I feel compelled to respond to the opinions expressed by Christian Schlekat in the March 25 letter to the editor.
Capital punishment, as currently practiced in this country, is not a barbarous act. It is a laboriously considered, deliberately calculated, redundantly reviewed and painstakingly administered judgment of punishment. It is not rendered wantonly or indiscriminately.
It is extreme and final.
And yes, it is vengeful. And yes, the families of the victims are entitled to vengeance. Justice is a principle reserved for the victim and the accused.
Justice is served if the actual murderer is the accused and is judged guilty. The law is served if the state's prosecution of the case meets all the procedural and constitutional requirements of a fair trial.
Also, who but the family of the victim shall say what will allay its pain?
Lastly, the proliferation of criminal behavior has its roots in every social, religious and governmental institutional failure.
The criminal justice system is the last line of defense against social misconduct, whether moderate or extreme. And in extreme cases it has the authority and responsibility to act on behalf of the victim by exercising the victim's right to self-defense, even to the point of deadly force, i.e., capital punishment.
I would like to commend The Sun for publication of the story about David Bojanowski (March 8). The need for advanced directives or a living will has become as necessary as a last will and testament.
This became very apparent to me in 1985 when my husband was flown to Shock Trauma after being critically injured at work. Those of us who have experienced having someone close to us && in this kind of situation are profoundly aware of how quickly life can be taken.
Shortly after my husband's accident, my mother, who was fighting breast cancer, had a living will prepared. When she passed away, three years later, she was able to die with some dignity, at home, with those whom she loved near her. The decision regarding the use of life supports and resuscitation had already been made.
I hope that through sharing the experiences of David Bojanowski's family, your readers will be made aware that there is a way to protect your family from the need to consider discontinuing life support. Preparing a living will makes your desires known and subsequently avoids the expense and pain that accompanies that decision.
Can any person in The Sun's readership area foresee the time when the Orioles would cancel a ball game because it conflicted
with graduation ceremonies at UMAB?
Joseph J. Velky
Judge Roszel Thomsen, the man
The Sun's news article (March 12) and editorial (March 13) on Judge Roszel Thomsen well described his life as a civic leader and federal judge. I would like to add a few comments about Judge Thomsen, the person, from the perspective of someone who worked for him.
He was affable and friendly. He was gracious on every occasion, whether in the courtroom or on the street corner.
Judge Thomsen was a people person. When he wrote his judicial opinions he always emphasized the facts (i.e., what the people in the case did) that led him to his decision. He said the law follows the facts.
Finally, perhaps the best insight into Judge Thomsen, the person, was that incredible scene in the large courtroom on the fifth floor of the old federal court house on Calvert Street while the jury was out deliberating in the trial of the Catonsville Nine.
Judge Thomsen and Daniel Berrigan engaged in a dialogue about the evils of war and the dangers of civil disobedience, concluding with Berrigan's concern that the dialogue not blunt the point that the defendants' act of conscience was intended to symbolize.
Then Berrigan asked Judge Thomsen if the defendants could say the Lord's Prayer. Judge Thomsen asked Steve Sachs, the U.S. attorney, if the government had any objection, and Steve said that it would be welcome.
With Judge Thomsen's implicit approval, the defendants began to pray. Don Joseph, one of his law clerks, recalled "the scene, unprecedented before or after, just before the rendering of the obvious verdict of guilty, of an entire courtroom standing to say the Lord's Prayer."
Francis J. Gorman
Barn Fire Fund
We read with distress Dan Fesperman's article March 22 about the six Belleville area Amish farmers, whose barns have been destroyed by an unknown arsonist.
We called the County Observer and were told that donations can sent to:
Kish Valley National Bank
310 Main St.
Belleville, Pa. 17004
E9 Checks should be made out to "Barn Fire Relief Fund."
Dick and Nancy Dietz
Hold your hats, here we go again. That quadrennial funfest, the "presidential year," is upon us. The citizens of the republic will be exposed to an exercise that could serve as a plot for a Gilbert and Sullivan operetta.