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LETTERS TO THE TIMES

Support for Parents Who Said No to Bail

May 11, 2003

Re "Terror Threat, or Wave of Emotion?," April 30:

The story about Kelley Ferguson evokes sadness and compassion for the family of this troubled girl. The reaction of the parents is a refreshing contrast to the usual parental response when a child is caught in crime: "Sure, my son murdered three people, but he's really a good boy at heart." A rare and sturdy realism is heard in Debra Ferguson who speaks of her errant daughter as a "brat." Yet there is no doubt that she loves this child. Kelley's passion for her boyfriend does not augur well for a constructive relationship given their two rap sheets. These parents deserve all the community help and support they can muster in this trying episode.

David H. Wallace

Newport Beach

*

I was a passenger, along with my husband and parents, on Royal Caribbean's Legend of the Seas during the terror threat. When the captain announced that terrorist threats had been made and the ship would be diverted from Hilo to Oahu, thousands of concerned passengers and crew felt vulnerable, powerless.

Many panicked, and most were understandably frightened. On board later that day while dozens of heavily armed police, FBI and Homeland Security agents, assisted by dogs, scoured the ship, passengers and crew were quarantined in cabins and later made to congregate on deck and in a showroom to be interviewed and investigated.

While I understand that Kelley Ferguson made a stupid mistake, she is also an adult who should have understood the gravity of what she was doing, especially after Sept. 11. The issue is less the inconvenience and disappointment she caused but the fear she inflicted.

Mothers with young children were crying, begging to get off the boat, children were frightened and families felt their dreams of a vacation of a lifetime slip away. She deserves to be held accountable for her choices and punished by the law.

Dee Anna S. Behle

Dana Point

*

Good for the parents of Kelley Ferguson, who declined to bail her out of jail. I'm sure it wasn't an easy decision to make. I applaud them for it. I wish more parents would tell their children that they would not bail them out of their irresponsible behavior. This would be a major lesson in teaching responsibility for one's actions and behavior.

I am a retired teacher and witnessed students rarely admitting to their unacceptable actions. Too often they blame others, and their parents side with them despite the evidence.

Betty Ann Emmons

Rossmoor

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