Readers Write 06/06

Response to “Options may unshackle budgets.” News, May 30

Thank you for creating awareness about the high costs of our prison system, and the cheaper (and more effective) alternatives. It’s hard to believe we would prefer to lay off teachers and increase class sizes to fund this system. Let’s hope our legislators and government officials have taken note. I hope your next article will be on effective and cost-saving strategies to prevent children from growing up to be criminals or substance abusers (for example, high-quality preschools and nurse home visitation for high-risk populations).

Joanne Klevens, Atlanta

Should we have freed ‘nonviolent’ Al Capone?

To those who want to let nonviolent criminals out of prison, I would like to ask: Would you have wanted Al Capone released? He was convicted of the nonviolent crime of tax evasion because that was what they could convict him of. He had a carefully crafted network around him to prevent his being caught for his violent crimes. Many of the “nonviolent” offenders in prison today are there because the prosecutors could make the nonviolent crime, primarily drug possession, stick — whereas conviction on the violent crimes are more problematic. There may be a few nonviolent offenders in prison, but most convicted of nonviolent crimes also commit crimes of violence. I, for one, am glad that they are off the streets.

Vernon Peppers, Atlanta

MILITARY

Wrong place to conduct a social experiment

To me (a retired Army officer), the comments of Cynthia Tucker and others, and the Mike Luckovich cartoon concerning possible repeal of “Don’t ask, don’t tell” are curious, to say the least (“‘Don’t ask’ repeal is honorable,” Opinion, May 30). 

Military service is not “just another job.” The armed services have a unique mission and culture, with requirements and features unlike any other in American society. Since the end of the draft, the number of citizens who have served has shrunk to the point where few in Congress and the population in general have any idea what military service is all about. 

President Barack Obama seeks to allow openly homosexual persons to serve in the military based on a misplaced sense of “fairness” and to pander for votes.

I harbor no ill will toward homosexual persons, but open love relationships in the ranks (whether homosexual or otherwise) are detrimental to good order, discipline and unit cohesion. We should not use our armed services for social experiments, or to secure votes. This is not “hate,” as some would characterize it, but an opinion based on experience. 

Edward A. Watkins, Lilburn

ENVIRONMENT

Obama should be angry about more than oil leak

President Barack Obama was reportedly enraged and heartbroken with the failure to shut off the flow of oil in BP’s well in the Gulf of Mexico. I’m not belittling the seriousness of the oil leak, but I sincerely wish that Obama was as enraged over serious issues that threaten all of us: the massive illegal invasion of Mexicans across our borders; the nuclear threat posed by hostile countries; and the continued massive deficit spending with the primary purpose of buying votes and taking care of Obama’s friends and supporters.

What really enrages and disheartens Obama is that the federal government has no solution — and that he can’t simply order some agency to stop the leak, or create some new bureaucracy to handle the matter. I don’t doubt that for someone like Obama (who thinks that government can solve all of our problems), this must be maddeningly frustrating.

Jim Chambers, Tucker

Can’t wait any longer for energy reform laws

In light of the worst environmental disaster in U.S. history (the BP oil spill), it’s more than evident that our senators must take action this year to reduce America’s dependence on oil.

This man-made nightmare is costing the U.S. millions of jobs and more in lost income, while threatening our shores, ocean ecology and sea life.

It’s critical for the U.S. Senate to pass comprehensive clean energy and climate legislation now — not in 2011 or 2012, but in 2010 — because we can’t afford any further delays to safeguarding our environment, economy and national security from further harm.

Carolyn Auger, Atlanta

IMMIGRATION

Obama jeers as invaders pour into this country

Some contend that there are 10 million illegal aliens in the United States. Some say there are 20 million. The hard truth is, we haven’t the foggiest notion as to the true number. But we should not lose sight that not all are Mexican or Hispanic. The undocumented come from all corners of the Earth, and are landing here by the millions and melding into the woodwork.

There can be little sane argument that our borders are not the most violated in the world. No other nation would sit still for such an invasion. We have in fact been invaded, conquered and occupied without the first shot being fired.

And what do we hear from those responsible for this breach of national sovereignty and loss of job opportunities for our citizens? As usual, there’s finger-pointing, carping and whining about Arizona’s attempt to go it alone in protecting their citizens. And from the windbag we have elected as our leader, we must witness jeering contempt for Arizona’s responsible legislation to curb this madness.

We can only pray that this man becomes a lame duck this November, and that his election to our highest office becomes a bitter memory that we can overcome in the decades ahead — but it is probably too late.

Felton Hudson, Stone Mountain

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