Regarding "Landmark Illinois struggle with death penalty system" (April 19): As a former Illinois resident, I read about its possible abolishment of the death penalty with interest. While not against the death penalty, I do have concerns. I'd like to see it used only if it can be administered free of bias. This bias is found in the tilted disadvantage of the poor who can't afford a suitable defense.
Bias is found, too, in the fact that the death penalty isn't evenly applied from state to state. If I cross a state line and commit a murder, doesn't the crime equal the same level of offense as in a state that enforces the death penalty?
All rules involving death-penalty cases should be fixed, not based on political philosophy. Right now, our justice system isn't capable of providing this, and all states need to put a halt to death-penalty cases until we have a suitable system that allows each state to apply it evenly to all levels of our society without regard to race, social status, political affiliation, or wealth.
Regarding "US loses some of its sheen as world leader" (April 22): The United States is not responsible for peace in every area of the world. The Bush administration's efforts to resolve the ancient Middle East conflict should be supported. Internal policy differences within the administration are not the reason Israel and the Palestinians cannot learn to forgive one another and live in peace. The Israelis (under Ariel Sharon) and Palestinians (under Yasser Arafat) are active purveyors of conflict and unrest, not the US. We shouldn't dull the brilliant luster of desired peace, which the Bush administration is working to attain, by removing Israel and the Palestinians from their responsibility in resolving the conflict.
Regarding "Fill in the gaps in homeland security" (April 17, Opinion): Homeland Security appointee Tom Ridge was correct in suggesting that: "Our biggest challenge is to reorganize the government to deal with the 21st century's challenges." Unfortunately, even the complete reorganization of our own national government won't be sufficient.
Most of the challenges we face come from the global level. Trying to increase homeland security without the benefit of enforceable international laws and viable global democratic institutions for effectively gathering intelligence, controlling disease and pollution, and reducing poverty or economic instability will be virtually impossible, given our irreversible global interdependence.
Thanks for "Is Hollywood capable of 'thinking' movies?" (April 19, Arts&Leisure). The quality of movies has gone down, and I think the majority (the silent majority) agrees.
Recently, I attended a showing of "The Rookie," and was transported back to a feeling of enjoyment I haven't felt for a movie in 25 years. Not only was there no cursing, no violence, and no sex, but this movie appealed to everyone in the sold-out theater. When credits rolled, the entire audience stood and applauded their approval.
I applaud your article, as it is evaluative and thoughtful, even if it's reflective of a widespread, unspoken opinion. Hollywood should start listening to the true public opinion. Perhaps movie producers should reconsider the values and ethics proposed by their marketing analysts and replace them with something higher.
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