Learning from history
Re "He lost in court, won in history," Column One, Jan. 31
Isn't it interesting how humans seem doomed to make the same mistakes again and again? Have the people who are complaining about the proposed Islamic center in Manhattan or the mosque in Temecula learned anything from history?
The U.S. government in the 1940s said in essence that Fred Korematsu, an American of Japanese descent, was a threat to this country. Instead of complaining about Japanese Americans now, people complain about other minorities; this time it's Muslims
When will it ever get through that there is not a terrorist hiding under every bush? When will people learn that people may in one way or another be different, but not dangerous, and that being different is not evil, just different?
After Muslims, which group is next? Will we ever learn?
Robert P. Khoury
Fred Korematsu Day is indeed a time for reflection on civil rights. The schoolchildren in this article were challenged to take action in defending the civil rights of those whose rights are threatened.
Korematsu told the judge he was being singled out not for what he had done but simply for who he was. I was one of the more than 110,000 people who suffered this outrage during World War II.
The lessons learned in the Korematsu case can be applied to cases such as the attempts to deny Muslims the right to build an Islamic center in New York and a mosque in Temecula.
The limits of free speech
Re "Free the Irvine 11," Editorial, Feb. 3, and "UC students protest grand jury scrutiny," Feb. 2
I find it odd that the Irvine 11 are citing the 1st Amendment to protest the Orange County district attorney's investigation of them. I saw the video of what the students did. Their attendance was obviously organized to disrupt the speech because none of them cared to hear what Israeli Ambassador Michael Oren had to say.
It's hypocritical for them to believe that their freedom of speech should be protected when they had no respect for Oren's right to speak. I'm disappointed that UC Irvine did not expel them.
It is simply wrong to target the Muslim students who protested Oren's speech. Although I believe their approach could have been better, this type of protest has been a part of our freedom of speech, especially at colleges.
Did anyone investigate the Jewish protesters in Louisiana who took a similar approach against Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in November? He was interrupted five times by Jewish Voice for Peace protesters during an address to the Jewish Federations of North America. No charges were filed against them.
Why this selective action against American Muslim students?
The students who disrupted Oren's speech and their supporters argue that the students were exercising their right of free speech.
To say that one can deny another's right of free speech in the name of free speech is an example of what George Orwell called "doublethink."
They are also espousing a tenet of the metaphorical pigs in Orwell's "Animal Farm" — that "all animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others."
Calling out the prison guards
Re "Workers blamed for rise in prison phones," Jan. 4
The presence of cellphones in prisons is a serious problem because it contributes to crimes outside the prisons. The primary, or at least a significant, source of cellphones is suspected to be prison guards.
The public has a right to expect that law enforcement does not contribute to crime. If we had a functional government not dominated by powerful special interests, this would be an easy problem to solve.
Instead of checking and delaying all the guards at huge expense, randomly examine a few, saving most of the anticipated increase in pay caused by delays. The possibility of a random search, combined with a significant penalty, would stop the problem in its tracks.
Prison guards being exempt from metal detectors is simply an absurd union rule. Everyone I know is subject to search in buildings where there is security in place.
The pay for walking time is really hilarious. I think I'll bring it up to the bosses and then start to park at least a mile from work.
I consider myself a supporter of unions, but maybe I need to rethink my position.
Prison guards union spokesman JeVaughn Baker pleads that blaming corrections officers for contraband cellphones is all wrong, and justifies the additional cost of policing the police by saying that "the law demands that individuals are compensated for the time that they work."
The impending contract negotiation should be simple: no searches, but those who get caught with a contraband cellphone avoid the commute home for a few years.
You can find cellphone jamming devices on the Internet. Install a few of these in prisons.