That was a nice photo of the Caterpillar tractors bulldozing sand back onto Folly Beach (Jan. 3 Post and Courier). I noticed it because it is a powerful illustration of the futility of trying to teach sand to "stay." The worst dog I ever owned followed that command better than sand does.

Actually, the only thing more futile than trying to get sand to "stay" on the beach is trying to get people to not build on the beach.

Either way, you may want to save that photo. Most likely you will need it again in a few years.

Terry W. Ryan

Captiva Row

Charleston

In a Jan. 5 letter to the editor a reader said, "Is it not logical to decide what is and is not torture before we come unglued with self-righteousness over an array of various behaviors?"

He then contradicted himself by defining torture as "the infliction of severe pain or physical injury."

Actually, torture is defined in 18 U.S. Code ยง 2340 as "an act committed by a person acting under the color of law specifically intended to inflict severe physical or mental pain or suffering."

So when he says torture should not be condoned "if America is to hold the civilized and moral high ground," he must include mental pain or suffering, which the code goes on to define as "the prolonged mental harm caused by or resulting from the intentional infliction or threatened infliction of severe physical pain or suffering."

Therefore, acts he supports are defined as torture, and he's lost any civilized or moral high ground.

Robert Harris

Somersby Lane

Mount Pleasant

Former Rep. Jimmy Bailey's recent letter to the editor proposing a new method for ethics reform in the state Legislature strikes me as ludicrous.

I had to read it three times, but I think I can paraphrase his idea: A bunch of former elected good old boys police the current elected good old boys, in secret. It seems to me that the main point of becoming a state legislator often is to build a Rolodex that will ensure your continued success in the good old boy network.

This "reform" would certainly help with that, but I can't see how it will help the rest of us.

Ethical people don't need reform. Let's reform our Legislature by electing some.

Jean Everett, Ph.D.

Murphy's Court

Charleston

After months of reading what some people expect of police officers, I have come up with a pretty cut-and-dried procedure to justify using "deadly force."

1) The perpetrator must first show a deadly weapon. It must be a firearm. A knife, club or attack dog quite simply won't do.

2) The perpetrator must fire his firearm at the officer. Just pointing it at him simply won't do.

3) The perpetrator's shot must hit the officer. Just firing at him simply won't do.

4) The perpetrator must hit the officer in a spot that is at least semi-vital. Just a minor flesh wound simply won't do.

Only after these four criteria are achieved may a police officer draw his weapon, and attempt to disable the perp, while keeping in mind he still must try only to wound him in a non-vital spot.

This procedure sounds pretty basic to me, and I believe it would help bring to rest some of the moronic, inane conversation about what a police officer in fear of his life must do before attempting to protect himself.

Earl Thacker

Greymarsh Road

Mount Pleasant

Thank you for the very responsible Jan. 3 editorial on Rep. Alan Clemmons' crazy and highly insensitive idea.

This wacky proposal of an NRA course to brainwash public school children in this already gun-crazy state is bad enough, but to "celebrate" it on the day after the anniversary of the massacre of 20 children of Sandy Hook is the height of meanness.

That elected officials who determine the course of the lives of South Carolinians can promote such irresponsible laws reflects badly on what I believe and hope is the reasonable attitude of most of our citizens.

Michael Griffith

Wappoo Creek Drive

Charleston