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Published: Sunday, 6/4/2006

Death penalty reflects Ohio's blood thirst

I am bemused by the many deep thoughts being offered by Ohioans on the practice of executing criminals who have committed horrible crimes. I am a citizen and resident of Ohio and have been for about 20 years. However, my first 30 years were spent in Michigan, which never has had the death penalty. So I am still a Michigander in spirit; I do not share the blood thirst which seems to motivate so many Ohioans. I also have Christian reasons for being against the death penalty.

If the State of Ohio did not have the death penalty, we would not have to go through all these "agonizing reappraisals," such as Dr. Jonathan Groner's May 27 Saturday Essay.

Lethal injection is supposed to be less inhumane than the electric chair or hanging, both of which have been used in Ohio. Governments have used the firing squad and the guillotine. The use of any of these historic techniques would eliminate the need for physicians, except to act as coroner.

Of course, one way to eliminate the problem Dr. Groner refers to would be to discontinue the practice of the death penalty. But, in order to do that, Ohioans would have to give up their blood thirst. Ohioans voted overwhelmingly a decade ago to support a constitutional amendment to curtail the appeal process so that murderers could not postpone their just fate. Or is it just the Republicans who need to see blood? They seem to be the loudest proponents of the death penalty.

CHARLES H. KAMP

Archbold, Ohio

In my opinion, your May 31 editorial regarding Carty's "slip of the tongue" was ludicrous. It made me wonder: When there is a slow news day, do Blade editors sit around scratching their heads and dream up of ways to "make news" out of nothing? Your comments on Carty made me think of someone who would continually scratch at a piece of flesh, create a sore where there was none, then peel the scab and pick some more. It would seem that your Pulitzer days are clearly over.

Any person, regardless of race, with at least a modicum of intelligence could see that The Blade was sticking to its usual "small town" policy of taking what was an innocent remark by our mayor and turning it into "news" by insinuating it was a racial slur. I've called my own 10-year-old grandson "King Kong" on at least one occasion this past year because when visiting overnight, he insists on carrying his own heavy luggage. Does he think for one second I think he looks like an ape? He's a child and knows better, I would hope a grown man would, too.

The Blade, by assuming that any African-American living in today's society would be of so little intelligence as to instantly think of themselves as being equated with apes, offered the biggest racial slur I've read in any newspaper.

Get over yourselves. You're a huge part of the reason that Toledo is looked at by the rest of the country as quickly becoming the poster child for the dumbing down of America.

SHARON REARICK

Cresthaven Lane

The city of Toledo is getting a bad image from Government Center. Mayor Carleton Finkbeiner's recent reference to Fire Chief Mike Bell as "King Kong" is thoroughly inappropriate. He should be censured as a result. Even if the reference was meant to signal the mayor's opinion of Chief Bell's strength, there are many other references more appropriate: Superman for example. Heck, even "Power Ranger" would be more appropriate.

The mayor needs a lesson in appropriate language and references. King Kong, a gorilla that historically adored white companions, is simply an unacceptable comparison for any human being, especially coming from a white public official in reference to another public official who is black.

I trust the African-American leaders are doing what is right in the city and are calling on the mayor to make a public apology (not a statement that hides behind an employee at Government Center). I recommend the mayor be required to take classes on appropriate racial rhetoric and sensitivity issues. This is the least that should be done, as many similar instances of inappropriate racial language by public officials have resulted in the official's removal from office.

While Mr. Finkbeiner's cheerleading governing style is desperately needed in a city in the rust belt, also needed is the diplomatic and thoughtful calm presence of determined leadership.

RAVI PERRY

Potomac Drive

Rod Lockwood's May 31 article on the Dixie Chicks and the "price" they have paid for speaking their minds, is at odds with reality. After lead singer Natalie Maines' comments about President Bush, their popularity actually increased.

They played to a sold-out tour, and their album, "Home," did not hit No. 1 on the Billboard charts until Ms. Maine's comments, when it spent 19 weeks atop the country charts. Their new album has now debuted at No. 1.

They have suffered no financial consequences for exercising freedom of speech.

The music industry and its lackeys, the radio stations, have a bigger beef with the Dixie Chicks than politics. They managed to free themselves from a contract with their record label and produce a top-selling independent album, an accomplishment the corporate types dislike.

Furthermore, their song "Long Time Gone" explicitly attacked the soullessness of modern country music, singing that "they sound tired but they don't sound Haggard, they got money but they ain't got Cash."

JESSE SQUIRE

Bowling Green

On Memorial Day, my husband and I went to pay our respects to my family who are buried at Forest Cemetery. I was shocked, appalled, and sickened by the appearance upon entering the gates.

Some of the grass was cut; some still had not been touched. Not one of the water dispensers worked and so many gravestones were either knocked over or in such disarray that it was impossible to read the names. If this were the first time I came upon this scene, I could maybe forgive it, but clearly this has been a constant since I can remember.

While not only being disrespectful, it is unacceptable and should not be tolerated by any person who has loved ones buried there.

If the City cannot maintain its cemeteries, perhaps it should negotiate a contract with someone in the private sector to keep the needed work done.

SUSAN SPINO

Shetland Road

Two buses of senior citizens from the Ann Arbor area attended a Daniel O'Donnell concert at the SeaGate Convention Centre. The concert was wonderful, and all the people behind the scenes made it a great experience.

Lunch was served at the Radisson Hotel to a completely filled ballroom. The food was delicious and everyone was served quickly and efficiently so that we had more than enough time to make our way to the convention center for the concert.

With several thousand senior citizens attending the concert it would have been very difficult to seat all the guests but, because of the courteous and helpful ushers and the workers, the attendees were seated promptly.

Everyone at the Radisson Hotel and SeaGate Convention Centre worked so hard to make our visit one of the best trips ever.

As a transplant from Ohio to Michigan many years ago, I was so pleased to say "I am a native Ohioan."

BETTY REYNOLDS

Ann Arbor

Mike Bell is a giant of a human being - physically, mentally, spiritually, and politically. Toledo is blessed to have him as a leader, and I have been blessed to have him as a personal friend and professional colleague for years. His parents know - my wife knows - I love him as a human being and respect every fiber of Michael Bell, the man.

CARLETON FINKBEINER

Mayor

City of Toledo



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