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What do you think?

August 14, 2005

Editor's note: Each week, The Herald-Mail invites readers to answer poll questions on its Web site, www.herald-mail.com. Readers also may submit comments about the poll question when voting. Each Sunday, a sampling of reader comments will appear in The Herald-Mail.

Last week's first poll question was: Should the remains of Russell Wagner, a man convicted of murdering two Hagerstown residents, be removed from Arlington National Cemetery?

Out of 447 total votes as of midnight Wednesday, 345 people (77 percent) said Wagner's remains should be removed, while 102 people (23 percent) said the remains should stay at Arlington.




"I think by the violent crime he committed, Russell Wagner forfeited any honor he may have earned in his military service, including the right to burial at Arlington."

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"What role does the judge play in this mess? The judge forgot that the superior judge can grant 'parole' at any time and because of his lack of paying attention to details, we now sit wondering who is right and wrong."

"Absolutely not! Russell Wagner became eligible for burial by his (1970s) honorable military service. His burial was limited to the columbarium area (cremation only). However, there are restrictions. A death sentence or prison without parole would negate this honor. His two life sentences, even being consecutive, gave him the possibility of freedom. It is regrettable that he committed these heinous crimes of violence, in his later life."

"Wagner - or anyone else who is a murderer or serious felon (like child molestation, armed robbery, etc.) - should not be in a place of honor for our country. We need to make sure this does not happen again."

"As a family member of the Davises, my great aunt and uncle did not deserve to die the way they did. Wagner should not be able to remain in Arlington or anywhere else!!!! Regardless of what other people think, he was CONVICTED of two counts of first-degree murder and should not have the honor of being buried with soldiers who defended our country. My family will do whatever it takes to have him removed!!!!"

"Russell Wagner's remains do not belong in Arlington National Cemetery. He waived that right when he committed murder. His ashes should be removed."

"My family has been through enough. Russell Wagner brutality murdered my great-grandparents. Russell Wagner doesn't deserve any honors. Arlington Cemetery should do the right thing and remove his ashes. His sister should take his ashes and bury Wagner in her backyard."

"Wagner might have had an honorable discharge from the military, but he gave up the right to be buried with honors in Arlington National Cemetery with the heroes that didn't commit such a heinous crime as he did. The Davises, whom he brutally stabbed to death, didn't receive the honors that Wagner did. What kind of country are we becoming to allow this kind of thing to go on?"

"Yes, it is a shame that this person's final resting place is at Arlington. But let's be realistic, do 'we the people' really want to waste more of 'our' government money and make a big issue out of this."

"I can't imagine anyone would want a convicted murderer, who killed two innocent persons, to be buried along the heroes of this country, but this is America and you are entitled to voice your opinion. Thanks ONLY to these HEROES."




The second question was: Would you support a referendum giving the Washington County Commissioners the power - as provided by Code Home Rule - to enact or repeal local laws?

Out of 141 total votes as of 10:30 p.m. Friday, 36 people (26 percent) said they would support a referendum, while 105 people (74 percent) opposed it.

"Give the Commissioners more power? Ha ha ha ha ha ..."

"They would abuse the rule to benefit the few wealthy individuals who really run Washington County. Every decision they make is contrary to the good of the city. Look at the proposed move out of town to the old Allegheny site. I wonder who owns the land - I mean, really owns the land. It wouldn't surprise me if it were the local inner circle. Let the city sink or swim by its own decisions."

"The County Commissioners have not demonstrated that they can handle more authority. They have misused the authority that they currently have."

"If the commission wants the power to alter our laws, then they should agree to one-year terms so we can vote them out when they make careless moves."

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