Rick Anderson's piece "Execution's toll" [5/25] lists only two reason for the death penalty: vengeance and closure for victims' families. I would like to point out that both of these are appalling reasons to take anyone's life and are not valid reasons for the death penalty.
If a person is put to death to satisfy vengeance, God's role is usurped and a murderous intent is carried out, irrespective of process served, 'due' or otherwise.
In the second instance, if a person is put to death to bring about closure, then the persons who get closure this way have put their emotional state in the hands of others (a risky action, that), and they have also spent another's life to assuage their own discomfit. This is killing for gain, also an outcropping of murderous intent.
For myself, I am outraged when murderous intent is brought to fruition; I hope that you are, too. And I would assert that the reason that I am outraged is that to 'spend' human life in that way is outrageous, because human life has intrinsic value.
But that then brings us to the reason for capital punishment: When someone does something so heinous as to take the intrinsically valuable life of another, there can be no just punishment short of the forfeiture of their own life—explicitly because human life is so valuable.
Please note that I am not presenting this as a 'deterrent.' I therefore would reject the allusion that Rick makes when he says, "Though the vengeance penalty has proved not to be a deterrent. . . ." as I do not see the purpose of the death penalty as deterrence, but as just punishment.
Dr. Laura's world
Ryan King states in his letter [Letters, 5/25] that we, as people, need to "step out of fantasy land and change your TV to a different channel." To that statement I would like to offer to him and all of the supporters of Dr. Laura [see "KING of controversy," 5/18] a heartfelt (and well needed I am sure) FUCK YOU.
Do you, Ryan, realize that even if we did change our channels as you propose, there are millions of those that would watch and that the hate would continue to grow? Do you actually listen to that woman and hear how she berates EVERYONE that doesn't fit into [her] "perfect world"? I think that she even has issues with God!
Stopping that female animal ( apologies do go out to all of the animal kingdom) from getting on television is a very necessary issue. At some point in time we have to realize that telling someone they are worthless is wrong. Hell, just the fact that she is being so judgmental alone is wrong if she is supposed to help others get through difficult times in their lives and help them understand things. Imagine her helping your child while he or she is dealing with an unplanned pregnancy or sexual orientation issues. And people wonder why the teen suicide rate is so high.
So, to you, Ryan, and to all of those who think like you: Think for a change. Hate is not a good thing.
Besides, if you read the Bible, it does say "Judge not lest ye be judged."
Forest, trees, flat tire
Unfortunately both the pro- and anti-spray proponents have missed the forest for the trees ("Moth-eaten state," 5/18). To quote the great soil scientist Dr. William Albrecht, "Insects and disease are the symptoms of a failing crop, not the cause of it. . . . It's not the overpowering invader we must fear but the weakened condition of the victim."
Focusing on ways to eradicate the moth is like focusing on the best way to inflate a tire that has a hole in it. No matter how you fill the tire, you will still have a flat further down the road. The real problem with the trees is the result of poor ecological practices such as monoculture, depleted soils, environmental pollution, and inferior seed stock. Fix these, and the moths will disappear all by themselves.
ALAN ISMOND, P. ENG.
Interesting that Mr. Parrish wants to pile on blame for problems that Governor Locke inherited ["10 things Gary Locke could do if he had a spine," 5/18]. Shouldn't these have been fixed when they first arose? My favorite is # 3, "Put some real money into transportation." How quickly everyone forgets past regrets. Has Mr. Parrish forgotten (or perhaps wasn't living here at the time) the nearly $750 billion dollars the Feds gave away to cities in 1987 to build rapid transit? Chicago took the money, so did Portland, San Francisco, and Minneapolis. But no, Seattle (and Western Washington) said, "No, no, we don't need rapid transit, we need a bus tunnel to get all that nasty mass commuter traffic off the road," and at a tune of $350 million dollars of taxpayer money. As I recall, Gary Locke was not the governor at the time. Why suggest that the blame falls on him?
I surely agree that something needs to be done about the transportation issues facing Western Washington along with some of the other issues Mr. Parrish raises. However, being governor doesn't come with a magic wand to just do whatever you want, when you want. We live in a state that not only has two very different lifestyles (west of the Cascades vs. east of the Cascades), but a varied political ideology amongst it's constituents. I don't think making big statements that leave marks are a great way to keep the job, if you catch my drift. I think Mr. Parrish should look into seeing a chiropractor, his spine seems a little too stiff.
Thank you for the editorials about police/ military convergence ["Beyond Teamsters and turtles," 4/27], and the left and right coming together on common issues ["Boys in blue—and green," 5/11]. Both were dead on. It is good to see others beyond the traditional patriot and Constitutionalist people putting two and two together about how we are slowly, and sometimes not so slowly, evolving into a police state, as law enforcement and military put the maintenance of order and security and application of force above the law, our inalienable rights, and the Constitution. We as Americans can no longer let them rationalize their actions in the name of safety, or the children, or anything else. No amount of safety is worth the loss of our freedom. We cannot let corrupt and unprincipled jackboots trample over the population.
Secondly, in your article about left/right cooperation, I appreciate your honesty about the 'right' and refusing to lump us all together in one category. We are as diverse and shaded as the 'left,' from pure anarcho-libertarians to Rockefeller Republicans. It burns me when I am constantly thrown in with supremacists and neo-Nazis, some of whom are as statist as any communist around. Furthermore, you even had the honesty to show that sometimes the spectrum gets blurred, with some groups being both 'left' and 'right,' adopting things like neo-Nazism with environmentalism and Druidic religious beliefs at the same time. Things indeed are not as cut and dried as most bubble-headed journalists try to make them.
One thing I also wanted to mention; you talked about the American Front promoting a belief they called the Third Wave or Third Way??? Do you know that Bill Clinton, Al Gore, Tony Blair, and their cohorts also talk frequently about a Third Way, and in fact the WTO itself is one of the manifestations of this ideology??? Almost confusing sometimes to keep track of it all.
All I can say is that the political spectrum is changing and is shaping up as the People against the Elite. Thanks again for being honest enough to point it out.
Just a note of thanks for Emily White's review of Sherman Alexie's Toughest Indian in the World ["Reservation cues," 5/11]. I appreciate your writer's objective understanding of the issues Mr. Alexie writes about and her careful sampling of the book's contents to share with the reader. It is a beautifully written review.
Next big thing
I was somewhat surprised and gratified to see the article on proteomics by Roger Downey in the Weekly ["Your genes at work, 5/18]. As the founder of a Seattle based company called ProteoTools, my company is in the process of bringing new technology solutions to bear on this enormous opportunity. Seeing the press begin to appropriately discuss the 'next steps' after the Human Genome Project is helping all of us in this field tremendously by accurately conveying the message that it is proteins that give context to the information in genes.
Not only the ever-present Craig Venter of Celera, but many large and small bioinformation suppliers and users are beginning to appreciate this truth. Their gene databases and even their information on when and where genes are turned on and off have not translated into new drug leads. It is beginning to test the blind faith their pharmaceutical clients have had in bioinformatics. Proteomics promises to deliver more than just clues. Your phrase, "a kind of biochemical freeze-frame motion picture" is a very accurate description of the detailed picture that this new field promises.
Ruedi Aebersold's ICAT technology, described in the article, was first unveiled last May at the International Bio99 meeting, held here in Seattle. It is a major improvement over current protein analysis technology and is clearly moving in the right direction. His collaboration with PE Biosystems represents a big science approach to proteomics. It complements many other approaches and there is plenty of room in this emerging field for novel solutions, especially those that make proteomics accessible to more researchers. Meanwhile, Leroy Hood's Institute for Systems Biology is also emerging as an international focus of bioinformation here in Seattle.
One thing that was not brought out in your article was the staggering amount of protein data to be mined for useful knowledge. Perhaps five to 10 thousand genes are active in any cell at one time but after modifications, which can not be predicted from the genes, there can be millions of variations of proteins in the final tally. Moreover, in human beings there are more than 250 cell types, each with a different "proteome" and there are how many economically important species? No matter how fast Dr. Aebersold identifies proteins, there will be a need for more approaches.
As the Puget Sound region develops its biotech community and becomes a major player in this "Next Big Thing," there may very well be yet another icon associated with Seattle.
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