Letters to the Editor

Letters to the editor: Jan. 15

Natalie Liles pleaded guilty twice last year to prostitution charges.
Natalie Liles pleaded guilty twice last year to prostitution charges.

Article made it sound as if woman deserved to be murdered

On behalf of the Kentucky Association of Sexual Assault Programs, I write to express deep concern regarding the recent article, "Victim in year's first killing a known prostitute." Six of the article's 13 paragraphs focused on the victim's criminal history.

This focus implies that women in prostitution are responsible for violence committed against them. Furthermore, it ignores the reality that all women in America, not just women in prostitution, are at great risk of intimate partner violence, rape and homicide committed by someone they know.

Recent studies by the Centers for Disease Control found that one in three women experiences rape, domestic violence or stalking in her lifetime. Women in prostitution face higher risk because attackers assume these women will be blamed. According to the Center for Missing & Exploited Children, the average age of entry into prostitution is 13, with many fleeing abuse to enter "the life."

These children are actually victims of human trafficking (or modern-day slavery), as are the many adults who are in prostitution due to force, fraud or coercion. We should be astounded by the prevalence of such violence against women, rather than scapegoating victims.

Along with our 13 rape crisis centers, KASAP works to ensure women, men and children who have been sexually assaulted receive non-judgmental, confidential services and support. We train nurses, faith communities, law enforcement and others about response to victims, violence prevention, and human trafficking. We offer this training to all who will stand beside us to envision a world without violence.

Eileen A. Recktenwald


I am writing this letter to voice my displeasure with the article on the first murder in 2012 for Fayette County. The article implies that, since Natalie K. Liles was a known prostitute to the police, the murder was her fault. A murder is murder and no one deserves that, no matter what the person's background. (The only exception is self-defense, and in those cases it is not considered murder but justifiable homicide.)

The writer filled space by detailing her dealings with the local police, again nothing to do with her murder. I am disappointed this story was allowed to go into print. I hope the Herald-Leader takes steps to monitor stories a bit closer and prevent this type of slander of someone's character. I do not know the victim or her family and wanted to have my say.

Steve Lanphierd


King, the prophet

Each year in January, Martin Luther King Jr. Day is a good time to think and talk about King's life in the context of what's going on in America today. King helped lead a civil rights revolution based on economic and social justice for African-Americans and the poor of all races.

What he did was the right thing to do during the years 1955-68, starting with the Montgomery bus boycott and ending with his assassination in Memphis.

Always an advocate and spokesperson for justice and equality, King would be a supporter of the Occupy Wall Street Movement today. He would be appalled at the degree to which greed drives our failing trickle-down economic system, to the way big money corrupts our politics and to the growing numbers of impoverished people. He would also be speaking out against those who are trying to suppress the vote of the opposition in the 2012 presidential election.

Many of King's detractors would call him a socialist, but from his study of capitalism and socialism, he knew the strengths and weaknesses of both. In one of his books, King wrote, "historically, capitalism failed to see the truth in collective enterprise and Marxism failed to see the truth in individual enterprise."

King was America's greatest prophet. No American, before or after, spoke truth to power as effectively and lovingly as he did. He was the modern-day version of Old Testament prophets Amos and Micah. Prophets of that ilk are sorely needed in America and the world today.

Paul L. Whiteley Sr.


No more immigrant bashing

I must admit that not so long ago I was among the people who wanted to rid Lexington of all illegal immigrants, mainly Mexicans. But I have changed my mind.

Why? Because most of these people who come here work very hard and only want what is right for their families and the Lexington community.

Anyone reading this knows that Mexico is in the biggest drug war in its history and since Mexican president Felipe Calderon took office in 2006 more than 32,000 innocent civilians have been killed because of the war on drugs. That includes a recent shooting of a bus full of innocent civilians, including three Americans, who were going home to celebrate Christmas with their families. It seems that drug cartel leaders couldn't care less who is killed and all they want is money, money and more money.

It's in the news every day that someone gets arrested for making meth in Kentucky. Now just try to imagine that last year the Mexican drug traffickers sent more than 4,000 tons of meth into the United States.

I am very proud that president Barack Obama has provided surveillance drones along the Mexican border to help Mexico capture or kill the hierarchy in the drug cartels.

God bless America, and let's do the best we can to stop drug trafficking in our own state, and show a welcome mat to our illegal friends who are here, and not hurt them more than they already have been.

Darrell G. Gross


LexTran a wonderful service

It is really concerning when I hear naysayers complaining about seeing empty LexTran buses. Just because you see an empty bus at a given moment, that does not accurately represent ridership. As a frequent LexTran rider, I have been on many buses where it was standing only and some where I was the only person left on it. I think every citizen of Lexington, since you do subsidize the service, should ride LexTran at least once to see what you are paying for.

Drive in from your home in Palomar, Andover or Hartland. Park at the Transit Center. Take an hour and ride one of the buses to and fro. When you see a young mother carrying her child and groceries or an elderly man returning from a doctor's appointment, you might think twice about complaining. It is a valuable service and a pretty impressive one for a city of our size.

Michael Chambers


UK doesn't listen to workers

I read a recent letter suggesting University of Kentucky employees offer their input rather than have the university spend $1.2 million on consulting fees. From firsthand experience, I can say that UK is not interested in employee input whatsoever.

Five years ago, the administration sent a consultant to my department to observe our processes for well over two years. The consultant asked for employee input at times but those of us who actually performed the work were completely ignored since our suggestions went against those of the consultant.

So here we are, five years later, trying to figure out how to undo the damage done to two departments by a consultant whose suggestions were taken over that of the employees. Talk about a waste of money.

UK administration also does not want to hear employee input regarding their tobacco-free policy. Employees are told to comply even when most of us are no longer happy because of the dictatorial attitude of that policy and its sponsors.

The sad thing is that the policy only applies to the lowly employees; administrators and doctors can ignore the policy all they want and no one says a thing.

So UK will continue to ignore employees and their great ideas to further create a hostile work environment where employees may be healthier but are certainly not happier, and throw away all its money on consultants rather than offering pay increases to its own employees. That appears to be the UK way.

John Smith


Look at mountain devastation

I urgently ask everyone with a computer, iPad, or smart phone to please use Google Earth or some similar software program and take a look for yourself at the aftermath of the destruction of over 500 Appalachian hills.

Less than 3 percent of mined land is rolling fields of grass (if you could call it that); the remaining 97 percent of the land belongs on the moon, not on Earth.

Also, much water flowing downstream from the mined areas of the Eastern Kentuckian watershed is contaminated with toxic substances and heavy metals not removed by water treatment plants.

And once the coal is gone, so is the coal industry. Where are the people going to work? And if they could work at whatever it's going to be then, why not now?

T. G. Hamlin


Why subsidize millionaires?

Now that the horse industry has been re-elected, all I hear is "Let's put casinos at the racetracks." Why are we subsidizing the millionaire's dying horse industry? We're already using taxpayer's money to fatten their purses at the races.

Do we subsidize our bourbon industry? No we tax, tax, tax them.

Do we subsidize our tobacco industry? No we tax, tax, tax them.

If casinos are to come to Kentucky they should be in our poorest counties.

They can sure use the jobs and taxes. I hope the legislators in these counties demand that this is on any ballot.

It's time that we start subsidizing the taxpayers. If the vote is about casinos at the race tracks, I vote no.

Dave Gravatte


Blame society, not a party

"What about protecting children struggling in life" by Roger Guffey (Dec. 20) reminded me of Ronald Reagan's comment to President Jimmy Carter in a debate concerning Medicare, "there you go again."

Here we go again blaming all the ills of the country on the conservatives.

According to Guffey, they are responsible for children having no health insurance, children being abused and neglected, forcible rapes of children, violence and murder of children, missing children, children not wanted, and child alcohol and drug abuse. Whew, quite a litany.

Has Guffey ever considered the fact that the family has broken down in modern-day America and that might have something to do with the problems mentioned above? According to an April 2011 Associated Press article, one in four children live in a single parent home where only 35.8 percent are employed.

According to the U.S. Census Bureau 7.4 million children live with unemployed single mothers. Nearly 60 percent of children living with only their mother live near or below the poverty line. About 45 percent of children with divorced mothers live in or near poverty, 69 percent if the mother has never married

Unless all of this is also caused by conservatives, I would say these problems have led to all of the terrible things mentioned in Guffey's article. Lack of jobs, lack of parental control, lack of education, unstable homes could be the problem, rather than conservatives.

Our society has ignored the family far too long. Perhaps that's where our energies need to go, rather than blaming a political party.

Nancy Davidson