Letters To The Editor

Wednesday, May 7, 2003 at 1:00am

Metro, make our streets safer


As a member of Second Presbyterian Church, I am very excited about the new community playground planned for church grounds at the corner of Richards Street and Graybar Lane (April 16, "Local church plans playground for all," p. 7).

As a resident of Graybar Lane, I also urge Metro to step up to the plate and fulfill its public safety obligation. Graybar residents routinely see speeders and cut-through traffic roaring up and down our street at 50 miles per hour or more. Pets and wildlife have been mowed down with impunity. I personally have been run off the road on several occasions while walking my dogs. It's only a matter of time before a pedestrian is killed.

Despite many complaints, and the efforts of Councilman Jim Shulman, our street has been denied traffic calming, sidewalks, even traffic enforcement. Several requests to get a traffic officer on the scene to write tickets have failed to bring any results.

Mayor Bill Purcell vowed to be neighborhood friendly when he took office, but that means more than just building libraries and parks. Residents shouldn't have to put their lives at risk to use these neighborhood resources.



Kerry should think before uncorking


It's long been fashionable for liberals to ignore facts and hurl epithets in the midst of a political debate. Instead of addressing the free speech concerns that have arisen during the Iraq war in an articulate way, some people simply call Republicans fascists, say they're all for free speech, and leave it at that.

Some liberals say it was wrong for Republicans to castigate Sen. John Kerry for saying the United States is ripe for "regime change." What they fail to mention is that Sen. Kerry promised - two weeks before the Iraq war started - that he would not make any campaign charges against President Bush if his words could be seen as sending the wrong signal to U.S. troops in Iraq. Kerry told the Boston Globe, "If America is at war, I won't speak a word without measuring how it'll sound to the guys doing the fighting when they're listening to their radios in the desert."

I wonder how U.S. troops reacted when an important senator began urging regime change for the commander-in-chief's administration? I'm sure they were quite disgusted, as were most Republicans.

Sen. Kerry was certainly entitled to speak his mind. However, he should have expected a backlash when he issued an asinine and inappropriate statement concerning a wartime president. As he continues his quixotic quest for the presidency, methinks the good senator should cogitate a bit before he uncorks further comments condemning the Bush administration.

As Americans, we do indeed enjoy the right to free speech and free expression. That being said, an individual who expresses his or her opinions in the public square does not have a right to public acceptance of his or her views. I'm afraid that most liberals simply have not grasped this fact.



Danger: good test for free speech


It seems Gilbert Martin is confused on the issue of speech rights as well (May 2 letter, "Lots of confusion on speech rights").

The First Amendment does protect most speech, but not all speech. If you consult the rulings of the Supreme Court, you might be surprised to read about something called "The Clear and Present Danger Test." According to court rulings, if speech presents a clear and present danger, then that speech would not fall under the protection of the Bill of Rights.

For example, yelling "Fire!" in a crowded movie theater presents a danger and is not protected by the First Amendment. The danger of calling people "un-American" is that it gives way to the same totalitarian ideas as Nazi Germany once believed in. If I read my history book right, the Holocaust was first instigated by inflammatory and condescending ideas Hitler made towards Jews. In my comparison, that isn't very different from what war supporters are saying about antiwar activists or the Islamic faith.

Mr. Martin, all Americans have a right to freedom of speech, just some should think twice about exercising this right. Yes, people can say what they want to say, but people who call others un-American for not supporting war are simply flaunting their ignorance and might as well start goose-stepping under the Arc de Triumph.



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Filed under: City Voices