink," Star-Bulletin, Dec. 9).
Well, she must have been quite "impassioned" to rally her colleagues in the Senate to vote against the re-confirmation of former Attorney General Margery Bronster.
After all, Bronster had just completed an in-depth investigation of Kamehameha Schools and successfully brought about indictments against the trustees for mismanaging that school.
It's hard to believe, as Lester says, that Hanabusa can "pick-up Mink's legacy and carry it forward."
Mink's legacy will remain as compassionate, whereas the state senator's "impassioned way of speaking" is to enhance power -- her own.
District 2 needs neighbor isle leaderThe election in January is a chance for neighbor island people to stand up and get their own representative. I don't even know why people who don't live in the district are allowed to run. We need a congressman who has lived and worked in the district and who knows us and what we need.
John Carroll is the only serious candidate who is a true 2nd District leader. Let's send one of our own to Congress. Honolulu already has three federal legislators.
Zalina and Brandon Correa
Don't throw out religion and let homosexuals inI want to thank Brook Bone (Star-Bulletin letters, Dec. 17) for informing me and other readers of the truth about the "Discovering Your Sexuality" brochure that is being used as a teaching tool in our public schools.
The brochure does indeed promote homosexuality as a normal, natural and alternative lifestyle. It is wrong and does not belong in our schools.
Our tax dollars are being used to advance a concept that I and many others who constitute a majority do not believe in. Homosexuality is a choice of lifestyle and behavior, one that our students do not need to be confronted with in school.
If the Ten Commandments, which is a moral model for everyone regardless of religion or faith, cannot be displayed in public schools for fear that students will reflect upon and possibly obey them (words from the Supreme Court), then the concepts of homosexuality should not be taught either for the same reasoning.
Because of the myth of separation of church and state and past flawed court decisions, God or Christian values no longer get equal time in public schools.
However, atheists, Satanists, and now homosexuals are allowed free access to our children in a captive environment. Just as the separationists tell Christians to teach their Christianity at home or church, I say keep your gay agenda out of schools.
If homosexuality can be taught in public schools, then the creation story and the virgin birth should be taught right alongside it. Only then will we achieve true tolerance of each other's views and beliefs.
Problems with ERS aren't that surprisingThe problems the state auditor found relating to the state Employee's Retirement System don't sound far-fetched.
Our state government's overall financial shortfall affects the whole system.
From what the public already knows about state finances, Hawaii is broke! More money is going out than is coming in.
The Hawaii state retirement fund has been slowly bled to make up for other needed services.
The auditor's report is warning us. It's a wake-up call that the whole country should have heard even before the tragedy of 9/11.
Kent T. Tamura
Cross-burning isn't about free expressionThe Star-Bulletin should retract its Dec. 14 editorial on cross-burning.
Hoods and burning crosses and people hanging in death from trees are historical facts that do not sit well with Polynesian natives.
Were it not for our isolation and wise leaders, Hawaii would have had to tolerate and accept slave laborers.
Emancipation seemed to have required the revolting practice or symbol you call "freedom of expression." Who are you kidding?
Eleanor K. Locey
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Readers ponder girl's death
Jewelry make Kahealani a targetOur condolences and heartfelt sympathies are expressed for the family of Kahealani Indreginal. Our prayers also go out to the family of the alleged suspect Christopher Aki.
We are, however, overlooking one aspect of this sad case. Kahealani was apparently assaulted for her gold bracelets and chains. Adorning our daughters with gold and expensive jewelry is not a good practice and in some cases lacks common sense.
I am reminded of a former Miss Hawaii and Miss America who, while walking the streets of New York City, was assaulted for the diamond necklace she was wearing.
As a former law enforcement official here and on the mainland, I am reminded of cases I personally investigated where high school students lost fingers and hands because of the jewelry they were wearing.
I've seen some of our young people who look like walking pawn shops! We must ask, why would an 11-year-old living in public housing be wearing expensive gold bracelets anyway?
Anthony D. Harvey Sr.
Slaying suspect lucky he's not in TexasI was born and raised in Hawaii before marrying and moving away. I still have family members who live there, including my mother and brothers. I read the local newspapers daily online.
I have been following the Kahealani Indreginal story. Christopher Clayburn Aki's public defender has said that his $5 million bail is excessive given the fact that he and his family have no means to produce the money. The whole idea is to prevent Aki from leaving secure confines to again walk the streets after he allegedly committed such a heinous and unforgivable act against a defenseless 11-year-old girl. His reputation as a drug addict only worsens his predicament.
I have no sympathy for Aki, only his family. My heart pours out sympathy for the little girl and her family.
If this crime were committed in Texas or Florida or Tennessee, the perpetrator would almost certainly get the death sentence, if he was lucky enough to reach prison. And even if he got to prison, hardened criminals detest crimes against children. And incidentally, murder in Tennessee, where I now reside, carries no bail.
Prison cells are full of former church-goersRecent front-page articles on the Kahealani Indreginal tragedy have people stating that her accused murderer regularly attended church. They imply that this makes him a "nice" or "good" person.
Like the majority of Hawaii residents, I do not attend church. And like most people, I do not commit heinous acts.
Going to church does not make someone a better person; it is just an indicator of how he chooses to spend his Sunday mornings.
The public, the media and especially the justice system must stop using church attendance and religious belief as moral indicators. They are not.
The prisons are full of church-goers whose regular presence at a place of worship did not deter them from committing crimes. And the recent indications of widespread pedophilia in the Catholic Church show that even the most devout are capable of horrible atrocities.
Holly J. Huber
Without death penalty, public pays for crimeIn spite of the close proximity of Christmas, I must express my support for the death penalty in murder cases.
In the religion I follow, we understand that this shortens the time the actual matter is on the radar screen. In other words, the person who commits the murder pays for it in such an efficient manner that it is not necessary to prolong the payment into, as we believe, another life.
I am sure there are many who disagree with me, but in terms of the cost, it would certainly be less expensive to make the murderer pay for voluntarily taking a life by giving his own.
In any case, Christopher Clayburn Aki, who police say confessed to killing Kahealani Indreginal, will suffer in prison because God will arrange his fellow inmates to be very angry with him and inclined to act on their anger as soon as they can.
Prison will be no picnic for him, but taxpayers will be paying for it.
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