I write in response to the May 13 editorial “Judicial discretion,” regarding Common Pleas Judge Mary Margaret Rowlands. The Code of Judicial Conduct limits judges’ abilities to publicly engage and rebut criticism. Therefore, one function of the bar association is to support the judiciary when circumstances warrant.
We believe that is the case here. Your editorial unfairly criticized Rowlands for apparently requesting an investigation into comments posted on the online version of the Beacon Journal that stated: “Rowlands and Bevan Walsh hopefully they will be the victim of this guy the next time.” The “this guy” referred to had just been acquitted in an execution style murder case.
The comment suggested that execution would be appropriate for Rowlands and Prosecutor Sherri Bevan Walsh. The comment was outrageous, especially given recent events where law enforcement personnel, judges and prosecutors have been targeted by domestic terrorists.
This trial had only recently concluded. In another local, high profile case at the time, a party said he would shoot people who might try to take his home from him. The Beacon Journal reported on that individual’s weapons arsenal.
All of this occurred shortly after Newtown and against a growing backdrop of federal and state judges and prosecutors being shot and killed.
Regardless of whether the judge or prosecutor felt threatened, the comment, and publication of the comment, is dangerous because they plant a seed that killing a judge or a prosecutor is something one ought to consider. Again, with many recent murders of judges and law enforcement officials around the country, this matter cannot be taken lightly.
Frankly, law enforcement should have investigated the comment and the person who posted it regardless of whether Rowlands or Walsh requested law enforcement to do so.
As a corporate citizen of Akron, and the only newspaper, the Beacon Journal acted irresponsibly by taking the position it took. Unbelievably, a newspaper that had gone to great lengths to promote a series on “civility” earlier this year thinks it is OK for readers to post comments suggesting that a public official should be murdered and no one should do anything other than to “remove the comment” and “ban the author.”
We disagree with the Beacon Journal’s editorial criticism of Rowlands. Any suggestion of violence against a judge, a prosecutor or, for that matter, any person, is a serious matter that should be (and here was) properly investigated. The Beacon Journal should have heeded its own advice, contained in the editorial, and not published the “Judicial discretion” editorial.
John C. Weisensell
Akron Bar Association
Deserving of the best
It has been almost two weeks since the victims of horrendous and devastating kidnappings 10 years ago were discovered in Cleveland. Three women and a 6-year-old child were held captive. I won’t go into detail as to how they were treated.
The news media have covered this mind-boggling story from coast to coast and throughout the entire world. What I have to say concerning these four humans is that they should never want for anything.
They should each have an armed guard and be overprotected, along with housing, food and anything to make them comfortable. They deserve nothing but the best after what they went through.
Sound ridiculous? I don’t think so. Look at the money we throw away on many of our social programs, when fraud and corruption enter the picture. Look at foreign aid we waste. These women definitely need to be cared for.
Fred C. Pall
Unions protect wages and rights
I am writing in response to a Friday letter, “Right to work for Ohio.” The writer is naive about what unions mean to American workers and about union rights.
First, the two state representatives who wrote the right-to-work legislation are Republicans. These two lawmakers have so far had a history of voting for legislation that favors big corporations.
If there are no unions, there are no negotiation rights for workers. Who is going to negotiate wages, benefits and retirement with the company? You? This is exactly what these two legislators want, jobs with low pay, no benefits and no retirement.
The bill favors big corporations. The writer says unions have outlived their usefulness. Is he trying to say it is no longer popular to want good wages, benefits that include health care and good retirement?
Unions use dues to negotiate for higher wages, benefits and job protections for their members. If this right-to-work legislation is ever passes, who is going to pay the dues? Where is the union going to get the money to fight for rights and benefits?
And, more important, if this legislation passes, there are laws that force a union to file and to grant negotiated wages and benefits for all workers. That means a worker could get all the benefit dues-paying members pay for, for free. Is that is fair?
Timothy J. Manning
Many angry voices have been raised — and rightfully so — because the Internal Revenue Service targeted some tea party groups that were seeking tax-exempt status.
But little, if anything, has been said about why tea party groups (or any political organization, left, right or in between) should be granted tax-exempt status.
Follow the supermajority
I’m missing something that perhaps writers such as the author of the May 12 letter headlined “Standing up for gun rights” can explain. What gun rights are lost with background checks or registration? I register my car and have never feared it being taken illegally. I register appliances and warranties, too.
Do you know that in 2010, some 73,000 bad guys were denied guns because they failed background checks? Forty percent of all sales are private or take place at gun shows, with no background checks. That means almost 49,000 people who shouldn’t have guns still got them.
If the writer wants to be so uninformed as to equate race with gun violence, try equating it with income levels. Poor people of all races commit the most crimes. Big shock, eh? One-hundred percent of crimes are committed by people who breathe. Race is simply not a meaningful category in gun violence. Poverty is.
No law is perfect, nor any outcome 100 percent airtight. But I sure think, along with 85 percent to 95 percent of the entire U.S., that keeping guns away from over 100,000 bad people a year is a great start.
As far as mental illness goes, most murderers are not diagnosed until they have done something bad, so increasing funds, while it may be a good thing, has a slim chance of stopping anyone, unless you make mental evaluations mandatory before buying a gun, which no one wants.
Anything that can lower our world-highest death rate from guns has to be a win-win deal. There is no magic cure, sadly. We must live with some gun violence. But even small steps like background checks and registration would help plenty.
As for the May 12 letter “Aiming at the wrong target,” there are families that shoot together for fun? That must be a minuscule percentage of the population. I don’t hear people saying, “Let’s take the kids and shoot targets,” as opposed to, “Let’s take the kids to the carnival, or the movies, or the mall, or out to dinner.”
And why stop referring to the condition of the times? I’m guessing that the Founding Fathers would have banned hand-held weapons that kill dozens at a time.
Our Founding Fathers weren’t right about a lot of things (women’s rights and slavery, to name two). That’s why there are amendments. They were smart for the times, but times move on, and if you do not adapt, you become extinct. Isn’t it time that we do what a supermajority of America wants to be done?
Richard J. Kunkel
I just received another request from the Republican National Committee for a donation. This committee must include some of the dumbest people in the country. It has spent more sending me requests for money than I gave in the beginning.
I am not donating to anyone in the Republican Party until I see our elected officials speak up about the incompetent administration.
I wonder: Who is going to monitor this new immigration program? The same organization that has been running it? We have laws on the books; just enforce them.
We must get the whole story about the cover-up in Benghazi. Our former secretary of state’s remark, “What difference at this point does it make,” ranks as traitorous.
The Internal Revenue Service investigation of tea party groups was outrageous, and the organization planned leaks of information.
What happened to the attorney general being in contempt of Congress for gun sales in Mexico?