Savor freshness

What's going on in the Lowcountry? I recently went to the Wando Shrimping Co. and discovered that it had closed its doors. Have we forgotten who we are and some of the main reasons we are called the Lowcountry? We are most famous for our fresh-caught seafood and fresh farm-grown veggies.

I realize that it's so much easier to shop at the grocery store but that seafood is not straight out of the water. And nothing tastes better than fresh fish and shrimp. They have a sweeter taste and even smell better. The taste is truly unique and much better than those that are farm-raised.

If we allow the docks to close and the shrimp and fishing boats to fade out of sight, what will be unique about the docks of the Sea Islands?

How can we help? Ask for fresh seafood when you dine at your local restaurants. Ask your local grocery store to carry fresh seafood from the docks of our local fishermen. It may cost a little more, but I challenge you to a taste test. It would be well worth a little extra to get the best the Lowcountry has to offer.

D.C. Fabor

Sixth Avenue

Mount Pleasant

No license to lie

As a retired law professor and libel scholar, I was intrigued by the editorial, "So who's lying now?" in which you strongly (and correctly, I believe) criticized Sen. Harry Reid for his "shameful penchant for avoiding the truth."

In two 1964 cases, New York Times v. Sullivan, a civil liability case, and Garrison v. Louisiana, a criminal defamation case, the Supreme Court delved deeply into what the First Amendment protects in cases involving libel of public officials (the court later extended the same rules to candidates for office and public figures) by either media or non-media parties in cases involving matters of public concern.

The court unequivocally and eloquently affirmed its "profound national commitment to the principle that debate on public issues should be uninhibited, robust, and wide open."

In Garrison, the court discussed in detail why "honestly believed" falsehoods, even if arising out of hatred or ill-will or from negligence, "contribute to the interchange of ideas and ascertainment of truth."

However, in these two cases (and in all later precedent) the court rejected absolute protection for falsehood and allowed for imposition of liability - compensatory damages, punitive damages, and even criminal liability if state law allows - for "calculated falsehood," knowing falsity or statements made in reckless disregard of falsity in this public setting context.

In Garrison, the court gave a compelling rationale for not according absolute First Amendment protection, noting that from the time of the First Amendment's adoption until today "there were those unscrupulous enough and skillful enough to use the deliberate or reckless falsehood as an effective political tool to unseat the public servant or even topple an administration."

Such use of "the known lie as a tool is at once at odds with the premises of democratic government and with the orderly manner in which economic, social, or political change is to be effected."

The court's cases dealt with libelous statements about identified or identifiable public persons and rules of liability.

Yet, more broadly, they provide basic rules of political discourse that all elected officials and candidates for public office should adhere to in engaging in political discourse.

Dishonest - knowingly or recklessly false - statements of fact about matters of public concern taint public discussion, create disrespect for the political process and reflect on the credibility of politicians, regardless of party, who engage in them.

The court's wisdom is worth remembering and following.

David A. Elder

Emeritus Professor of Law

Judith Street

Charleston

Fair play

Are you kidding me? If I read correctly the guy from Northwestern University wants to unionize athletes.

I got a free education by playing football at The Citadel. Granted, I wasn't the best in the bunch but was happy to be there and happy for the opportunity. I will never forget the memories.

Maybe I'm too simplistic but they are getting a free education. So let Kain Colter go back and just pay for his own education and see what he thinks then.

James S. Yarborough

Waring Street

Summerville

Grand grandson

When my grandson West Ralston's ninth birthday was approaching, he asked his mom if he could choose how to spend any money he might get. (It's customary that his grandparents and parents give him money to spend as he would like.) She said it would be his money to spend as he wished.

He told her he would like to spend it on toys and books for the sick children at the MUSC Children's Hospital.

When we heard this, his grandparents all upped the amount of their gifts.

Plus, an aunt chipped in. He "collected" $600.

His mom contacted the Children's Hospital and was told they really needed DVDs, and some toys and books would be good, too.

West was thrilled to take his money to shop with his mom and deliver the gifts. West never once missed spending money on himself. He said he planned to do this again for future birthdays. I am overjoyed with pride.

Mary Lynn West

Rapid Run

Camden

Appeasing cyclists

I have been writing about this for the last year or two. I am happy to see more letters to the editor against the wasteful and ill-conceived efforts to appease bicyclists.

Hopefully those who spend our tax money will wake up.

Along the same issue I have a question. Half of the road around Hampton Park has been given to bicyclists, skaters, runners, and walkers. Why is it still necessary to close the park to motor-vehicle traffic two evenings a week and half a day on Saturday?

The number of people using the roadway during those times could easily be accommodated by the half of the road given to them and the paths within the park.

William E. Folk

8th Avenue

Charleston

Beaches in peril

There may be a good reason my suggestion will not work. There are many smarter, more knowledgeable people out there than myself.

However, parts of Isle of Palms, Folly Beach and Edisto Beach are eroding.

This problem is probably experienced in most coastal beach areas around the world.

Also, the Intracoastal Waterway, Hamlin Creek and Folly River areas are being shoaled in by sand. It seems to me if funds are not available to fix both of these problems, then the re-nourishment sand should be pumped from where the waterways are being filled in.

For example, if I needed money for my checking account and had some in my savings account, then I would move one to the other. It seems so simple.

In the erosion case, you get two solutions for one funding price.

If something is not done soon, we will be taking our boats to the beach and sunning on our waterways.

Ricky Myatt

Forest Trail

Isle of Palms

Honor volunteers

I hope the mayors of local cities and towns know about, and will participate in, the Mayors Day of Recognition for National Service today, highlighting the value of volunteers in our community.

The events that are held in Charleston/North Charleston alone could not happen without the help of volunteers and in some cases the many senior citizens who volunteer.

This special day is being led by the Corporation for National and Community Service, the National League of cities, and Cities of Service.

The support of our tri-county mayors would highlight the impact of citizen service, show support for nonprofit and national service groups, and inspire more residents to serve in their communities.

Marlene Williamon

Christian Road

Charleston