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Wednesday, July 30, 2014
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Published: Wednesday, 3/21/2001

Clemency petition for teen is premature

Tiffany Eunick was 6 years old. Her assailant was twice her age and more than three times her weight. He amused himself by throwing her around the room and against the wall, allegedly practicing “holds” that he had seen on televised professional wrestling.

What do you suppose the little girl was thinking while he tortured her? Did she sob as she asked him to stop? Did she ask why he was doing these things to her? Did she scream in pain at her broken rib and internal injuries? Did she call for help, knowing that there was an adult upstairs in the house? We can only hope that she mercifully lost consciousness when he fractured her skull.

Even the defense's medical witnesses testified that her ordeal went beyond childish horseplay.

And now Amnesty International, the NAACP, and the Center on Juvenile and Criminal Justice want Lionel Tate's life-sentence commuted. He might, they say, yet lead a useful life.

Ri-i-i-ght! And so might Tiffany have done, but she won't get a chance, because Lionel Tate killed her.

The time to consider commutation of Mr. Tate's sentence is about 25 years from now, after he has proved to be a model prisoner, earned the GED equivalent of at least a high school education, and learned some vocation more useful than throwing little girls against walls.

Meantime, the clemency petition to Gov. Jeb Bush is premature. One hopes that he will tell the meddlers to butt out of Florida's business, and instead see what they can do to ban violence and brutality from television.

Or would that interfere with the wrestling promoters' right of commercial free speech?

ROBERT G. MORRIS

Manchester Boulevard

A recent letter equated the ban on smoking to a ban on coughing or sneezing. Smoking is a totally voluntary act, while coughing and sneezing are not. I can sit at a table across from someone sneezing and coughing and still be able to enjoy the smell and taste of my meal.

I can also leave the area and not smell of “cough” or “sneeze.” The same cannot be said of smoke. I have never come home from bowling to have people ask me if I've been sneezing or coughing.

A number of years ago while in Key West I purchased a perfume called “Black Coral.” Somehow in the shop it didn't seem all that strong. I wore it a few times and heard people around me complain that it was unpleasant to be around.

Now I had paid good money for the perfume and I certainly had the right to wear it wherever and whenever I wished, but in good conscience I had to weigh my right to wear the perfume against the rights of all the other people who found it offensive.

How would I feel if I were trying to eat a meal and had to smell something offensive at the next table?

How would I feel if the odor I found distasteful were in my hair and clothing after leaving? I could come to only one conclusion. It would be wrong of me to impose my perfume on others.

Smokers can smoke outside, in their homes, and in the homes of friends, etc. No one is saying they can't smoke. Just that they respect the rights of those not wishing to partake with them.

SHARON CURRENT

Grand Rapids

Just wondering where the March 9 letter writer who stated that “... more germs and diseases are spread by coughing, sneezing, handshaking, and kissing than by second-hand smoke” gets his medical statistics.

Last I heard, there is pretty sound evidence that second-hand smoke causes cancer and emphysema, as well as other respiratory diseases. It is also highly offensive and severely irritating to those who are either sensitive to or allergic to cigarette and/or cigar smoke, not to even mention the danger it poses to infants and small children. Maybe the writer should conduct a survey of those who need oxygen tubes in their nose on a daily basis to see if they'd rather risk a hand shake, a kiss, or a good puff of second-hand smoke.

I agree that we don't need more liberalism or bigger government, and I'm certainly not advocating a ban on smoking or a ban on coughing and sneezing as the writer facetiously suggests, but let's get real about the facts and the evidence that's been presented to us.

Perhaps those who find second-hand smoke offensive should be allowed to enter restaurants and other public places carrying canisters clearly marked “toxic waste” while slowly releasing the contents into the room. Anyone find that offensive? Maybe all of us voluntarily being more mindful of how our actions affect others, whether it's sneezing or coughing or smoking, would be a better solution than more government intervention.

MARIA STEVENS

Autumn View Court

I read with delight your editorial commending Willie Lee and others for being pioneers in declaring their restaurants no-smoking. My husband and I have been a customer of Eddie Lee's since it opened and we, too, would like to congratulate Willie for his courage.

I believe business owners should be the deciding factor in determining whether to allow smoking. Customers can make the decision to patronize or not, thus eliminating the need for another unenforceable law.

MARCIA SIEMENS

Bristol Court

I never know where to begin my disagreements with your positions. There are so many. Your opinion expressed in “Tuning in the Tigers” is a good example.

Should I say who cares if we can't hear the Tigers? (I haven't been able to hear my Cincinnati Reds without high-gain electronics for years.)

Or, should I be disappointed when you, who own and operate a computer Internet service connection, say the only way to hear the Tigers is through high-gain electronics to pull in FM stations? So little time, so many disagreements.

W.E. HODGES

Sylvania

On many points I agree with a recent Forum letter writer regarding the rights of students bringing their concerns to the attention of school authorities. However, the honor students at Scott High School should know that disrupting and embarrassing the administration and school as they presented their grievances was not appropriate.

When did it become policy that students determine what time they report for class? If a class beings at 10 a.m. is it permissible to be allowed into the class at 10:15 a.m.? How about if a student can only get to class for the last five minutes?

And could we please dispense with the term “lock down”? Why shouldn't restrictions be put on students who can't manage to get to class? When a student is late for class, he or she is tardy. Maybe after some trips to the principal's office the many disruptions the teachers endure every day will lessen. And are we forgetting the safety aspects of getting the students into class and keeping out strangers?

The Forum writer prompting my response seemed a bit arrogant in judging what might be excessive and inequitable suspensions. Should school policy again be amended, in the spirit of democracy, so that students make these difficult determinations?

I believe in mutual respect. Students respect and depend upon consistency. When the guidelines are clear and the rules fair, they will respect authority. In any public school, the primary goal of the student should be to take full advantage of the privileged paid for in part by their parents' tax dollars.

G. YOAST

Holland-Sylvania Road

Aren't we the government?

Our President says that the surplus belongs to the people, not the government. Silly me! I thought that the government was the people. It's a shame that the government “of the people, by the people, and for the people,” has finally perished from the earth.

MARGARET GREGORY

Sylvania



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