Severe CrimeIn a May 15 letter, Benjamin Lipsitz attempts...


June 14, 1993

Severe Crime

In a May 15 letter, Benjamin Lipsitz attempts to excuse the judge's inappropriate sentence in the Gillette rape case.

Mr. Lipsitz's letter confuses the policy of an independent judiciary with a judge's responsibility to impose a sentence that reflects the severity of the crime.

Judicial independence requires that the court be free from undue political influence when making judicial decisions. There has been no allegation in this case that anyone attempted to improperly influence the judge before he made his ruling in this case.

The real issue in the Gillette case is the judge's responsibility when imposing a sentence. Sentencing is meant to let the criminal know the displeasure with which society regards his actions. The sentence should reflect the community's sense of "moral outrage" about the conduct.

What both the judge and Mr. Lipsitz fail to understand is that the sentence in the case does not properly reflect the disgust of our community with the act for which Lawrence A. Gillette was convicted. The punishment, in this case, did not fit the crime.

Donald H. Spence Jr.


Nuclear Arms Cuts

A recent Letter to the Editor ("Save Nukes," May 31) arguing that U.S. should not stop nuclear weapons testing, stated that if testing stopped we would have to get rid of the weapons and that "a major reduction in nuclear weapons would end in world disaster."

This was stated with no supporting rationale. This is similar to the preaching of the National Rifle Association that handgun control will lead to disaster. Neither argument has any basis in fact.

I have followed the discussion of nuclear weapons testing for many years and have repeatedly heard that testing is necessary to make the weapons safe, but I have never heard a cogent case supporting the assertion.

The Center for Defense Information, an organization of military experts -- many of them retired military leaders -- debunks the argument.

But, assuming for the sake of argument that testing is needed for safety, if no one tests are not the perceived enemy's weapons just as unsafe as our own? Doesn't this maintain the MAD (Mutual Assured Destruction) principle?

Leading scientists concluded some 20 years ago that explosion of as few as a thousand nuclear warheads in a nuclear exchange would damage the environment and change the climate to the extent that people, and most other life forms, would not survive.

The U.S. and the former Soviet Union have, between them, at least 10 times the number of nuclear weapons needed to make the earth uninhabitable.

Surely we could do with fewer weapons than we have, even should MAD prove to be the proper operating principle. Experts working on arms reduction negotiations have concluded that about 1,000, and perhaps as few as 100, nuclear weapons would assure our security.

Resumed nuclear weapons testing would scuttle any effort to negotiate a comprehensive nuclear test ban treaty.

We will never be able to make a credible case for more nations to sign the nuclear non-proliferation treaty if we resume nuclear weapons testing. And the likelihood is that resumption of testing would cause some nations that have signed the treaty to opt out when it comes time for renewal in 1995.

There is no credible case showing that resumed testing would increase our security, and there is ample evidence that it could decrease our security by encouraging proliferation of nuclear weapons.

Therefore, we should all urge President Clinton to permanently renounce nuclear weapons testing and work diligently to negotiate and adopt a comprehensive nuclear test ban treaty.

J. Wayne Ruddock


Ain't Difficult

I am one of those "purists" about whom you wrote in your May 30 editorial, "That Ain't Good English, Is It?"

Some of us "purists" might accept "I ain't" reluctantly since there is no contraction for "am not."

However, in each example that you gave, why is using "isn't" so difficult, i.e. "It isn't done yet;" "There isn't any stopping us now," and "If it isn't broken (not broke), don't fix it."

Willie J. Walker


Wrong Calendar

The Sun (May 26) carried a lovely picture of Israelis celebrating the previous day as Jerusalem Day. This celebration commemorated the 26th anniversary of the unification, under Israeli rule, of the holy city of Jerusalem, the eternal capital of Israel.

While the mention of the anniversary was greatly appreciated, your caption spoke volumes on how lacking is your knowledge about Israel, its people and its holidays.

Your caption writer automatically assumed that a 26-year anniversary would reflect a date of May 19, 1967. In actuality, the date is calculated by the Hebrew calendar as the 28th of Iyar, which corresponds to June 7, 1967.

A small amount of checking would have proven this point. The Six-Day War of June 1967 had a major impact on the Jewish communities of the entire world and the dates are very significant.

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