Soapbox

Capital punishment, aging doctors, reading skills, etc.

Lolonyo Teasley, 7, picks out a free book at the Brickhouse Art Gallery on Sunday during the Sacramento Black Book Fair.
Lolonyo Teasley, 7, picks out a free book at the Brickhouse Art Gallery on Sunday during the Sacramento Black Book Fair. lsterling@sacbee.com

Capital punishment is a failed system

Re “Is capital punishment dead in California?” (Insight, June 6): There is a great body of evidence supporting the decision made by a growing number of states to reject capital punishment. Perhaps most salient is that the death penalty discriminates. Eighty percent of death penalty recipients are accused of killing whites, whereas more than 50 percent of homicide victims are black. And on death row, 43 percent are African Americans, a number far out of proportion to their 12 percent of the population.

Perhaps worse is the number of those posthumously proven innocent who die at the hands of the state. Finally, on practical terms, the death penalty process costs more than lifetime incarceration, and states without it have fewer murders per capita than states with it. “Is capital punishment dead in California?” I should hope so – it’s a failed system.

Diana Lee Vriend,

Sacramento

Assisted suicide vs. death penalty

I do not understand our elected leaders or the voters of this state. Someone is given the death penalty, yet we argue how we execute them or why we should put them to death. Our Senate approves Senate Bill 128, legal suicide. Where are the death penalty opponents lining up against SB 128? If California approves drugs for legal suicide, why can’t an injectable form of these same drugs be used to put a convict to death?

California is attempting to put together another protocol for capital punishment. The drugs used to commit legal suicide I assume would be humane. If we allow compassionate assisted suicide, why should we even question putting a murderer to death?

Brian Wall, Roseville

Test competency of politicians

Re “Aging physicians prompt call for competency tests at AMA meeting” (Page 8A, June 9): Aging physicians competency testing? What an interesting idea. The reason? Incompetent physicians might do some harm to an occasional patient.

As an aging physician, I find it interesting that again doctors are singled out. What about competency testing for our elected/appointed legislators: aging senators, congressmen, Supreme Court justices and even presidents? Any one of these people, if not competent, can do much more damage to many more people than a few incompetent physicians. Recent articles in The Sacramento Bee about drunkenness and other misbehavior in our local representatives proves this point, and the multiple transgressions of our elected representatives in Washington are legion.

Again: Rules of behavior that apply to the common people do not apply to them. And as they make the rules, it will never change until the news media and we the people take off our blinders and demand and insist on change.

Dr. Horst D. Weinberg, Sacramento

Be careful what you wish for

Re “Historian is Bee club’s choice” (Explore, June 8): The story and front-page teaser photograph of an ebullient Ronald Reagan calls for a look back.

Reagan became a wealthy man. It figures that he bought the lower tax theories that were going around. Particularly the trickle-down idea – cut taxes, don’t worry if the relief helps the wealthy a lot while it helps the rest of us only a little – because the pot of gold handed to the 1 percent will trickle down to those of us near the bottom. I’d say that Reagan really believed it.

He was a great salesman, and so we let him do the thing that gutted the infrastructure of our country and all but eliminated our middle class. Only a careful re-evaluation of priorities at this time will help us to dig out.

William D. Bandes,

Roseville

Reading provides strong life skills

Re “Sacramento Black Book Fair helps young readers make important strides” (Local News, June 8): I really enjoyed the article about the Sacramento Black Book Fair. I remember when I was a child, my parents had my siblings and I go to the main library and get a library card. We often read books, magazines and the local newspaper, and we displayed them on our living room table for guests to read.

I think with the advent of technology, most adults and children in general don’t spend enough time reading. I do feel that you’ll have a strong advantage in life to be the best you can be with strong reading and writing skills.

Anthony D. Jordan,

Sacramento

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