I appreciated Rick Anderson's column on the threat of bringing yachts to Fishermen's Terminal [News Clips, "Fishermen's Terminal to Go Upscale," May 17], but he's needlessly fatalistic about the inevitability of the outcome. At the public meeting last week in Ballard, I watched a parade of people blast this idiotic idea (not just Norwegians and not just fishermen) for embodying one more step toward making our city one where only the wealthy will have a place. As one woman said, "They want to turn the Terminal into a petting zoo." Not one person of the roughly 150 present defended this move—which was made without a single small family fisherman on the committee— except for the two paid staffers from the Port. And the end, even one of them said he'd recommend deferring moving ahead on any final decision at least till fall.
If we're silent, the Terminal may indeed become the province of the yacht set, but if we speak out, and remind the Port Commissioners that they're elected by us and serve at our sufferance, we have a good chance to turn it around.
KILL ME NOW
I hope people reading the story about the suicidal James Elledge ["Prisoner Seeks Death," May 17] will understand how the punishment system has been turned over to the murderers. This man is pathetic, and he knows it, but he has now assumed the power that has eluded him all his life.
Like Dodd and Sagastegui, he will decree his own punishment. Having killed out of hopelessness and rage, he will have the state kill him out of our hopelessness and rage. We, the people, become the next pitiful killers, again.
Because of killers like Elledge, Washingtonians think we either execute murderers or turn them loose. There are other options that would better serve the public, but we will never use them well until we join the civilized world and eliminate capital punishment.
As several states prove every month, and as millions have learned in the McVeigh case, a government entity cannot simultaneously administer justice and death.
DEATH BY CHINA
While I agree with much of Geov Parrish's analysis of McVeigh and the death penalty ["The Case for Timothy McVeigh," Geov Parrish, May 10], he seriously errs when he says that the U.S. executes far more people than any other country. China executes far more people than the U.S. In some years, China executes more people than the U.S. did in the entire 20th century.
If Mr. Parrish had been following the news, he should have heard about the scores of Chinese bureaucrats sentenced to death for bribery. Japan is the only other First World country to retain capital punishment. The Third World is split. Some countries employ capital punishment for offenses that would not be capital even in Texas. Saudi Arabia executes women for adultery.
John R. Hammen
Thanks for pointing out our mistake: Amnesty International estimates the top four nations practicing state execution last year were: China (over 1,000 people), Saudi Arabia (123), the United States (85), and Iraq (75).—Eds.
HANG IT UP
I have just finished reading the May 17th issue of Seattle Weekly, and it looks like Geov Parrish has finally run out of steam, or bullshit. His whole argument against the present leader of the nation ["Dim Bulbs in the White House"] is simply a rehash of all the arguments that have been used by the left for the past 50 years. Not one new thought entered his mind during the writing of this article. In fact, you could almost call his argument plagiarism. You have become irrelevant, Geov. Hang it up.
Geov Parrish hits it right on with this article ["Dim Bulbs in the White House," May 17]. We need to mobilize the country against these evils, but America seems to sleep while our democracy is stolen from us. The Republican propaganda machine is formidable, and I'm always amazed at its effectiveness. People who I thought intelligent swallow it completely, and any contrary opinion is B.S. I think part of the reason is their ranks are composed of true believers who feel God is on their side. This mentality has always been impossible to counter. But another reason is they are relentless in hammering their points publicly; I swear they must have position papers faxed to their flock each morning; the unanimity is astounding. Where is Teddy Roosevelt now that we need him desperately?
MOST HIGH JUDGES
I am writing in reaction to the recent Supreme Court decision regarding medical marijuana [see News Clips, "Supremes Club Cannabis," May 17]. There is one statement in the justice's ruling that is totally against all the precepts of the court. If there were a higher court, the statement would be all that would be necessary to reverse this decision. That statement is: "there is no evidence that marijuana has any medicinal value." Many of us know that the statement itself is false: There have been plenty of studies—many of them federally funded—that indicate the herb has potential for helping in the treatment of many disorders, from hypertension to arthritis, in addition to the treatments for which herb is currently used: cancer, AIDS, etc.
But in addition to being false, the statement is out of the purview of the courts: It states a medical opinion which none of the Most High Judges is qualified to make! The supreme court cannot decide on the validity of medical decisions, but only on the validity of specific laws. Marijuana was not on trial at the supreme court—the laws governing medical use of the herb were. The decision, as worded, is a warning to all of America: Our medical welfare is in the hands of the Republican Party and the justices it appoints, not our doctors!
AUSTRALIA!! THANK GOD!!
I've often heard the phrase, especially on American TV shows, God Bless America. However, it seems that God may have forsaken America, especially Seattle. I have to say however, God Bless Australia and Thank God I live in Australia!! I've just read your article about Seattle's Killer Cops ["License to Kill," November 4, 1999] and although we have some problems down here, they pale into insignificance compared to the "Licensed Killers" you allow to continue to flourish, and practise their "hobby" on your population. I just hope none of them ever decide to come to Australia. We don't want those sort of people down here. We also have a better justice system here which is based upon the British Justice system. Our Public Inquests are extremely wide ranging in their inquiries and are conducted by an independent State Coroner who must, and often does, recommend criminal prosecution where he finds someone was responsible or "contributed" to the death in question.
We watched in horror as Seattle Police beat and bashed protestors recently. Seattle, you do yourself no favours by promoting a legal system that protects those who use it to hide behind the evil they do to others. So God Bless Australia and "Thank You" for making me realise just how well off we are "down under."
Perhaps we've made you "realise" something, there, Crocodile Dundee. Write to Letters Editor, Seattle Weekly, 1008 Western, Ste 300, Seattle, WA 98104; fax to 206-467-4377; or e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org. Please include name, location, and phone number. Rarely do we print anonymous letters. Letters may be edited.