Letters to the editor: May 19

May 19, 2014 

Philpot's philosophy

The good part about Judge Tim Philpot's April 21 commentary, "What troubled children need," is that voters are now completely informed of his positions. As a former public defender in six different counties, I believe the judge's overwhelming desire to slam the "left wing" outweighs his accuracy.

Readers need to understand the difference between crimes and status offenses. Basically, a status offense is conduct that would not be punished when done by an adult. A 13-year-old boy spent six months in jail for skipping school in Hardin County, for example.

The conditions in juvenile jails are far more harsh than in any adult jail. There are reasons the incarceration of juveniles for status offenses is in serious need of reform.

Philpot is simply not accurate in stating that "the government" does not charge juveniles for possessing alcohol and drugs, firearms. These juveniles are hauled into the juvenile session of district court, frequently after being handcuffed and arrested. They may also have parallel cases in Philpot's family court. How awful that the judge has to smile at the child and his "free lawyer" hauled in front of him by agents of big, bad government (also the source of his employment).

The judge said his mother didn't have to work outside the home; his parents were heterosexuals who never divorced and knew that reproduction "was the highest calling of mankind." By implication, this good Christian household flourished financially. Nostalgia interwoven with fundamentalist Christianity do not make compelling arguments, particularly by someone with legal training.

Sally Wasielewski


Government not the issue

Is Cameron Schaeffer terribly confused about what has happened to Donald Sterling or is his anti-government screed just another straw man he created to attack our president?

His May 6 column is full of words like "government control," the government not trusting people, "rules becoming innumerable and oppressive," "laws and regulations governing conduct in this country," the law punishing bad conduct, "the criminalization of speech," being "free to say and think what he wants," et cetera.

Yet, Sterling has not been charged with a crime because he has not broken any law. One of the noble principles our country was founded on is that people cannot be punished for what they think.

What Sterling did do was to sign a contract with the NBA owners that includes a morality clause. Such clauses are common in sports and other businesses because participants don't want their organizations to be smeared by one jerk, an understandable desire. Sterling knew this when he signed the contract and now he must live by it. That has nothing to do with government oppression.

Schaeffer omitted that the IRS targeted liberal groups more than conservative groups even though it is the conservative groups who don't want to pay their fair share of the cost of running the country. He left out that the NSA's surveillance is to keep terrorists from flying airliners into major buildings as President George W. Bush allowed.

I don't recall Schaeffer complaining about Bush's warrantless wiretaps. Why is he losing sleep over "the totalitarian project" continuing now?

It's obvious to me: he is trying to turn our citizens against their government. A shame.

Roy Crawford


Case for term limits

I have yet to hear a better argument for term limits than those expressed by House Minority Leader Jeff Hoover in his April 28 commentary about the legislative session.

He observed that pure "political fear" prevented the legislature from moving forward on some important bills that would actually benefit the state, and that it became obvious to him that the bills would not pass "because of concerns of how it might affect some legislators in the upcoming elections."

The time for term limits is long overdue. We need to clean house now.

William R. Elam


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