The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

November 23, 2012

Readers' Forum 11-23 | Bring back capital punishment

Submitted by Readers

JOHNSTOWN — Here we go again, an execution stopped an hour or so before it was to take place.

Hubert Michael Jr. pleaded guilty to fatally shooting a young woman in 1993. That was 19 years ago. I think taxpayers would like to see more justice done the right way.

They say it cost more to execute someone than to keep them alive until they die, which may take 20-40 years. They say Michael’s rights have been denied. What about the rights of the person he killed? Was it OK for her to die?

Here’s another one: In Tucson, Ariz., Jared Loughner was sentenced to life in prison for killing six people and wounding 13 others. The sentence he should have received was to be put in a pit with a dozen  rattlesnakes, then covered up.

Other murderers who only got life are  Ernest Simmons, Shawn Williams, Stephen Edmiston, Christopher Johnson, John Gerholt, Nicholas Horner and Larry Christy. This is only a few.

It’s time for the laws to change. Death-row inmates should only be allowed one appeal within 30 days after their death sentence has been handed down, then the execution should take place.

Go back to the old ways, it was a lot cheaper. Cyanide gas can’t cost that much; a box of rifle shells is $20; and a rope can be used more than once. Start executing one or two a week. This will do away with death row.

Dennis Reighard

Richland Township

We must advance love over hate

Since the dawn of civilization, humanity has crept forward. Year after year, our society has advanced liberty and freedom, allowing love to triumph over hate. Now, it is our generation’s turn, for we, like so many others before us, must choose equality over oppression and tolerance over suspicion.

If we ignore this opportunity, we won’t turn back the rising tide of freedom, we won’t dramatically change what humanity’s future looks like, but we will show those who look back on us that, in this crucial time, we were unwilling to bring forward the torch of liberty.

We will show that when challenged to move the process of creating “liberty and justice for all” forward, we faltered. It is not immoral that we have taken considerable time to examine the prudence of altering society’s most basic unit.

We’ve already looked at this for a long time, but we have seen no proof that homosexual families are inferior members of society. It would be going too far to force churches with theological objections to recognize gay marriage, but giving all couples equal rights does not require this. It only requires legal recognition.

We must end this discrimination and finally admit that the more than 4 million homosexual Americans are equal citizens. Otherwise denying our own citizens the right to pursue happiness will become an American principle, and can we really allow that?

We must fully legalize this important expression of two people’s commitment and love for one another. We must legalize gay marriage.

Kieran Spencer


Vets put much aside to serve country

A veteran is man or woman who leaves the comforts of home in order to preserve the freedoms that we, as Americans, enjoy.

The veteran endures hardships being away from home, and career aspirations and personal dreams are set aside in order to serve our country.

Often our veterans come home to very little fanfare, and many have suffered injuries, both physical and mental, that last lifetimes.

A writer to the forum recently compared Mitt Romney to our servicemen and women and, in fact, called Romney a hero. Nothing could be further from the truth.

I am a proud veteran, certainly not a hero, and my military service was undistinguished. But I served my country more than the writer or Mitt Romney could ever dream of.

The real heroes were those on the battlefields and the many still missing in action.

Thank God for our members of the military and our veterans.

Robert Vetock


Not flying flag a slap at soldiers

This is in response to Patty Cunningham’s Readers’ Forum letter of Nov. 18, “American flag, pledge have lost their meaning.” She wrote that no flag will fly on her property until the nation gets back to what it was when the pledge of allegiance was written.

I say thank you for the slap in the face to all veterans and current military personnel fighting for everyone’s freedoms, whether they agree with the outcomes or not.

Fly the flag proudly and as often as you can. Say the pledge of allegiance, they are beautiful words and mean so much.

God will bless the United States of America. Don’t give up.

Michael Stoskey


Youth of our region need somewhere to go

I am worried about the young people around here. What do they have? It’s no wonder they are in trouble, on drugs or having babies.

When I grew up in Johnstown, we had things to do, such as dances at Grand Slam, Rumors, Joey Del's and La Ritz in Ebensburg.

We rode up and down Scalp Avenue on the weekends, hung out in the parking lot at Value City and Richland Mall and had car cruises on the weekends. One theater had dollar days. It was safe, we didn’t get into trouble because there were things to keep us occupied.

There is a lot for the elderly to do, even a place that watches them throughout the day and picks them up. What about our kids? They need places where they can come, meet and talk. A place for guidance. Have sports or tutoring. Music lessons.

We have to save these kids, they are our future. They need support and somewhere they can go and be young.

If the city can light up a bridge, surely it  can spend some money for a free place for the young.

I am ready to help, are you?

Tara Robison


Voter fraud is unproven

In “Philly presidential vote raises questions” on Nov. 18, Dr. Bill Choby asserts that, “We know that the election had some serious evidence of potential voter fraud and that U.S. Attorney Eric Holder fought to block the implementation of voter ID laws in this election.” Choby directs this potential fraud at Philadelphia’s 86 percent support for President Obama.

In reality, Choby, voter fraud is an illusion.

In what is considered the most comprehensive database ever assembled, the Carnegie-Knight Initiative on the Future of Journalism Education determined how many prosecutions for election fraud have been made in each state, finding that the rate is “infinitesimal.”

In Pennsylvania, the number of fraud cases was five. In a nation where the bigger problem by far is voter apathy, it is bordering on delusional to believe large numbers of people would go the polls pretending to be someone else.

If some conservative voters have been hoodwinked into believing that their fellow citizens are vote-stealing “gifters,” the Republican intelligentsia knows perfectly well that voter ID laws are designed to suppress the franchise for blacks and Latinos who tend to support Democrats.

The good news is that federal courts are increasingly looking askance at voter ID laws, which pose an impediment to a fundamental American right. The Republican intelligentsia should not be able to flout the U.S. Constitution.

Michael Quinn


Keep goal in sight, Richland Rams

While my daughter was attending Richland School District, I had the privilege of watching fine young men in the past give their best to the football program and not have a winning season – not until these past few years.

As I followed Richland’s undefeated season in football this year, I’ve seen these bright young men develop character. Seeing them carry their pride onto the football field is gratifying. This team represent our township with dignity.

Thank you to the parents and coaching staff for teaching these young men what hard work and dedication can bring to the Richland football program.

The road to the gold will be a demanding one, but I have all the confidence that this team has the determination and spirit to make that aspiration a reality.

May God bless this team with success and may he keep each and every one of them safe from harm.

Bring the championship home, Rams!

Peter M. Fedash

Richland Township

Proud to be a Rambler fan

Congratulations to Matt Grohal, his assistant coaches and the entire Windber football team for a fantastic season. What a fine display of sportsmanship, teamwork, discipline and respect from all involved.

I go to the games to watch my daughter cheer but inevitably get caught up in the enthusiasm and spirit of the competition.

It makes me proud to be from Windber.

Patricia Waltimire


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