Letters to the Editor for May 14
9/11 suspects’ trial making a mockery of U.S. justice system
Re May 6 AP article, “Five 9/11 suspects defiant in court”: Fortunately, most of us have not had the occasion to face a judge and jury in an American court. Some of us have had the opportunity to witness courtrooms in progress, and we have observed that certain decorum is rigorously enforced.
But the recent spectacle of the trial of Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and his four Muslim friends is a slap in the face to the American justice system. While the trial is governed by the U.S. Code of Military Justice, it is embarrassing to hear that the five alleged terrorists are permitted to perform in front of our military judges.
During the initial process last Saturday [May 5], the accused promoted jihad and discredited American institutions in initiating unscheduled prayers by getting on their knees on prayer rugs given to them for such acts.
One of the five used a paper airplane to announce his disdain for the prosecution. All five were permitted to wear head coverings, something not allowed in public courts, and then threw off their headphones through which information was translated into Arabic.
Even talking out during the arraignment was tolerated. One of the terrorists’ American lawyers even wore a black hibab and covered her head with an abaya while urging other women in the military to do the same, so that the men on trial would not be tempted into sin.
Then it was pointed out that the information gotten through “torture” would not be allowed. Torture? Forcing innocent men and women to jump from windows 20 stories in the air is torture. Flying airplanes into office buildings is torture.
Tolerance is a wonderful idea. However, teaching that concept to the alleged accused does not seem to work.
Allen R. Remaley
Sch’dy must try harder to fight teen pregnancy
Re May 2 article, “Teen pregnancies on rise in city”: We applaud the Gazette’s decision to highlight the problem of teen pregnancy in Schenectady County. Despite overall decreases throughout the country, teen pregnancy is on the rise in Schenectady, a fact that we, as health care workers, have been witnessing clinically.
Not only are we experiencing increased rates in the 15- to 19-year-old group but, even more alarming, we are now seeing more in the 10- to 14-year-old group. Clearly the abstinence-based education program has not been effective.
The Albany school system appears to be attacking the problem, as it has welcomed Planned Parenthood into the schools from middle school on, and introduced its skills-communication-based program.
Why is Planned Parenthood not welcome in Schenectady schools? The statistics and the child parents we see would indicate that this should no longer be tolerated. Where is the Schenectady school board when we need them?
The societal and health care costs of caring for these children having children, and their children, far exceed the implementation of one school-based program.
Carolyn Levine, MD
The letter was signed by two other doctors.
Don’t just ignore the ones you can’t educate
I can’t help but notice all the changes being made to public education in an effort to save money.
I spent 34 years in public education. I’ve taught rural, suburban, urban and reform school. Safe to say, I’ve experienced the full gamut of education.
In doing graduate work at SUNY Albany, I did research on education processes [elsewhere]. All their students take the same curriculum with no special help. They are tested at age 12; those who score poorly are done with their educations. The remaining students continue with their education until the age of 14, when they’re tested again. Some will be sent to trade schools to learn a career while the better scorers will go on with their formal education. They are tested again at 18. This will determine what colleges they will be allowed to enter.
I realize something has to be done for those unwanted 12-year-olds. We can start sweatshops here to keep them off the streets and under supervision. Of course, we’d have to offer tax incentives to encourage those businesses to start here.
President Kennedy once considered creating the position of commissioner of education. He offered it to Admiral [Hyman G.] Rickover. When he was questioned by Congress, Rickover was asked his philosophy of education. It was simple — educate the best and shoot the rest. I disagree with it, but I wonder where our public education is heading.
Atheists soldiers should try to live and let live
At Camp Pendleton in California, an atheist group is challenging a group of Marines who put up a cross in honor of four heroes who died in Iraq. The reason they are challenging the placement of the cross is it sends a message of “exclusion.”
I find it so ironic that a group of non-believers finds it necessary to silence the voice of faith-believing people — especially those who defend our country — and, as a mother of a soldier currently serving in Kuwait, it is a slap in the face.
Instead of the atheists worrying about where crosses are placed, why don’t they spend their time where it really counts, like volunteering at the City Mission, an animal rescue group, a nursing home, etc.?