I'm glad that we, as Americans, finally have our priorities straight: the menace of graffiti must be squashed. Finally, we have eliminated the scourge that demoralizes and threatens us as a city, a state, and a country: anti-war graffiti.
Never mind that the man who allegedly pilfered millions from the Bureau of Workers' Compensation still lives large. But thank God that we will take the person responsible for graffiti on an overpass out of society's midst much more quickly than the man in the middle of questionably obtained millions.
Never mind that our President lied us into a war that costs thousands of innocent lives. Can you picture a wounded child? How about your child? What will help you decide that this collateral damage is not acceptable? We are told that a dead or severely wounded child is "collateral damage" in a war that was based on lies. And yet, anti-war graffiti on an overpass is not acceptable as collateral damage from an illegal war?
We have 5 percent of the world's population and 25 percent of the world's imprisoned population. We imprison a larger percentage of our population than any other country in the world. I guess our compunction toward evil is worse than any other country and yet punishment doesn't seem to faze us one bit. Let's add one more to the prison population - that dastardly Mike Ferner. He and we will be redeemed.
We must be making our country safer from crime and the world a safer place for democracy when we take a guy and his can of orange spray paint off the streets. Thank God.
Blade Editor Thomas Walton suggested in his July 20 column that the Mike Ferner jury could have acquitted Ferner on the principle of jury nullification. His premise was that the "destructive act of vandalism" in which Ferner participated demonstrated his opposition to the Iraq war and was therefore a noble cause.
Like many other Americans, I have questioned our present strategy. Ferner may be right in his position on the war. However, that is not the question.
I cannot accept the implicit suggestion that it is ever an appropriate act for a protester to intentionally deface public property. Neither do I consider Ferner's surreptitious and child-like actions to be a manner by which he "courageously (protested) a morally wrong and undeclared war."
Perhaps had Ferner placed himself with an appropriate sign in the middle of a downtown Toledo intersection during rush hour, one could ascribe your comments to "courage" and "conviction." However, he broke the law in a manner that defaced public property with crude orange paint letters.
When the Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. and his followers broke laws, they did not deface or damage public property. Rather, they demonstrated for just cause and subjected themselves to arrest. They did not sneak around and act like children. Jury nullification should not extend to an act such as that committed by Mike Ferner.
John L. Straub
Shumaker Loop and Kendrick
Your newspaper had already earned the right to be recognized as one of the three or four best in America, based on such superior reporting and such outstanding service to the public as it provided in its Pulitzer Prize winning coverage of Vietnam atrocities and on its unrelenting exposure of the corruptions of "Coingate."
Now, on July 20, comes the balanced and detailed report on Mike Ferner's criminal conviction for spray-painting "Troops out now" on the Central Avenue overpass on I-475/U.S. 23, accompanied by Editor Thomas Walton's judicious and helpful commentary on the jury verdict.
It is heartening to reflect, as one glories in the pride and joy of Americanism, that we live in a country where school children would be laughed at, but mildly chided and rebuked, if they spray-painted "Beat Northview" on a bridge trestle.
Fortunately, however, we can rest assured that, in the interests of national security, our law enforcement officers will rise to our defense when a dangerous felon who unpatriotically hates war and bloodshed purchases and uses spray paint to spell out his un-American, unholy love of peace and brotherhood.
Ohioans can trust their police officers to arrest such criminals in less than 45 minutes from their purchase of paint to deface public property, as was done in the case of the outlaw brothers, Mike and John Ferner.
It is devoutly to be hoped that Judge Charles Wittenberg, when he sentences Mike Ferner on Aug. 1, will condemn him to construct, bear, and plant his cross on the Lucas County Court House lawn for his crucifixion on the same date.
After reading Editor Thomas Walton's July 20 column, I am reminded once again why I do not subscribe. Why waste my hard-earned money on a paper that is far left and way out of touch?
As the Editor and Vice President of The Blade, Mr. Walton must be an intelligent man, but he has let his leftist views warp his sense of reality. Mike Ferner faces jail time because he defaced public property. He should not be acquitted of this crime in the name of freedom of speech against the war on terror.
What about gang members who deface public property? Maybe it is their way of speaking out on the economic inequalities of the inner cities to those of the upper class. What if someone wanted to protest gay marriage and wrote anti-gay remarks on public property to express their opinion? Maybe they feel gay marriage is morally and ethically wrong. Should they be acquitted?
What Mr. Walton seems to care about are his leftist views of the law, not the facts of the case. The fact of the matter is that a jury of his peers, whether you want to believe them to be his peers or not, found him guilty, as they should have.
If Ferner wanted to protest the war he could have organized a sit-in, made a sign and walked up and down Monroe
k Street, organized a peaceful rally, or utilized other legal options to show his opposition.
What Ferner did was illegal, and now he must pay the consequences, but for you to imply some injustice because of what was not explained to the jury is just plain wrong.
Concerning the Ferner trial and jury nullification, Thomas Walton was right on.
Let's see, now. Start an illegal war that's killed thousands of people and created ongoing havoc and tragedy - or spray-paint a big "NO" to this war on public property?
"Felonious vandalism." My, my, my. By all means, let the wheels of justice roll. But first, I extend a big "well done" to Mike Ferner for his courageous and prophetic action. All I did was hold posters with others in front of the Adrian courthouse.
Ferner has joined the brave group of moral protesters that includes such giants as Dorothy Day, the Berrigan brothers, Martin Luther King, Jr., and Henry David Thoreau, thrown in jail because he refused to pay his tax that supported a war he deemed immoral. God bless them all.
Well, I hope the re-painting of "public property" gave much-needed jobs to at least a few people pinched by an economy suffering under this same misguided administration that gave us "shock and awe."
If any judge is silly enough to lock up Mike Ferner, I'll be proud to be on his visitors' list.
Patricia L. Schnapp
On what planet is Editor Thomas Walton residing? Who is he to determine that the jury that convicted Mike Ferner of destructive vandalism would not have done so if given other options? Ferner admitted guilt, obviously committed the act fully aware of the consequences, and the jury followed the law. The "clear answer" is that Mike Ferner's so-called moral protest was destructive, broke the laws of reasonable society, and he will pay the appropriate penalty.