Missing in action

I saw on the news the remains of Maj. Gen. Harold Greene's body being returned to United States soil. Maj. Gen. Greene served this country for 34 years and died in Afghanistan on a training mission.

I saw no sign of government officials like our commander in chief or his designated representative on the tarmac in Dover, Del. Where was Vice President Joe Biden, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel or Army Chief of Staff Gen. Raymond T. Odierno?

Maj. Gen. Greene deserved a better welcome home than he received.

Dennis L. Compton

Filly Court

North Charleston

Clamagore tribute

I realize that for all practical purposes the fate of the USS Clamagore is a done deal and there is nothing I can do about it.

However, since Charleston accepted this lovely lady, I feel we as South Carolinians and especially we in Charleston owe her something other than a watery grave.

During World War II the United States lost 53 submarines but only five aircraft carriers. We would have lost many more carriers if not for submarine coverage.

During the many years following WWII, the safety of Charleston and the United States depended on the U.S. Navy and her submarines with their crews to keep us safe and the world at peace.

Let's not forget the billions of dollars Charleston received and spent because of the submarines. I hope with all my heart that those in authority will build a fitting memorial to our submariners at Patriot Point.

Just for the record, I am not a former submariner, although I did have the honor of sailing with them for three short days, at which time I gained a new respect for all members of our submarine fleet.

Andrew W. Burk Jr.

Coach Road

Holly Hill

Horse rescues

Horse rescues provide an important safety net for horses that are truly in need, and by their nature, they are always at capacity and seeking to raise funds to help the greatest number of horses.

But rescues should not be viewed as a way for owners to shrug themselves of responsibility, and neither should slaughter. ("Horse rescue agencies need help themselves," Aug. 3).

Horse slaughter isn't humane euthanasia; it is a cruel and terrifying death, regardless of whether it occurs in the U.S. or abroad. And horse slaughter isn't a solution for abuse and neglect.

More than 100,000 American horses are sent to their death in slaughterhouses every year, yet horse abuse and neglect continue.

American horses are companions and partners in work and sport - not a disposable commodity. Federal legislation, the Safeguard American Food Exports (SAFE) Act, H.R. 1094/S. 541, will prevent horse slaughter from resuming in the United States and close our borders to the industry for good.

Sen. Lindsey Graham sponsored this important legislation, and Sen. Tim Scott should do the same.

Kimberley Kelly

S.C. State Director

The Humane Society

of the United States

Mabry Drive

Johns Island

A bridge too high

So it's been decided: The Highway 41 bridge will be 55 feet high instead of the more sensible 35 feet. Most people think that decision was a mistake, but we have the perfect opportunity to turn a negative into a positive by at least naming the bridge correctly.

Oh please, please let's name the Highway 41 bridge the Thomas Ravenel Bridge, for like the bridge's namesake, it will reflect poor judgment and be an awkward embarrassment to the community. And it will never go away.

We need to look no farther than downstream towards the Arthur Ravenel Bridge (and in turn, its namesake) for an example of true strength, grace and ongoing service to the community.

Rich Gonzales

Bowline Drive

Mount Pleasant

A cruel waste

A July 28 article titled "Three death row inmates granted reprieves in Dorchester County" notes the difficulty and costs associated with re-sentencing hearings in capital cases, but fails to explain important background information.

Kenneth Simmons was found to be ineligible for a death sentence after a circuit court judge concluded that "the evidence overwhelmingly shows" that he is intellectually disabled (previously called "mental retardation").

The Supreme Court of the United States ruled in 2002 that a person with an intellectual disability is categorically excluded from capital punishment under the Eighth Amendment's ban on "cruel and unusual" punishments.

Everyone, including Simmons' teachers, friends, family, all of the experts who testified at his post-conviction relief hearing, and the judge who heard the evidence, has recognized that Simmons is intellectually disabled.

The state's appeal of this ruling is far from a pursuit of justice. Rather, it is a waste of judicial resources and taxpayer money.

Moreover, it is true that years of appeals are painful for victims' families, as they are for the families of the defendants. But this article overlooks the state's exclusive role in deciding whether to seek death.

If prosecutors are concerned about lengthy appeals and costs to the state, they could easily opt not to seek another death sentence, which would mean that the defendant will spend the rest of his life in prison.

This would bring immediate closure for victims' families, allowing them to finally begin to put these terrible events behind them.

Prosecutors often decide to seek death for their own political gain. Their decision to do so comes with enormous financial and emotional costs to everyone involved.

It is misleading and inaccurate for the prosecution to complain about those costs as if it plays no role at all in determining whether society will be forced to bear them.

Emily Paavola

Executive Director

Death Penalty Resource

and Defense Center

Elmwood Avenue

Columbia

Loyal, dedicated

Not too long ago a letter writer praised three South Carolina politicians as being Southern gems. A few days later another letter writer added another person to the list of gems.

And that made me wonder, with so many gem politicians in our state, how come South Carolina is always on the bottom of the list in just about everything?

Let's look at the American Heritage English dictionary for the definition of the word "gem." A gem is something that is valued for its beauty or perfection, a beloved or highly prized person. Nothing personal, but I don't think that any one of them fits in that category.

These career politicians did their work the best way they could, and they were dedicated public servants, not gems.

Also, it wasn't coincidence that all of them are Republicans, which means that the mentality is that in South Carolina only the Republican party can produce gems.

This former Republican, who became an independent after seeing the damage war-loving hawks (Republicans) were doing to our country, doesn't think so. That's why I want to add to the list of dedicated public servants, not to the list of gems, because such a list does not exist for politicians everywhere.

The statesman who did much for our state and especially for the Charleston area is the honorable retired Sen. Ernest Hollings, who just happens to be a Democrat.

G.A. Monocrusos

Savannah Highway

Charleston

Defend yourselves

After reading Beau Bridges' column in which he says that not only he but four out of seven of his immediate family have had guns pointed at them, I believe one of two solutions would fix that problem.

Move out of the neighborhood or buy a gun.

Moshe Arfa

Cliffwood Drive

Mount Pleasant