Letters to the Editor
A D V E R T I S E M E N T
A D V E R T I S E M E N T
Life in Prison
To the editor: I was so upset by your article, “Hospital of Horrors” (Oct. 19, 2005), that I had to stop reading and take a deep breath.
I served nine years and three months on a 24-year sentence. I would have stayed in prison until 2012 if President Clinton hadn’t granted my clemency petition in 2000. I am one of the lucky few, which is why I have started a foundation, Clemency for All Non-violent Drug Offenders (CAN-DO, www.candoclemency.com), to advocate clemency for women serving heinous sentences for conspiracy. I left so many women behind with stories you can’t imagine.
Thanks so much for your important look into a very dark place. These institutions desperately need oversight. There is a long list of areas within the Bureau of Prisons that need a spotlight and journalists like you to uncover some very ugly realities.
To the editor: Kudos on a job well done in exposing injustices to female prisoners. While the Star-Telegram feeds my basic needs for news, it’s good to have a paper in town that’s not afraid to serve lager instead of lite.
Charles M. Noteboom
Noteboom — The Law Firm
To the editor: My heart breaks for the woman who would come home from prison in a limo to celebrate her release, only to go home in a body bag. I had to stop reading the story to meditate, pray, and write this e-mail. Please send these prison stories to Bonnie Kerness at the American Friends Service Committee. She has been a voice of prisoner’s rights since the days of my incarceration. I was named an international prisoner of conscience by her organization in 1977. She is one of the few people who know what I know about prison life. She speaks on behalf of prisoners all over the world. We are on the same mission.
If you think watching a loved one come home in a body bag is sad, consider what it’s like to watch fellow inmates die at a rate of one a month or more. If I could tell a thousand stories, I could not tell of all whom I saw die in prison, through neglect, violence, assassination, suicide. The cries of their violent end still ring in my ears.
To the editor: I just read Tracy Everbach’s column on Bill O’Reilly (“He Doth Froth Too Much,” Oct. 26, 2005). I enjoyed it but was also amused. I am a big O’Reilly fan, but I’m also a news junkie — I watch and listen daily to media outlets across the political spectrum because I like to hear what each side is saying. I’m well educated and think I am in the middle with most issues.
I do agree with you that Bill over-reacted. However, I can think of no reason for Macarena Hernandez even to have mentioned Bill in her column except as a cheap shot. She repeatedly insinuated that the crimes in Georgia were hate crimes. They were not. They were crimes of opportunity — a gang of thugs, who happened to be black, preying on poor people. You noticed no one in the media jumped on the black community. Unfortunately, crimes of opportunity happen every day, everywhere, all over the world.
If Everbach and Hernandez ever watched or listened to Bill, they would know how overly benevolent he is to the Hispanic community. He is one of the few journalists calling for a guest worker program. But like most Americans, he does want a secure border. Many Hispanic lives would be saved with such a program. And since when did Media Matters become the purveyor of truth and wisdom? I suggest that you research that organization as to who funds it and how often they bend the truth. As to the name calling (wetback, spic, etc) that Ms. Hernandez received, I can only pray that is not true. I would however, ask to see proof.
I am a native Texan. The history of this state is forever linked with the Hispanic community. I too admire the Hispanic people and have had the pleasure to know many. But what is it about “illegal immigrant” status that people don’t understand? Americans are the most generous people in the world, but we are weary of illegal immigration draining our resources and endangering lives. Control over immigration is all that most Americans expect. At the turn of the last century, controlled immigration was an accepted path to citizenship. We are the only country in the world that does not control our borders. I can only hope the United States does not have another major disaster before we learn our lesson.
To the editor: Thank you for the article you wrote regarding speaking out against the railing of conservative radio/tv hate shows. That takes a lot of courage to put one’s name to something that could enrage a less-than-bright dedicated zealot. I appreciate your effort.
Weeding out Crime
To the editor: Regarding Ben South’s thoughtful comments on drug legalization (Letters, Oct. 19, 2005): We don’t need to legalize all drugs, all at once. If we regulate, control, and tax the sale of marijuana to adults and sell it in licensed business establishments, most of our “drug problems” will disappear.
I submit that the vast majority of drug users would use only marijuana if it were available at an affordable price — but it’s not. During the early 1970s marijuana sold for $10 to $20 an ounce. Now the price is about $300 — the result of the “prohibition tax,” which goes to criminals.
If a beer drinker cannot get any beer, he switches to another alcoholic beverage. When marijuana users cannot obtain marijuana at an affordable price, many switch to other drugs, such as meth, buying from criminals who often sell many drugs and often give out free samples of their other wares, creating the so-called “gateway effect.” If marijuana were legally available in licensed business establishments as tobacco and alcohol are, our meth problem would be a tiny fraction of what it is today.
Our counterproductive drug policies have made the least toxic drug the most expensive and the most toxic drug the least expensive.
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