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Letters to the editor - 12/30

December 30, 2003

ACLU is way off base



To the editor:

Please forgive my ignorance, but I feel compelled to write this letter to express my feelings for the American Civil Liberties Union. I apologize in advance if my feelings and opinions seem skewed by my Christian faith.

I feel that the ACLU, while its intentions seem honorable, is somewhat counterproductive in its effort to ensure the rights given to the citizens of this great nation in which we live. Everyone has heard that "the experts" feel American society is becoming exceedingly litigious. I certainly agree.

I feel that the courts have become increasingly bogged down with unnecessary lawsuits. Many of these lawsuits are unrealistic in their expectations, and I submit they would not have been filed 100 years ago, much less 50 years ago, even though the laws and rights that are supposedly being violated have not changed at all.

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A great deal of these unnecessary lawsuits have to do with the "improper" display of the existence of God, most notably the display of various Ten Commandments monuments and the words "under God" in our own Pledge of Allegiance.

I am not by any means trying to force my Christian faith upon anyone, but it seems that many people are trying to gain money and/or notoriety by filing these useless lawsuits "just because."

They are hearing about someone else successfully suing to have one of these displays removed, and they say, "Hey I could do that, too."

A particular case comes to mind from the recent past, in which a county government was being sued by the ACLU to remove a Ten Commandments monument, but before the case went to trial, the county simply sold the tiny piece of property on which the monument stood to a private citizen who agreed to leave the monument in place. The suit by the ACLU was subsequently dropped, as that was now all right. This was absolutely ludicrous.

What is interesting to me is that the ACLU does not seem to have any problems with violating the citizens' Sixth Amendment right to a speedy trial. These unnecessary lawsuits are bogging down the courts tremendously and causing unjust delay in getting legitimate suits and trials heard in a timely fashion.

Think for a moment about the woman whose husband was killed by the drunk driver who escaped injury. She now has no way to support her family, and her kids now have to be raised by someone else. That's because she is too busy working three jobs to make ends meet until her lawsuit against the drunk driver gets to the courts and she can get the compensation that she deserves. This is unacceptable.

Michael D. Hiatt

Hagerstown




Taxes are out-of-hand



To the editor:

I'm writing today on the subject of private property rights. We don't have any rights when it comes to private property. Our property can be taken when the taxes aren't paid.

It can also be taken when some bureaucrat thinks the state can use it for one purpose or another. They merely condemn it and take it. Face it, when we let them tax our property, we lost all the rights we ever had. Our government lets us think we have some sort of control over our property when we really don't.

Everything we have is controlled by taxes. Everything! We can't drive our cars unless we pay a license fee for each one we own. We can't hunt or fish without a license. We can't buy anything without paying a tax, even if what we need is life-saving.

They even tax our pets! The only thing we can do without paying a tax or buying a license is to pay taxes. And it wouldn't surprise me if they aren't looking for a way to tax us to do that. There is no way that the government should be able to take our ground from us for any reason! Especially if we are living on it! Every time you turn around they want to raise our taxes.

Where do they think the money is coming from? Personally, I think it's time for our government to go on a diet.

Do with less - we have to! We are spending more than enough money at the Washington County Board of Education. If they don't have enough money, then it's time to start cutting on Commonwealth Avenue! If someone isn't affecting the students of Washington County directly, then his or her job may not be needed.

We have too many taxes and it's time to start cutting them out of our tax laws.

James Bailey

Hagerstown

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