Letters to the editor: March 12

March 12, 2014 

Viewing child porn unfairly punished as violent crime

Thanks to Guy Hamilton-Smith for his Feb. 10 commentary, "Sex-offender registry misguided thinking," and his compassionate understanding of the complexities in cases of individuals who download and view child pornography.

He has firsthand knowledge of how detrimental the current registry thinking can be to the offenders and their families.

CAUTIONclick is composed of concerned citizen volunteers who are dedicated to promoting public safety, smarter legislation and the reform of overly punitive sanctions for first-time, non-production child-pornography offenders.

While we do not condone the viewing of child pornography, part of our mission is to educate the public about how current technology has contributed to the ease of online access by our young men, contributing to the explosion of convictions, incarcerations, and sex-offender registrations for those who have otherwise led clean, productive lives.

Due to the recent proliferation of overly harsh laws and restrictions imposed by well-meaning, but uninformed, politicians, prosecutors and judges, the punishment for first-time simple possession of child pornography has become even more severe than many hands-on, violent offenses and even reaches the level of punishment for murder.

This does not even take into account the fact that many of these offenders are minors themselves.

The latest research clearly disputes current misconceptions and shows that the recidivism rate for this type of crime is among the lowest of any criminal category. A more effective strategy would focus on supervision and rehabilitation, rather than on the creation of thousands of lifelong criminals who have no hopes for rebuilding better futures.

Marjorie Valentine

CAUTIONc1ick National Campaign for Reform

St. Peters, Mo.


GOP deficits

Who was the last Republican president to balance the budget? It was Dwight Eisenhower, 54 years ago in 1960. He balanced the budget once in eight years.

Richard Nixon and Gerald Ford never balanced the budget. Ronald Reagan never balanced the budget and the deficit tripled. George H. W. Bush never balanced the budget. George W. Bush never balanced the budget and the deficit doubled. GOP presidents had one balanced budget in 36 years.

Bill Clinton balanced the budget four times in eight years, three more times than GOP presidents in 36 years.

The U.S. crashed in the Great Depression with Herbert Hoover. George W. Bush was there when we were hammered by the second huge depression starting in 2007.

I personally know retirement plans do much better with Democratic presidents. Social Security and Medicare were signed into law by Democrats. Franklin Roosevelt made it possible for veterans to be educated with the GI Bill.

The GOP prefers paying big subsidies to record-profit oil companies rather than taking care of the hungry and poor. The GOP wants to shut down our post offices and always opposes increasing the minimum wage.

Look at the facts. The GOP wanted to privatize Veteran Administration hospitals and strip down our public schools.

The GOP is the party of the one percent. The Democrats are the party of the people.

Bob Terrell

Corbin


No sense in hurting coal

I live in Pike County in the Eastern Kentucky coalfields and they are now hauling coal by my house.

The winter has been rough, so the cold weather and the big trucks are making potholes in our roads. However, I won't complain until the road departments are given adequate time to respond.

I am trying to use some common sense here. Those who seem to have no common sense are having their way today and we are allowing them to destroy our way of life.

The coal corporations are paying their share of the taxes. The taxes are supposed to pay for the road repairs.

We need the coal to be mined for our economy's sake. What affects Eastern Kentucky affects everyone else.

Bankrupting that industry is bankrupting Eastern Kentucky along with all these coal producing areas of this country.

We all should agree that every corporation and every individual should not be above the law and that certain common-sense restrictions should be placed on us all.

The Knott County mine case that is in question involving the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the U.S. 6th Circuit Court of Appeals, the Environmental Protection Agency, Kentuckians for the Commonwealth, the Sierra Club, Leeco Inc., James River Coal Co. and Pam Maggard, is troubling.

Where is the common sense? It is not going to come from those liberal organizations.

Scotty Gilliam

Pikeville


Respect UK's history

As you travel down Lexington's Rose Street, you may have noticed a funny little building nestled between Donovan Hall and the parking structure.

Like "the Little House" in Virginia Lee Burton's 1940s children's book, the world has grown up around Wenner Gren Laboratory.

But also, like the little house, this building still reflects its proud history. Starting with its inception by architect Ernst Johnson in the late 1930s, it has inspired and provided a home for generations of University of Kentucky Aerospace and Biomedical Engineering triumphs.

Looking like an airplane ready for flight from an empty field, it was sited on the south campus at the edge of the UK Farm with the effect of inspiring students to look further than agriculture when it came to satisfying their intellectual curiosity.

As the university grows and changes, we grapple with ways to keep our history alive and relevant. One way is to glorify the architectural icons of the university's past in order to provide roots for our future students' development.

Including buildings like Wenner Gren Laboratory, Funkhouser, the Quadrangle (Bowman, Bradley, et al) in future campus design can only inspire pride in UK's role as a Kentucky institution.

These are glorious buildings that deserve to proudly represent UK's past and participate in its future. If we give these buildings the respect they deserve, our campus will reap future benefits from grateful generations to come.

Joyce Evans

Lexington


Fire McConnell

The only reasons I've heard for supporting Sen. Mitch McConnell is for his leadership position and seniority. But who has benefited from McConnell's position — Kentucky families or McConnell himself?

McConnell is supposed to use his leadership role to mount effective opposition to President Barack Obama.

However, he hasn't seemed to mind the IRS targeting conservatives, Obama's inattentiveness on Benghazi, the hollowing out of our military, the downgrading of our credit rating, the absence of 90 million Americans from our work force and the ballooning national debt. He hasn't blocked the stacking of courts and bureaucracies with rabid leftists.

What animates McConnell is any challenge to the multimillion-dollar influence network he spent 30 years building; a network of favors and closed-door meetings facilitated by former McConnell staffers-turned-lobbyists.

Matt Bevin would be a terrific senator. Seniority's another word for "same old, same old."

Eunice Logan

Harrodsburg

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