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Letters to the editor 10/14

October 14, 2002

Why do we have the right to kill?



To the editor:



The recent random shootings in the Washington, D.C., area have caught the attention of our nation as perhaps few - with the exception of 9/11 - incidents in a very long time. The latest occurrence - the shooting of a 13-year-old boy at his school - has taken this series of crimes to a level beyond what we perceive as the "typical" method of a serial killer.

This predator is operating in a relatively small area, and the killings are occurring in a relatively short period of time, covering a wide cross section of people: young and old, male and female. The end result is that no one feels safe. Imagine what it must feel like to live under these conditions. Everybody must be looking over his or her shoulders. It's amazing that one or a few people have managed to lay siege, psychologically speaking, to a great city and its environs.

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Even though, statistically speaking, the chances of being shot are very small, the lives of hundreds of thousands of people have been completely disrupted by these shootings.

And then it occurred to me that people in Iraq, not only Saddam and his army, but common working folk as well, are probably sitting in their homes having very similar thoughts about the very big guns that the U.S. and particularly one man - is pointing in their directions. And if we start shooting our guns and dropping our "smart " bombs, then innocent people, like those in the D.C. area, will be killed.

But this time the deaths, euphemistically called collateral damage, will number in the thousands. But the survivors will still think of us as terrorists, dropping our bombs from afar as our D.C. assassin cowardly shoots from cover. A Middle Eastern woman ,interviewed on television soon after 9/11,stated that perhaps Americans would now understand what it's like to live under terrorist conditions.

These shootings are another lesson and I don't like it - and I don't want us to subject people in Iraq to it either. Do we really have the moral high ground to justify bombing Iraq? Tenuous al Quaida connections and the potential threat of the now banal "weapons of mass destruction?"

The America of the Great Wars would take the first punch, and deliver the final blow. And the ugly truth is we've brought a lot of this on ourselves. For too long we have supplied countries in the Middle East with weapons of all sorts, including those of mass you-know-what. Is it not one of the great ironies of all time that the U.S. gave Iraq the means to produce biological weapons during its conflict with Iran?

And although we turned our heads when they deployed these weapons , our leaders are now outraged that they might use them against us! There is a very grave lesson here that is as old as mankind: If you are going to enable and encourage chaos and death, be prepared to receive some of the same. Or, in more common terms, if you play with fire...

The solution is also very old, and it comes as a great surprise to me that in this predominantly Christian country you hear almost nothing about the commandment: Thou shall not kill.

The Bible seems quite straightforward in this. There is no asterisk beside this law allowing for exceptions. It's time for the good people of this country to do the right thing and send a clear message to our leaders: Agree to use our weapons of mass destruction on Iraq, be prepared to lose your job at election time. Support this war effort and lose our vote.

Dan Wallace

Williamsport




For your health, vote for Ebbitt



To the editor:


Recently, I suffered serious multiple fractures of my elbow.

I am extremely grateful for the skills of orthopedic surgeon Richard Patterson, the care given to me by the Bolivar Medical Center doctors, the kind, professional caring of the nursing staff of Jefferson Memorial Hospital and the efficiency of various rehabilitation therapists.

Like most residents, I am very concerned about the high costs of malpractice premiums which are chasing our doctors out of West Virginia. The voters of Jefferson County's District 57 have the chance on Nov. 5, to elect Dave Ebbitt as our delegate in Charleston, W.Va. He will give us responsible and fair representation in health, education and controlled growth issues.

Mary Rutherford

Harpers Ferry, W.Va.

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