Letters to the editor – Wednesday (6-24-09)
Curfews aren’t effective, raise legal questions
Growing up, the Jackson 5 had a song that went something like “one bad apple don’t spoil the whole bunch. …”
That’s not true in Salisbury. Seems a small percentage of bad apples (teen criminals) have facilitated the passing of a teen curfew. Nice try ó I understand the spirit of what you are trying to do. But, for more than 35 years, numerous judges and state supreme courts have ruled teen curfews unconstitutional. Curfews are also ineffective: Former Los Angeles Police Chief Bernard C. Parks has said, “Curfews have not greatly impacted the number of violent crimes or the people who become victims of crimes.”
In a San Diego Tribune article, a patrol officer, who was reluctant to disagree publicly with his department, commented, “Curfew enforcement is a waste of our time. There are too many other things that are more serious or important. The city has to decide what they want: the criminals off the street or the juveniles off the street. You can’t do both.” Nonetheless, the leadership of Salisbury thinks it can “help” parents by passing a teen curfew. I’m sorry, but if you believe that, you are absolutely out of your mind. Our police officers already have more than enough authority to arrest those guilty of breaking the law, day or night. Criminal youths represent a small percentage of the population, and their activity must not restrict the rights of those that are law abiding, just as we would not allow the rights of the law-abiding adult to be elided by the criminal adult.
In closing, I would encourage the City Council to go read the 14th Amendment to the Constitution. As soon as someone is willing to challenge the curfew, precedent is not on your side.
ó Jeff Chapman
Follow the teachings
Regarding the June 15 letter, “Another viewpoint on God and man”:
Lincoln grew up with humble beginnings, was mostly self-educated, and read the Bible. To assume that Lincoln promoted atheism is a false assumption. Hitler was raised a Catholic, but he abandoned these views when he promoted that one race was superior to all other races. He was also responsible for the deaths of millions of Jews. The Spanish Inquisition was an atrocious act.
I wish people would read the teachings of Jesus and what he promoted. For Martin Luther, the founder of Lutheranism, to call Jews, “ungodly wretches” and author Ann Coulter, a professed Christian, to say, “My only regret with Timothy McVeigh is that he did not go to the New York Times Building” ó this is the wrong thing to say as a Christian. Then again, are we not are guilty of saying something we shouldn’t have said? “To err is human, To forgive is divine.”
You sir, may not be for God, but God is for you. I will close with this verse. “Who will have all men to be saved and come to the knowledge of truth.” 1 Timothy 2:4.
ó James Miller
True annexation reform
This week the North Carolina House is considering three bills on annexation reform. Only one bill (HB645) offers substantial reform to a law that desperately needs reform to restore fairness to involuntary annexation.
The current law is blatantly unfair to those being annexed. True reform must include a meaningful voice for those forcibly annexed. And that means either a direct vote by those being annexed, a petition process to allow for a direct vote or a vote by the county commissioners.
Anything short of that simply perpetuates the current injustice.
True reform will not happen by trying to mollify those that benefit from forced annexation. They and their powerful lobbyists are resistant to meaningful change because the status quo, no matter how unjust, benefits them. But the question remains: Is involuntary annexation fair to those being annexed? And the answer is clearly no. What is needed is to right a wrong, and that will not happen by appeasing those who benefit from the wrong. The status quo must change for fairness to be restored and that will require moral courage by our elected representatives.
The other two bills give the appearance of change but without real reform. Our North Carolina state motto, which I have always greatly admired, states: “Esse Quam Videri” (To be rather than to seem). May we reflect on the meaning of this motto, and may our legislators enact true reform ó reform that corrects the injustice, not just covers it up.
ó Gary Galloway