Letters To The Editor

Don Chapman
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June 17, 2009 - MidWeek
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Reasoned response

Kudos to MidWeek for having the courage - and sense of decency - to publish the guest column from Hakim Ouansafi of the Hawaii Muslim Center.

When I read Jerry Coffee’s original column, “Just What We Need, Islam Day,” I was astounded that MidWeek - even given your reputation for welcoming a wide range of views - would publish such a hateful screed. It is one thing to worship your god, quite another to publicly denigrate a religion that boasts 1.5 billion followers worldwide. And as other writers have well noted, Mr. Coffee’s own holy book includes a number of passages that make modern believers uncomfortable - or at least ought to - from stoning to slavery.

Thank you, too, to Mr. Ouansafi for his intelligent, rational response to such obvious bigotry. Hopefully, Mr. Coffee took note.

Adele Tamura

Further ‘out there’

It seems to me that Jerry Coffee and Susan Page - like many Republicans these days (where do they get their marching orders from?) - are getting further and further “out there” in their hateful rhetoric. Mr. Coffee’s anti-Islam diatribe is a good (but sad) example, Ms. Page’s omigod-the-Communists-are-taking-over column is another.

Surely, you can find Republicans who write with more intelligence, reason and aloha. Can’t you?

Chuck Wilson

Avoid a Columbine

As a retired major with the Honolulu Police Department, I want to address negative effects of the current budget crisis affecting the state Department of Education. April 20, 2009, was the 10th anniversary of the Columbine High massacre in Colorado. As a direct result of that incident, then-DOE Central Complex superintendent Patricia Hamamoto and retired police officer Rodney Goo devised a program placing retired law enforcement officers in Hawaii’s secondary public schools, which was implemented in March 2000 as the School Safety Manager (SSM) Program.

The SSMs’duties included, but were not limited to, training and supervising the school security attendants, and acting as resource persons and liaisons with outside agencies, primarily law enforcement, which over the years have proven their worth in many ways.

At one point, the number of secondary public schools participating in SSM numbered approximately 80. But because of the current fiscal crisis, the number of schools participating in the program is expected to decrease to about 20 for next school year. As an astute member of the community recently commented: “How quickly they forget!” referring to the reasons why the School Safety Manager Program was created.

Trends on the Mainland historically take 10 to 15 years to get to Hawaii, although with the increasing popularity of the Internet, that is changing.

I firmly believe that it is only a matter of time until a school shooting will happen in Hawaii, and I would hate to see students, teachers, staff or others seriously injured or killed because administrators in the DOE wanted to save some money by discontinuing SSM. I hope the DOE rethinks retaining SSM to enhance the learning process by keeping campuses safe and secure.

Robert L. Silva

Self-defense first

People like Roger Simon (“Americans’ Everyday Gun Violence”) are fear mongers whose agenda is to take away our most fundamental right, self-defense.

There are no human rights without the right of self-defense. Acasual reading of the local papers provides numerous instances of persons murdered or assaulted in the most cruel and capricious fashion: a woman beaten to death in Kailua blocks from the police station; hikers stabbed on a popular trail; a woman knifed to death while sitting on a bench. In each case, our government not only denied these persons the right to effective self-defense, it also created the conditions of their deaths by releasing violent felons or people diagnosed with violent psychoses.

John Savage

Send your letters to MidWeek Letters, 500 Ala Moana Blvd., Suite 500, Honolulu, HI. 96813; by fax to 585-6324, or by email to dchapman@midweek.com. Please include your name, address and daytime and evening phone numbers. We print only the letters that include this information, but only your name and area of residence will appear in print. Letters may be edited for clarity and space.
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