Bush angers slain man's family

By Jake Tapper


Letters to the Editor
October 18, 2000 11:14PM (UTC)

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We all know that the families of murder victims are renowned for being clearheaded and insightful when discussing issues surrounding the deaths of their loved ones, and I would like to applaud Jake Tapper for the crack reporting that uncovered the hard-hitting news that James Byrd's family doesn't like George W. Bush.

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Based on the number of times that Byrd's family is quoted in this article, I am guessing that their political knowledge and savvy are the stuff of legend in Texas. How shocking it is that Gov. Bush failed to follow their suggestion and back the James Byrd Hate Crimes Bill. After all, if the aggrieved family of a murder victim does not know what is best for the state, who does?

As if that were not bad enough, Gov. Bush then failed to clear the bar of sympathetic fawning set by the most honest and sincere man ever to lead this country, William Jefferson Clinton. What an outrage!

Thank heavens the intrepid Tapper was there to reveal this scandal to the American public. Tapper's sensible, unbiased reporting is a credit not only to Salon, but also to the media in general.

-- Sam Welden

Hate crime is thought crime. The punishment for murder should be severe no matter who it's against. When we start trying to determine a person's thoughts in order to come up with a sentence, we're heading down a slippery slope. I'm surprised that a Web site that takes full advantage of free speech would support thought crime. A true liberal would never support hate crime legislation.

-- Harry Snyder

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Thank you for the excellent article about Gov. Bush and the Byrd Hate Crime Bill which failed to make it out of the legislature in Texas last session. I think that some of the important provisions of the bill are being overlooked in various press accounts of the governor's inaction. The bill also provided funding authorizations for training local law enforcement in recognizing and prosecuting such crimes and it provided a source of funds for communities or counties whose budgets can be wrecked by major prosecutions like the trials of those who caused the death of James Byrd.

The governor's callous treatment of the Byrd family is another example of the attitude he demonstrated in the second debate about the death penalty. No thinking Texan could be truly proud of the state's record on that issue, yet the governor is. I am, by the way, a native Texan.

-- Calvin N. Preece


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