Letters to the editor — Wednesday (8-1-2013)

  • Posted: Thursday, August 1, 2013 12:01 a.m.
    UPDATED: Thursday, August 1, 2013 9:58 a.m.

Debate will continue over Zimmerman verdict

The July 29 issue cover story “After Trayvon” in Time Magazine is evidence the debate isn’t over. Excluding race and including some other factors should make for a more unbiased conversation, however.

Consider the jury selection process. Zimmerman’s attorney had the help of Robert Hirschhorn who has worked in the same capacity in several high profile cases including the Enron-Kenneth Lay trial (USA Today, July 18). From the very beginning, he wanted anyone with an anti-gun stance eliminated and wanted women because he thought they would relate to the defendant’s story better than men.

Also, consider the location. Hirschhorn didn’t recommend a change of location, saying: “If we want George to get a fair trial, we want people from his county to decide this case.” Does that mean the prosecution couldn’t get a fair trial?

Finally, consider the judge used the Florida “Stand Your Ground” law in her instructions to the jury. The law was on his side but if Zimmerman had not felt empowered by a gun and had followed instructions not to go after the unarmed 17-year-old in the hoodie, the outcome would have been different.

— Alice G. Brown


Saluting those who serve

We are proud to recognize our relatives, the Swain family. Sgt. 1st Class James A. Swain, retired, and his wife, Sgt. Major Jacqueline M. Dixon-Swain have been visiting their uncle and aunt in St. John’s Woods since arriving in Salisbury from the sergeant major’s military academy in El Paso, Texas. They are extremely happy to be finally be stationed on the East Coast for the first time. They have a combined 44 years of honorable military service.

Their journey to El Paso from Fort Leonard Wood, Mo., had one pulling a trailer carrying the riding lawn mower while the other pulled a boat, only to find no grass to mow or water to float their boat in Texas. Surprisingly, the Texas terrain bore a shocking resemblance to that of Afghanistan, where both have been deployed, as well as to Iraq. Other places where they have been stationed include Fort Campbell, Ky.; Korea; Germany; Guantanamo Bay; Panama; and their current assignment, Fort Bragg.

The Swain family has one daughter, Joycelyn, who lived with her grandparents in Erie, Penn., while her mom and dad deployed. She maintained an A average and graduated from Waynesville High School in Missouri. Joycelyn is now a junior at Johnson C. Smith University where she is studying biology and chemistry in hopes of entering medical school.

The Swain family was honored on July 20 at a cookout at the home of their uncle and aunt, where friends and family thanked them for their service.

Congratulations are in order for Sgt. Major Swain, who also completed her master’s degree in criminal justice with the University of Phoenix in conjunction with completing the sergeant major’s course in El Paso.

There are many stories that make those of us who live in virtual safety thankful. The cookout on Saturday was an opportunity to say thank you for their sacrifice. They were honored by the wonderful gesture.

If you see a soldier, say thanks. It means a lot.

May God continue to bless the United States of America.

— Alice Holloway


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