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LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

The U.S. decision not to release photos of Osama bin Laden's body; California won't execute anyone this year; punishing GOP legislators for lack of progress on the budget

May 08, 2011
  • In this 1998 file photo, Osama Bin Laden speaks to a selected group of reporters in Afghanistan. (Rahimullah Yousafzai / Associated Press)
In this 1998 file photo, Osama Bin Laden speaks to a selected group of reporters…

Bin Laden's death

Re "Bin Laden photo withheld," May 5

No matter what President Obama does about the pictures of Osama bin Laden's body, there will always be some skeptics who will insist it never happened. I'm sure there are plenty of Obama haters who will take the other side of whatever he does.

So why not take a middle-of-the-road approach? Invite several of the more levelheaded leaders of both political parties (not the crazies like Michele Bachmann, Sarah Palin and Donald Trump) to view the pictures and verify to the public that they are authentic.

This, of course, won't solve the problem completely, but it should satisfy most of the doubters.

Bernard Rapkin

Los Angeles

The reason Obama gave for not releasing the Bin Laden photos is entirely nonsensical. It's difficult to imagine how photos of a dead Bin Laden — or anything else for that matter — could inflame his followers more than they already are.

Those who wish us ill are hardly deterred by any gesture given to them.

Robert Ouriel

Los Angeles

I agree that releasing the photos would be too much. I agree that not releasing anything gives rise to all sorts of idiotic conspiracy theories.

Why not have a site in Washington where interested parties could go and view all the horrific photos they like? No cameras would be allowed. Anyone who seriously doubts the veracity of the government's account could go and see the wretched

details for themselves.

Though I personally have no interest in seeing pictures of someone who has been killed, I do think there should be some way for the doubters to be able to see all they wish to see — at their own expense.

Lenard Davis

Newport Beach

We do not need a photo to prove that Bin Laden is dead. His silence is proof enough.

If Bin Laden were alive, we would receive from him a Mark Twain-like pronouncement that "rumors of my death are greatly exaggerated."

Lee Roth

Corona del Mar

I don't need to see the death photos, any more than I needed to see Obama's long-form birth certificate.

What I would prefer to see is education for our youth, jobs for our workers, retirement security for our seniors and affordable healthcare for all.

When we reduce the need for unemployment and welfare assistance and rebuild a robust and vibrant middle class, the aforementioned evidentiary exhibits will be rendered moot.

Art Verity

Sherman Oaks

What to do about executions

Re "State won't execute anyone in 2011," May 4

After reading your article, I have to think that it would be cheaper to simply make things official and become a death-

penalty-free state.

You note that only 13 inmates have been executed in the last 33 years. Simple arithmetic shows that California taxpayers have therefore spent about $250 million on each execution.

When schools are closing, teachers are being laid off and police departments are being downsized, does it really make sense to spend this much money on a system that might (without hyperbole) actually be the most inefficient government-run program in the country?

John MacGregor

San Francisco

With all the injustice in the world today and the scary people out there — like mass murderers and rapists — society wants to see violent criminals locked away for good or even executed.

According to a federal judge, California's execution process may make lethal injections too painful and therefore in violation of the U.S. Constitution. I understand where people come from when they say that cruel and unusual punishment is wrong, but aren't the horrible crimes committed against innocent people and their families cruel and unusual?

Vanessa Gonzales

Murrieta

Constructing a new death row facility at San Quentin State Prison is a classic (double-entendre) example of a "shovel ready" project. Seriously, this facility should not be constructed, even if the funds for it are donated by proponents of the death penalty.

And the death penalty should not be sought or accelerated in the courts on the cheap, which many proponents of it are attempting. The existence of the death penalty in any society is a reflection of its moral bankruptcy, irrespective of its financial solvency.

Henry Organ

Menlo Park, Calif.

What the GOP has coming

Re "Sticking it to the GOP," Editorial, May 4

I must partially disagree with your editorial on Treasurer Bill Lockyer's idea to cut services most severely in Republican districts. If Central Valley GOP members, many of them poor and working class, really want a smaller government, they should be given it. At the same time, they should not be allowed to choose for the majority in our state who prefer good schools, roads and a sound social safety net.

That would be a much more democratic way of dealing with the mess created by the rule of the minority.

If the poor and working class in Visalia don't want schools, roads, cops and fire protection, don't force it on them.

Paul Moser III

Studio City

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