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Girl Killed in House Fire

May 21, 1988

When Third World dictators, communists the world over, or even leftists at home accuse the United States of human rights abuses, we laugh. We dismiss them as crazy--as either trying to justify their own horrible abuses, or as propaganda-minded extremists.

The reason we laugh, justifiably so in some cases, is because we have a fundamental misunderstanding of the term "human rights," which we define as political rights: the rights of free speech, free thought, and the right to a general freedom from organized oppression. Yet these rights, valuable and important as they are, only fall under the umbrella of human rights, rights which encompass a whole lot more.

Sadly, in a great city in this great nation, the wealthiest, most powerful nation on earth, the most basic and fundamental right of a little 9-year-old girl was denied--the right to live.

Tammy Tiggs, we discover, was denied that right for two reasons: ignorance, and her mother's failure to pay a $34 electric bill. The power company, which is set up only as a business, is probably not responsible for the denial of Tammy Tiggs' rights. However, the state, and therefore its people are. Tammy Tiggs' rights were denied for the worst possible reason: money.

Yes, in America the concept of human rights is alive and well. Sometimes, though, those rights may cost a few bucks.

HOOMAN MAJD

Beverly Hills

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