Europe's leaders and the death penalty

Regarding "Sacrificing the death penalty to nab suspects" (Dec. 21): It's unlikely that either President Bush or Attorney General John Ashcroft will agonize over waiving the death penalty for suspected terrorists now held by some European countries. Our leaders will do what is necessary to bring about justice, even if that means bowing to European demands to waive the just sentence of death for terrorist crimes.

Any agonizing done over these cases should be by the European leaders. While these leaders are almost universally opposed to the death penalty, a majority of their citizens support it. European leadership has failed to establish that the death penalty is a morally improper punishment, nor is it likely that they will ever do so. For certain heinous crimes, juries or judges should have the option of choosing the death penalty, and in Europe the death penalty remains an option for war crimes. The US will receive these terrorists from our allies and will waive the death penalty option if necessary. However, our European allies should reflect on why restricting the death penalty is a benefit to anyone; especially when those who might benefit are terrorists.

Dudley Sharp Houston, Texas

Resource Director, Justice For All

Senate takes a break ... now?

I'm amazed that the US Senate has gone on vacation for a month without acting on the economic stimulus package. Is anyone out there willing to hold these politicians accountable for their actions? Never mind the fact they found time to vote themselves a pay raise before taking the month off; the thing that should concern everyone is the fact that the Democrats' stimulus package would give the majority of the stimulus to roughly 10 percent of the people who don't pay taxes, and the Republican version gives the majority of the stimulus to big business. What about the roughly 80 percent who pay 40 percent or more of their incomes in taxes every year? If you want a middle ground on a stimulus package why not start here?

Timothy M. Barrows Lima, Ohio

No license? Get off my road!

"Cities look for ways to curb drivers with invalid licenses" (Dec. 18) talks about folks having their cars confiscated for driving with a suspended license. It cites as controversial the fact that the Seattle Police Department has begun using this practice.

I only wish every police department in the country would invoke a policy like this one, along with increasing the number of arrests of folks driving without a valid license. People have to break a lot of rules to get their license suspended, and we should not allow them back on the roads.

I feel it should also be a requirement that no car registration be issued in any state unless the individual can prove he has valid car insurance. I used to take the bus to work when I didn't have the money for a second car, not drive without insurance. When did it become a right in this society to operate a vehicle without any responsibility to either have a valid license or insurance? Freedom demands responsibility. It doesn't mean you get to do whatever you want without doing what is, and should be, legally required, just because you want to.

Mike Fleice Menlo Park, Calif.

More coverage of Palestine

Thank you for "Rough road to my Bethlehem manger" (Dec. 21, Opinion). In the United States, reporting on the Middle East has seemed to favor Israel over Palestine. We need to see more pieces like this one, which depict the Palestinian experience.

Elizabeth Dewey Longmont, Colo.

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