The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

Editorials

September 18, 2012

Readers' Forum 9-18 | One man has degraded entire country

— It was once noted by artist Andy Warhol that in the future, everybody would be famous for 15 minutes.

One obscure American who has used his    15 minutes unwisely – twice – is Gainesville, Fla., pastor Terry Jones. The first 15 minutes occurred two years ago when Jones deliberately created significant unrest in Afghanistan and disgraced himself as a Christian by threatening to burn copies of the Quran in the parking lot of his church.

Now, Jones has been linked to the tragic deaths of the U.S. ambassador to Libya and members of the ambassador’s staff.

The deaths occurred during a demonstration by Libyans outside the U.S. Embassy over a U.S.-produced film that depicts Muhammad as a buffoon and an opportunist.

Jones exacerbated the controversy by advocating widespread distribution of the offensive film, using the constitutional right to free speech as a means of excusing his role in the tragedy.

We need to acknowledge that the U.S. Constitution is a document unique to the human experience. Because of our Constitution and the patriots who drafted it, and those who refined it over the years, we are guaranteed as Americans unparalleled freedoms and liberties unknown by other nations of this sometimes-volatile world.

But when we misuse our liberty as a tool to deliberately insult, anger and inflame others into acts of violence and retribution, we are not only violating our value as peacekeepers and desirable allies, we are degrading ourselves and the trust and faith placed in us by our historical ancestors.

Shame on you, pastor.

Carl Schultz

Johnstown

Too many plea deals

in Cambria County

The front page headline in The Tribune-Democrat on Sept. 10, “Combined trial sought in city shooting,” was very funny. What difference would it make if those men had a combined trial or two separate trials?

Everyone in Cambria County knows that the day before their trial or trials start, District Attorney Kelly Callihan will give them a plea deal.

In Cambria County, very few major crime cases ever go to trial. Why wouldn’t the district attorney offer them the plea deal now? It would save the courts a lot of time and the taxpayers a lot of money and the end result would be the same.

If they would decide not to take the district attorney’s offer now, it should be withdrawn and never offered again.

It seems the district attorney’s office doesn’t need prosecutors, just secretaries typing up plea agreements.

Gary E. Felski

Windber

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