Letters to the editor – Saturday (7-25-15)

Published 12:15 am Saturday, July 25, 2015

Thankful for help, kindness after loss

Words cannot express my gratitude for the prayers, thoughts and help during the difficult time after my house fire in Rockwell. My son was in the house at the time, and our lives turned upside down after he was injured, after the death of our dog, Reagan, and all the devastation due to the fire.

First, I would like to thank the unknown person that saw the fire and called 911 — you are an angel, and I would love to meet you.

Thank you to the Rockwell, Rockwell Rural, Faith and Granite Quarry fire departments and Rowan Rescue, and especially the two firemen who pulled my son out of the house. I cannot thank you enough for your heroic deed.

Thank you to the family and friends who gave us clothes and household items, and the Organ Lutheran Church family and friends who gave us monetary gifts.

Thank you, Animal Rescue, who paid to have our family pet, Reagan, cremated. Thank you to Wayne McCullough for transporting her. Thank you, Vickie and Donald Hipp, for taking care of my outside pet, Daisy, and for keeping watch on the property.

I am thankful for the Red Cross for addressing our immediate needs and eternally grateful for everything the community has done.

Most of all, I would like to say that with your prayers my son is alive. God has been so good to us. We have a long road ahead, but it is comforting to know we have so many friends. I sent thank you notes, but they did not include all the dedicated people behind the scenes. We lost everything — our homes, beloved pet and belongings — but we are surrounded by friends and family showing tremendous generosity, thoughtfulness and love. From the bottom of my heart, I thank you all.

— Sylvia Loftin Freeman


Murder is hateful enough on its own

An epidemic plagues the U.S. The media and much of the public get it wrong. Racially motivated murder is not the problem. The problem’s murder … period. More than 15,000 murders scar the U.S. every year. FBI records classify four to six as race-motivated hate crimes. White and black are victims.

The Charleston murders aroused moral outrage. The only appropriate response. Pursuant dialogue has consistently focused on emotional rhetoric that blunts critical discussion. Had a single life been shattered, the loss would be as great, the act as cruel. Had both killer and victims been black, the magnitude of the crime would be no less immense.

Death, whether due to negligence, drunk driving or homicide, causes deep pain. Motive is meaningless. Affected persons suffer loss equally profound, equally irreparable. Not motive, method’s the component that must establish just penalty. Does it matter why sadists drag others behind trucks? Inhumanity on that scale is a candid comment, hard proof of intent, character, culpability.

The moral bankrupts who murdered Shannon Christian and Christopher Newsom reveled in physical and sexual torture. The killers’ repellent methods transcend limits that would inhibit all but the most depraved, the most misanthropic specimens of humanity. The torture was a proliferation of hate. None were charged with hate crime. Legal standards that require evidence of verbal taunts to prove killers felt hate illustrate the absurd basis of hate laws. The monstrous inhumanity of the crime speaks louder than the most conspicuous symbols, the most malevolent words.

Legislation that classifies murder as hate-motivated based on specific verbal or visual symbols is nonsensical and superfluous. The calculated killing of nine people or murder preceded by vicious torture is irrefutable proof of hate, absent words or symbols of any sort. Incongruous hate crime laws serve no rational or just purpose.

A serious discussion is overdue.

— Tony Castelvecchi