Reader: We understand that "illegal" means breaking the laws of the United States

Ask a Mexican, Gustavo Arellano, October 13

Illegal Procedures

Why do people consider the word "illegal" offensive when relating to immigration? "Illegal" is used when someone's breaking the law. It's not a dirty word. Driving illegally, illegal possession of a weapon, illegal possession of drugs, illegally entering private property, illegal influence on another person, illegal search and seizure.... We, as Americans, understand that "illegal" means breaking the laws of the United States of America. It is because illegal immigration relates to people that the word takes on a new meaning of bias, actually softening the illegality being committed.

I don't get it. Breaking the law, any law, is illegal. I welcome one and all to the USA; just enter legally, contribute to the economy, pay your share, and keep your earnings circulating in our economy, please!

E. Grimes

Parker

"The Victim Lobby," Alan Prendergast, October 20

outside the box

Thank you, Mr. Prendergast, for a very enlightening and in-depth story. Also, thank you to Mr. Lee for trying to find an outside-the-box solution to crime and community healing. The program might need finesse, but I believe it is an important step in the right direction. I hope that other Coloradans support the measure.

Catherine Keske

Fort Collins

Advocates for changing sentencing laws for juveniles serving life have always acknowledged that this issue is extremely complicated. There is no denying the pain of the victims, and we advocates for sentencing reform have never done so. However, in the past when we tried to introduce changes in the laws, we have been summarily dismissed by COVA and many district attorneys with "No, no, no, the system is just fine the way it is." No compromise, no changes are needed — regardless of evolving public opinion; scientific advances in the area of teen brain development, with studies showing that juveniles receive harsher sentences than adults for the same crimes; and recent Supreme Court rulings. We have enough obstreperousness on a national level. We in Colorado must be more thoughtful than that.

Kudos to Alan Prendergast for a fresh look at a difficult issue. Victims are not a monolithic group, and victims'-rights groups, such as COVA, would be well-served to expand their vision to include more restorative justice and to listen to the voices of victims who seek a measure of redemption and rehabilitation for offenders rather than endless punishment. Somewhere amid all this pain and destruction, there are areas of agreement and healing. I hope Alan's article and Representative Pete Lee's legislation will be a step in that direction.

Mary Ellen Johnson, executive director

The Pendulum Foundation

Editor's note: To read Alan Prendergast's "The Victim Lobby" and more comments, go to westword.com. For more on redemption and rehabilitation for juvenile offenders, don't miss this week's cover story on Josh Beckius.

I Am Trying to Break Your Heart, Jef Otte, October 20

Hanks for the Memories

I saw the interview, and I thought Hank Williams Jr. compared Boehner to Hitler. So I guess it wasn't that clear to me who in the golf game was Netanyahu and who was Hitler. The talking-head lady is the one who assumed it was Obama he was calling Hitler, but Hank didn't correct her, so perception becomes reality. Everyone should start using Charles Manson as a reference for a bad guy instead of Hitler. At least he's still alive. As in "My aunt would vote for Charlie Manson if he had an R by his name."

Linda P. H.

Spokane, Washington

 
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