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August 30, 2013 at 6:17 AM
Why no law enforcement?
As Washington state continues to concentrate on people driving as low as 4 mph over the posted speed limit, and continues to enforce mandatory motorcycle helmet laws, it continues to ignore trucks lifted to ridiculous heights, with mandatory bumper-height requirements completely ignored.
Why have we, as taxpayers, spent millions and possibly billions of dollars on research and vehicle safety requirements? People are afraid to drive 26 in a 25-mph zone, yet every single day I see trucks with bumpers lining up with my windshield, wheels sticking out as much as 8 inches beyond the body, lifted over a foot with no mud flaps of any kind.
Vehicles raised that much also have blinding headlamps.
There must be a reason for this flagrant violation of safety and common sense. The speed limit and helmet law examples are used here to illustrate the fact that the state can enforce safety laws if it wishes to.
Why is it choosing to ignore the obvious with these ridiculous trucks?
Dan Saucier, Bremerton
July 17, 2013 at 4:33 PM
Letter missed the big picture
William Wheeler’s letter to the editor was thought-provoking and I enjoyed reading it; however, it uses the term “racism” where the term “bigotry” should be used. [“Northwest Voices: Trayvon Martin case,” Opinion, July 16.]
Racism is institutional, and the incident itself wasn’t institutional, and I don’t believe that the outcome of the trial indicates racism. The United States does have bigots of all stripes.
So, is it politically correct to protest a verdict that you feel is unjust? If you believe that the Constitution grants you free speech, then yes.
When you use your imagination as Wheeler suggests, close your eyes to imagine that you are O.J. Simpson sitting in the witness box on trial for murder, or that you are Zimmerman sitting in the courtroom on trial for second-degree murder or manslaughter, and ask yourself if you believe that the Constitution of the United States requires that the case against you be proved beyond all shadow of a doubt.
My guess is that you will want to imagine that it does, and understand that a jury of one’s peers is going to do its best to come to a rational decision. Anything else would result in a justice system based on revenge.
There are those who believe that this case means it’s open season on young black males in Florida. I don’t think the law is set up for that, but perhaps the solution is actually education of all students in the United States.
Can you imagine the outcome of the confrontation between George Zimmerman and Trayvon Martin if even one of them had been taught to de-escalate confrontations in health class, or church, or Boy Scouts?
Keith Wellman, Freeland
Letter omitted facts
William Wheeler assumes I have not imagined the events of the George Zimmerman trial with their races reversed.
However, Wheeler omitted important facts that, in this scenario, the black Zimmerman was part of a neighborhood watch that was formed because white youths were vandalizing their homes. He omitted that the white Trayvon described “some n-word” that was following him.
Wheeler left out the question of how the smaller man ended up straddling the bigger man when the gun was fired (the answer is he sucker-punched him).
After reviewing all the facts, I not only imagine a black Zimmerman would be not guilty, but since the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People would not being yelling about racism, this case would never have been brought to trial if Zimmerman was black.
When the NAACP alleges racism and brings cases that have bad fact patterns to national attention, it loses credibility with me.
Don Taylor, Brier
Case was legal, not racial
Outrage over the acquittal of the George Zimmerman, based on perceived racial injustice, is badly misplaced.
While racial profiling arguably led up to the incident, once a brawl ensued, all of Zimmerman’s preceding actions, including profiling Trayvon Martin and disregarding police instructions, became irrelevant under the law.
The prosecution had an impossible burden because the only witness with a clear view of what happened was Zimmerman — who, under the law, was entitled to defend himself with lethal force if he reasonably perceived his life in danger.
In criminal trials, the prosecution must present evidence rebutting self-defense claims beyond a reasonable doubt. Zimmerman had exclusive control of the self-defense evidence. There was plenty of doubt here.
If the jury members considered only the trial evidence and faithfully followed the court’s instructions, they really had no option but to acquit. Wheeler mentions the O.J. Simpson case. That’s an odd reference, since a black man was acquitted in that case because the prosecution failed to convince the jury Simpson was guilty beyond reasonable doubt — the same rule that freed the white man in this case.
To those outraged by the Zimmerman verdict I ask: What part of “beyond a reasonable doubt” don’t you understand?
Jerry Cronk, Shoreline
It seems to me that you don’t let the facts get in the way of your opinions. [“Editorial: The next step after the Trayvon Martin case,” Opinion, July 16.]
I have two points to note. One is that George Zimmerman is indeed innocent in the eyes of the law and under the U.S. Constitution, unless he is proved guilty in a court of law by a jury of his peers.
Second, the defense was based upon a claim of self-defense, and had nothing to do with Florida’s “Stand Your Ground” law.
Donald Devlin, Lakewood
July 17, 2013 at 7:26 AM
Follow the money
Sunday’s newspaper carried a long article on the recently passed Texas abortion-restriction law. [“Abortion law in Texas may force risky choices,” page one, July 14.]
The article correctly noted that this will have a tremendous impact on women who are low-income. It noted that the new law, which bans abortions after 20 weeks, also requires that all abortions be performed in facilities that hold to “the same standards as hospital-style surgical centers.”
What it did not say is that Governor Gov. Rick Perry’s sister, Milla Perry Jones, is vice-president of government relations of United Surgical Partners International and is also on the board of the Texas Ambulatory Surgical Center Society. United Surgical Partners International is based in Addison, Texas, and it runs surgical centers co-owned by doctors, which will be some of the few centers that will legally be able to provide abortions under the new law.
While it is true that many low-income women will probably not be able to afford to have legal abortions in one of their facilities, United Surgical Partners International has the potential for a large increase in clients who will be able to afford to pay whatever becomes the “going rate” for an abortion.
This is just one more reason to remember that “follow the money” has been a catchphrase of both investigative journalism and political analysis for a long time.
Thalia Syracopoulos and Pam Whittington, co-presidents of the Seattle chapter of the National Organization for Women
July 16, 2013 at 7:37 PM
Racial issue can’t be ignored
I am baffled and disturbed that the editorial outlining the “next step” in the Trayvon Martin case avoids the racial aspects of this case. [“The next step after the Trayvon Martin case,” Opinion, July 16.]
In fact, you go so far as to disparage the U.S. Justice Department’s consideration of a civil-rights claim against George Zimmerman, asserting that “the failure of the prosecution to muster a compelling case for manslaughter does not bode well for arguing some higher level of racial animus.”
So let’s just ignore this issue? Please do tell.
Beverly Marcus, Seattle
Jury should have acknowledged gender, race
If I’d been on the George Zimmerman jury, I hope I would have realized that my years of being female have predisposed me to be nice and get along, and that I would remember how that behavior can be dangerous to justice.
I hope I would have realized that years of cultural and institutional messages have deeply ingrained into me the message that black males, particularly young black males, are to be feared, and that males who look more like me are to be trusted and assumed to have good judgment.
I hope I would have remembered that cultural norms privilege what certain groups of people have decided is the best way to do things. Usually, it is the group of people who dominate society; people who look like me.
My white skin matters. The whiteness of five of the women on the jury mattered. The gender of the jury mattered. Oppression thrives when such truths are silenced.
If I’d been on the Zimmerman jury, I would have insisted we talk about how oppression has made all of us, Zimmerman included, seem less fully human. That is why another young black man is dead.
Diane Schmitz, Seattle
“Stand Your Ground” laws are dangerous
While the country seems to be wrestling with whether the George Zimmerman verdict was about race or guns, I maintain that this is clearly a legal issue.
I don’t care if you are black, white, pro-gun or pro-gun-control. Ask yourself if you really want somebody like George Zimmerman, a person with no legal or police experience, walking around in your neighborhood deciding whether or not you are a threat and whether or not that threat justifies the use of lethal force.
I fear that, in the future, more people will pay the ultimate price for “Stand Your Ground” laws.
Steve Alberts, Vashon
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