Letters: Wednesday, September 12, 2007
One Message: Get Us Out

One Message: Get Us Out
To the editor: Talk about non-partisan! The rally on Sept. 1 sponsored by Texans for Peace (“Policing Speech,” Sept. 5, 2007) was probably the most non-partisan event ever held in Fort Worth. It brought together Republicans, independents, Democrats, Greens, Libertarians, Socialists, and counter-protesters to hear veterans, clergy, and military families. Except for one or two dozen counter-protesters, the hundreds of attendees proved this event was about one message: End the occupation of Iraq, bring the troops home, and take care of them.
It was especially meaningful to hear members of Iraq Veterans Against the War, Gold Star Families for Peace, Military Families Speak Out, Veterans for Peace, and Vietnam Veterans Against the War. Like me, many of the rally attendees have family members on active duty in this war. As many current and retired military officers have stated, the problems in Iraq cannot be solved militarily.
Doreen M. Geiger
Fort Worth

Change the Law
To the editor: John P. Araujo’s “On Second Thought” column (“Guilt by Association,” Aug. 29, 2007) was a well-documented explanation regarding the effect of Texas’ “law of parties” statute — particularly in the case of Kenneth Foster, the condemned man whose death sentence was based on this archaic measure.
The law was a knee-jerk response by legislators to Texas’ rising murder rate and was intended to curtail recidivism. It hasn’t helped. This law has too wide a brushstroke and is too broadly interpreted. Gov. Rick Perry was just and correct in commuting Foster’s death sentence to life, on the day marked for his execution.
This case is a blueprint for new legislation that should be passed and implemented posthaste. Our legislators need to look at our entire system of criminal justice for other abuses like this. They should abolish the section of the penal code that allows for prosecution of a person for a crime that his or her co-conspirator committed, even if the first defendant never intended or agreed to the second crime. By employing this conspiracy liability statute, the state is able to make persons eligible for the death penalty on a standard no greater than negligence — based on the premise, as Foster’s federal appellate attorney wrote, that a defendant should have anticipated his conspirator would, in the course of a planned felony, kill another person.
Foster has his attorney and the news media to thank for getting the wheels of justice to turn in the right direction.
Faith Ibarri
Fort Worth

In a Watery Light
To the editor: Dan McGraw has put Haltom City back into the limelight with another chapter in the ongoing story of deficiencies in local, state, and federal government funding for projects needed by the suburbs of larger cities (“Deep Waters,” Aug. 22, 2007). Seems that the suburbs get only residual benefits from government spending, and then only because a reporter like McGraw gets the facts out to the general public. (And his journalism was enhanced by the Weekly’s front-page illustration.) The death of Ally Collins should serve as an impetus to congressional action, rather than to just another round of finger-pointing. This child was a casualty of ignorance, of a bureaucratic system that is interested only in money.
Let’s hope the wheels of justice get oiled and progress gets made.
Cheryl Payne
Fort Worth

To the editor: Dan McGraw’s in-depth coverage of the Haltom City flooding situation and the government’s lackadaisical response to fixing the problem was a must-read chronology of the working of bureaucratic agencies and their Rolodex of excuses for doing nothing.
Dan’s exposé will be the light at the end of the tunnel. He was able to get comments from Haltom City council members and a former mayor, Jack Lewis, a true people’s advocate. No such comments were forthcoming from Fort Worth’s congresswoman, Kay Granger, who could alleviate the ongoing disaster in Haltom City by extending the mantle of her influence in the Washington arena.
Why is she reluctant to hold out a hand to Haltom City? Is it because her self-interest exceeds her commitment to the public interest? This is a blatant act of indifference to the office she holds. The voters ought to keep that in mind come election time.
Dee Taylor
Fort Worth

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