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Sentence varies in two cases

Re: Aaron Hagen's letter to the family of Brian Kearns, Feb. 13 Times:

I thought it was written with a great deal of remorse, sensitivity and thought. Nevertheless, Mr. Hagen is guilty of an act that can never be changed. The one saving grace in Mr. Hagen's defense is that he did stop, he did check the damage he had done and he did wait with the victim.

The sentence of five years plus five years' probation seems a bit harsh since Jennifer Porter, who killed two young boys, ran off, did not come forward for several days and is now enjoying life's pleasures.

Did I miss something? Is there anybody home at the justice office?

Margaret Passero, Spring Hill

"Brokeback Mountain'

anything but mediocre

I enjoyed reading Jan Glidewell's Off/Beat article in the Feb. 13 Times. However, I must take exception to his assessment that Brokeback Mountain was "mediocre." Maybe he went to a different version than the one I went to - twice.

It's seldom I go to the theater and even more seldom that I go view the same movie again when I'm moved by it, no matter what the subject.

My impression of this movie is that it is, first and foremost, a tender love story that tugs at your heart, and no matter what your values, you have to appreciate the manner in which it was presented. True, there is a definite gay thread through it, but you can't escape the fact it was done, mercifully, in a nonstereotypical way. That alone makes it rise above mediocrity.

I respect Mr. Glidewell's opinion, but I think he does a disservice by calling Brokeback mediocre, and perhaps in doing so prevents others from going to see it and making up their own minds.

I plan to add it to my meager collection of movies I actually want to buy. The last one I got was Phantom of the Opera, which joins an almost-worn-out copy of Auntie Mame, among others.

Dimas Vasquez, Spring Hill

Brown-Waite's Vietnam

remarks were ignorant

Re: Supporting the troops in word only, Feb. 6 guest column by U.S. Rep. Ginny Brown-Waite:

Brown-Waite's recent trip to Iraq was a waste of taxpayer money. Why bother when her mind is closed to anything but the party line? Rep. John Murtha, a 30-year Marine veteran, can hardly be classified a liberal Democrat. He fought in Vietnam and understands guerrilla wars far more than a party flack like Brown-Waite. He knows we are not in a "winnable" war by conventional standards, and his advice is worth heeding.

Brown-Waite's remarks about Vietnam are so ignorant they would be funny if she didn't represent us in Congress. Her so-called liberals (she used this word 13 times) didn't get us into that mess and certainly didn't lose it.

Hawks built up our troop strength to over 500,000, bombed the hell out of Vietnam and expanded the war to Laos and Cambodia. We fought that war for 12 years, and for 8 years before that we had advisers on the ground.

We could conceivably still be there and no closer to "winning" than when Congress was forced to pull the plug on funding it.

Protecting the American people should have entailed finishing the war in Afghanistan and capturing Osama Bin Laden, tightening our borders and working on real diplomatic solutions to the myriad problems in the Middle East. Instead, a bunch of chickenhawks dragged us into oil-rich Iraq, putting countries everywhere far more at risk.

Fighting terrorists in New York and Florida is more likely since President Bush helped recruit hundreds of thousands more terrorists worldwide.

Judy Groner, Lecanto

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