Life, not death
Federal prosecutors are seeking the death penalty in the trial of the man accused in the Boston Marathon bombing. What happened that day was horrific, violence with no purpose other than to kill or maim, without regard for who, only how many.
Should the man be found guilty, however, the death penalty might be the wrong sentence. While we must stand strong against extremists' violence, we must not unwittingly further their causes by making martyrs of them. I refuse to use the defendant's name here; if he's guilty, he doesn't deserve even that small degree of recognition.
Executing him would not make the dead come to life or the maimed whole again. Using death for retribution, in fact, is something we hear from those who sympathize with people like him and his motives - "Death to America!" Death seems to be their answer to even the smallest slights or perceived insults.
Caricatures in a Danish newspaper and a book by Salman Rushdie, for example, were both met with immediate cries for death. Do we really want to be like that?
We should instead lock the man away to waste his natural life in anonymity, nameless except for his prisoner number. Let him wallow in his own self-righteousness with the knowledge that it did nothing to further his cause, that while many will remember the tragedy, few if any will remember the man.
Seabrook Island Road
Concerning an editorial in Thursday's paper, the Sustainability Advisory Committee, which meets quarterly, had a meeting set for Feb. 11, and it was rescheduled for March 11. The members of the committee were advised of the rescheduled date.
This frequently happens to meetings because of scheduling problems for me and for staff. There is a lot going on.
It seems it would have been better for the readers of The Post and Courier to know the meeting had been rescheduled and not canceled.
JOSEPH P. RILEY JR.
Mayor, City of Charleston
A tiny Jan. 30 article was titled "Kids found in heatless house; mom charged." Am I the only one who finds this appalling? Not only did Duke Energy shut off this woman's heat when there were reports of an unprecedented ice storm the next day, but then she was arrested. What kind of a society can put this family at risk of death for back payments?
To be fair, maybe Duke did not see the TV reports asking people to stay home or the article in The Post and Courier, "Winter storm watch issued." But to turn off the heat to a woman with three children the day before this major storm is a disgrace. Duke Energy reported a profit of $1 billion and a rise in third quarter earnings of 69 percent in November 2013. What profit would it have lost to wait a few months until the weather changed to help a small family struggling to survive?
Dorothy Lemmey, Ph.D.
Chip your dog
My missing Pomeranian has been returned to me, thanks to the chip I had implanted when he was a puppy. I learned a lot over the three days he was missing.
Most people are kind and will go out of their way to help you find your pet. If not for the chip, getting my Red back would have been more difficult; however, just chipping your animal doesn't mean he will be returned.
All vets are required by state law to scan an animal that comes to their practice. But if you haven't filed a report with animal shelters, notified vets in the area, told the police department, and generally made a pest of yourself, vets have no reason to believe they are dealing with a lost animal.
Fortunately, I had filled out a missing animal form with the SPCA just 20 minutes before Animal Control brought him in. I don't know where he had been for three icy, cold, wet days, only that he was dry, and his hair not matted.
Small, local businesses went out of their way to help.
If you love your pet, have him wear a collar and tag, get him chipped, then get it registered. If he is missing, let everyone know. It's the only way to get him back.
Save the coyotes
Citizens on the Isle of Palms and Sullivan's Island must stand up for the coyotes. The forests they inhabit are not used by people going to the beach or exploring. Coyotes don't want to have anything to do with people.
Some mistakenly suspect that they thrive off the large deer population. Actually, coyotes are small compared to deer and only rarely eat fawns.
They are helpful to us because they eat rats, which spread disease, and moles, which make a mess of yards. Probably, the coyotes that arrive in citizens' yards at night smell food from trash that is in bins or trash lying on the street. They do not like to eat cats or toddlers.
I don't think anyone should be leaving a child in the middle of the yard unsupervised at 1 a.m. (since coyotes are nocturnal). If a coyote eats a cat, it probably is as a last resort because food supplies are low. Citizens should just live with them because they are not harmful unless you annoy them. If a coyote is near you (the chance of one attacking you is extremely low because they are afraid of humans), call 911.
To find out more read the new brochure that the town of Sullivan's Island offers about how coyotes and people can live together. I hope we can live with these beautiful creatures.
Help S.C. State
We do not need to dump on S.C. State University with another investigation right now. Particularly when new President Thomas Elzey has sent a letter to the S.C. Budget and Control Board outlining the reasons for a projected cash flow shortfall of $4.4 million.
According to President Elzey, the shortfall was "due primarily to declining student enrollment," but he also listed a number of other contributing factors, including significant debt service, a reduction in federal Plus Loan and Pell Grants for students and the elimination of certain non-recurring sources of revenue.
The president outlined major initiatives under way to address these problems, some of which have already begun to have a positive impact on the school's financial statements.
President Elzey has invited South Carolina lawmakers to visit him or the university's chief financial officer to answer any questions.
The state budget director has asked for a written plan within two weeks for more specifics to deal with the shortfall.
This president was elected less than one year ago when the school was swirling with allegations of breach of trust and impropriety.
The current board is in transition and will soon be composed of almost all new trustees.
We think we as lawmakers must give the new administration and board time to implement the programs they believe necessary to get the school back on the right track.
The president's disclosure should be welcomed and applauded as a big step in the right direction.
Instead of pointing fingers and calling for an investigation, we should remember how vital South Carolina State is to South Carolina and that we are all in this together.
SEN. John Matthews
Sen. Matthews represents District 39 (Berkeley, Calhoun, Colleton, Dorchester and Orangeburg counties)
SEN. Marlon Kimpson
Mary Ellen Drive
Sen. Kimpson represents District 42 (Charleston and Dorchester counties)
Regarding Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel's orders to place renewed emphasis on moral behavior amid military problems, may I suggest he start at the top.
James A. Kenny
Captain, U.S. Navy (Retired)
Timber Race Course