Letters for June 21, 2007

Hate the crime
Re “Fair treatment for all” (Letters, June 7):

Nicole Ramsey’s letter is totally wrong. There is very good reason to oppose the Matthew Shepard Act.

In 1998, homosexual Matthew Shepard was murdered in Wyoming and the case immediately became a cause célèbre. The Lexis-Nexis database reported over 3,000 media mentions of it in the next month, and Shepard even made the cover of Time magazine.

Then, in 1999, 13-year-old Jesse Dirkising was sodomized and murdered by two adult homosexuals in Arkansas. This time, however, the Hate Police were conspicuous with their silence. Outside of Arkansas, the only papers that covered the murderer’s trial daily were the Tulsa World and the Memphis Commercial Appeal.

You’ll notice the hate crime legislation is called the Matthew Shepard Act instead of the Jesse Dirkising Act. If it passes, the homophiles will no doubt escalate their demands. In some countries, as in Britain and Sweden, it’s now a punishable crime even to say anything unkind about homosexuals. Can we expect the same?

Apparently, no crime is ever a hate crime unless it’s committed by whites against liberals’ pet victims. If you’re white and normal, forget it. No matter how brutally you’re murdered or what the motive was, it will never be a hate crime. Just one more illustration of liberal hypocrisy.

Bill Hamma

Lettuce prey
Re “Summer in the Hamptons” (Editor’s Note, May 24):

Your editor’s note was semi-amusing until you got to the part about decimating the wildlife that upset your little piece of earth.

What a horrible message to send out to kids that read RN&R and any impressionable, dumb-ass adults who may think that there is no way to co-exist with wildlife.

I admire that you did look into other avenues [of getting rid of pest rabbits].

Try these before you subject little bunnies to debilitating and not always lethal pellet guns or the one-handed crossbow (what a warrior!!): Pour black pepper around the perimeter of your garden and around the plants, or take a bar of soap, grate it or peel it with a vegetable peeler and sprinkle the soap shavings around where you do not want critters. Get some silver Mylar, cut it into three-foot strips and tie it to two-foot poles around your garden (dimensions not exact). They move with the slightest breeze, catch the light, look pretty and keep many types of wildlife from your precious plants.

I hope you can learn to coexist with things that are bothersome to you rather than destroying the annoyances in your life.

Tracy Banick

Fight the infection
When you go into the hospital, you don’t expect to get an infection that might kill you. Many people have experienced the pain and suffering that can result from hospital-acquired infections. According to the Centers for Disease Control, 90,000 people die each year in the United States from hospital-related infections. Patients released from the hospital sometimes carry this infection and, therefore, they have the potential to spread the infection outside of the hospital. Hospital-acquired Staph infections and other hospital-acquired infections can be dramatically reduced by proven techniques that are endorsed by the CDC and the Society for Healthcare Epidemiology in America. Some U.S. hospitals have implemented these effective prevention strategies to reduce the needless spread of infections, but many others will not unless the public demands it.

A recent study found that hospital patients with common methicillin resistant staph aureus (MRSA) infections were four times as likely to die, will stay in the hospital two-and-a-half times as long and are charged three times as much. This is an issue that has the potential to have a dramatic, negative impact on each of our lives and on the lives of our loved ones. To help make a difference, view Consumer Unions’ Web site, stophospitalinfections.org. I know that many people hesitate to get involved in causes. However, this is an issue that might have a significant impact on your life at any moment. Most of us will end up hospitalized at some point in our lives.

Mark A. Miller

Hook’s illogical
Re “Class is in for legally challenged” (Right Hook, June 14):

As anyone who has taken a freshman-level course in critical reasoning should know, a sure sign of the weakness of an argument is the number of rhetorical tricks and logical fallacies it contains. Mike Lafferty’s diatribe regarding the Matthew Shepard Act could be used as a case study in such a class. It is a catalog of easily recognizable fallacies; e.g. the ad hominem attack (describing Sen. Kennedy as a “Democrat windbag"), the emotional appeal (too many examples to cite), and the red herring (the unrelated debate over gay marriage).

To be clear, hate crime legislation has nothing to do with punishing thought. Only violent criminal actions are punished. Clearly, hate crime legislation is not unconstitutional, as the four decades it has been challenged in courts have shown. The Matthew Shepard Act does nothing more than add additional groups to those protected by existing federal legislation, and it gives local law enforcement agencies access to federal resources when investigating and prosecuting such crimes. Nevada’s state-level hate crimes statutes already include sexual orientation as a protected category.

There is a real need for such legislation.

Kirk Rader