Dialogue

Posted: August 04, 2014

ISSUE | N.J. BAIL REFORM

Plan tramples

the rights of many

Allowing nonviolent people ensnared in the criminal justice system who pose no risk to the community to be freed before trial without posting bail is an ingenious and revenue-saving policy that is long-overdue ("Wrong role for SCLC," July 30). However, stripping away the constitutional right to bail for 8.5 million New Jersey residents is too much of a compromise.

The rhetoric surrounding the proposed constitutional amendment to remove the right to bail speaks of making communities safer. Yet it does nothing to address the entrenched conditions that feed the assembly line of violence, particularly in our inner cities. This tough-on-crime policy and the rhetoric around it are reminiscent of the failed war on drugs.

Furthermore, it is not just violent criminals who could be held without bail. The proposal would allow anyone accused of a first-degree crime to be held with no bail if believed to be a threat.

To make communities safer, address the reasons gangs are never short on members: inhumane housing conditions, failed educational systems, and the host of other conditions that help feed the counterculture.

|Randy Thompson, Asbury Park

ISSUE | GAZA

Bunkered world

Muhlenberg College professor George Heitmann's proposal that Israel should not respond to Hamas aggression for a year is not only devoid of any moral compass, but counter to Western civilization's historical norm of defeating evil ("The case for restraint in the Middle East," July 28). Imagine if, prior to the London Blitz, rather than making his famous "fight on the beaches" speech, Winston Churchill had said, "We will sit in our shelters for one year." What would our world look like today?

|Marvin Schlanger, Cherry Hill

Open to peace plan

It's time for Congress to press for lifting the blockade on Gaza - which the International Committee of the Red Cross has called a collective punishment of civilians - and for a lasting, negotiated cease-fire.

|Pamela Haines, Philadelphia, pamelahaines1@gmail.com

ISSUE | SPORTSMANSHIP

Kicking the dust of criticism off their spikes

I was saddened to hear that the Taney Dragons players faced social-media attacks or anything but praise for their win in the Little League state tournament ("Little League champs had to fight big battles," July 30). I had the good fortune to umpire a couple of their games, was a volunteer with the host league, and watched them both on and off the field. I saw a great group of kids - a real team - playing and enjoying each other's company. To a player, they were always polite, friendly, and good-natured. From speaking with their parents, it was clear that the apples didn't fall far from the tree.

I wish them the best of luck at the Mid-Atlantic regionals in Connecticut. I hope the only thing they hear from here on out is positive, and that they remember only the great time and great friends they've made as part of their experience.

|Bruce Pluta, Harleysville

ISSUE | ELECTION 2014

Homegrown talents, grasp of N.J. district

I am so thrilled to finally have a candidate for Congress in the Third District who I can genuinely respect and to whom I can give my complete support. Because Aimee Belgard grew up here and is raising her family here, I know she will fight to bolster programs that we believe in, putting more emphasis on education and less on special interests. She will fight against climate change and against the dangerous denial of the science that confirms it. Because her children are growing up here, I know Belgard will try to foster tolerance and inclusion instead of bigotry and divisiveness.

|Lilly Moskowitz, Columbus, lilly0531@comcast.net

ISSUE | OBAMACARE CHALLENGES

Get it right or take a seat in the waiting room

The Inquirer's conclusion that gains from the Affordable Care Act "should not be threatened by legal hairsplitting" comes close to saying that the ends justify the means ("Technical difficulties," July 31). But if we are to have a government of laws and not of men, then we have to adhere to laws as written.

It is not uncommon that a 2,000-page bill has drafting errors. Usually, Congress passes technical fixes. Because Obamacare was passed on a strictly party-line vote, Republicans have no interest in ensuring the law's success. If there is a lesson for the future, it is that such far-reaching legislation needs bipartisan support even if that means making compromises.

|Andrew Terhune, Philadelphia

ISSUE | FAST LANE

Safer since speed limits have been loosened

Lowering speed limits does not reduce fatalities; quite the opposite, according to National Highway Transportation Safety Administration data ("Limits of sanity on region's roads," July 28). Our efforts should be to prevent drunken driving, since the agency reports that it was responsible for 10,322 traffic deaths in 2012, 31 percent of the total.

|Nick O'Dell, Phoenixville

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