Letters

Touché

RE: “Shell Ads

12/29/99
I have to tell you, after scanning your Web site for a mere five minutes I have a story idea that I think you will be interested in.

It is the story of a unique, intellectual magazine that stresses discussion and open debate of controversial issues. It is about how this magazine signed a Faustian deal. This is the story of the culture magazine Mother Jones and it’s advertising for Shell, one of the world’s most infamous corporations. This is the story of a young man’s war of words against an unscrupulous corporation and how, when he looked for a forum to voice himself, he found his arch-enemy sponsoring the magazine’s Web site. Irony.

Would your publication be interested in this piece?

Sincerely,

Aidan Delgado



Killing Kids

RE: “Wasted Youth

12/28/99
It is all well and good to suggest that children should be children and, as such, treated as children. However, there appears in this country to be quite a number of inconsistencies regarding our attitudes toward childhood. For example, each state is allowed its own “age of consent,” which, in the state of Hawaii for instance, is 14(!).

I can understand the quandary when considering suitable punishments for adolescent crime. For instance, I live in Oklahoma where the age of consent is 16. In Oklahoma a heterosexual 16-year-old can legally consent to sex (with all the risks such a choice entails, including — possibly — the adult responsibility of parenthood), but cannot buy cigarettes or alcoholic beverages, cannot vote, and cannot serve in the military. An 18-year-old may consent to sex, vote, and die for his/her country, but cannot buy alcoholic beverages. It’s ridiculous.

Since there are so many different ages for so many different adult choices, naturally there’s going to be differing opinions about a 17-year-old facing adult punishment for a violent crime. As long as such inconsistencies exist, this problem will exist.

Karen Chapman



RE: “Wasted Youth

12/28/99
Your article about juvenile executions, “Wasted Youth,” was very interesting and also upsetting. In California our former governor Pete Wilson has placed on the March ballot an initiative he and his supporters call “Gang Violence and Youth Crime Prevention Act” — it’s a terrible bill and one of the things it proposes to do it to allow youths as young as 14 to be eligible for the death penalty.

Other things it does:

  • Sentences 14-year-olds as adults and puts them in adult prisons
  • Expands the list of “3 strikes” offenses, adding all forms of robbery & applying it to the past
  • Makes graffiti a felony — instead of $50,000 worth of damage being a felony, $400 will
  • Makes “gang affiliation” a crime — any group of 3 or more who dress similar can be labeled a gang
  • Adds “conspiracy to commit a crime” to the list of offenses of criminal “gang” activity — allows prosecution for crimes that have never happened
  • Allows them to wiretape “gang members”
  • Requires death penalty or life without parole for a death related to what is believed to be “gang” activity
  • Any misdemeanor becomes a felony if the offense is committed while the person is said to be in a “gang”.

As you can see, this proposed law targets poor young people and young people of color. The upside is that people are organizing against it and there is a strong youth movement especially in the SF Bay Area. Please let people know about this terrible initiative!

Zoe Sodja



RE: “Wasted Youth

12/27/99
The evidence is clear: We, as a nation must not use the death penalty as a deterrent to crime. These young people do not deserve freedom, but they clearly must not be put to death by the state. Life is more, much more, complicated.

RBattestil@aol.com