Give up the ghosts
A law school discounts John Marshall’s positive legacy | Chicago Tribune editorial, May 27
“Media Bias / Fact Check” rates the Chicago Tribune as biased to the “Right Center.” It’s no crime, but this editorial confirms as much. John Marshall was a lion in the formation of American jurisprudence, it is true. The University of Illinois at Chicago has decided to remove his name from its law school because he was an enthusiastic slave-holder. That’s within the school’s province. In an historic moment when our eyes are being once again forced open to the persistence of racist savagery and corrosion in this country, it’s a ripe moment for such symbolic gestures. Nothing will ever blot out Marshall’s eminence in American jurisprudence and history. But there have been many American heroes of jurisprudence since Marshall who carry no taint of racist dehumanizing conduct. These are better suited for such an honor in our times. We need real, relatable people as moral guides in this fraught time, and not ghosts from over the horizon.
Steve Douglas, St. Petersburg
Why we can’t heal
We’re not the united States | Column, May 27
As clearly stated by Leonard Pitts, America is as divided now as we were 160 years ago, thanks largely to Donald Trump and his enablers. Since he took over the party of Lincoln, the former president has infected the GOP with his own values, or lack of them. Trump and his media stooges have fostered outright lies about the last election, therefore undermining confidence in our electoral system. Fellow Americans who want to rebuild our infrastructure and protect our citizens from disease and poverty are now seen as un-American by this once respected political party. As long as liars and cheats have a platform to spew their political poison, this nation cannot heal or achieve its former greatness.
Brian Walkowiak, St. Petersburg
Prosecute them all
I am a Republican. Like many others of all political parties, I was appalled by the actions of many who stormed the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6. I hope that Congress does form a committee and holds those responsible accountable. On the other hand, I have noticed that there are few or no actions being taken by authorities in cities where there have been numerous riots, buildings destroyed, businesses looted, police stations and federal buildings damaged or destroyed. Why aren’t the people who participated in these events being held to the same standard? Is it because one group was protesting the indefensible actions of law enforcement and the other group was protesting what they thought of the presidential election? The basis for their insurrections should not be a defense. All should be identified and prosecuted to the full extent of the law. Failure to do so will only create a greater divide in our nation.
Tom Craig, Riverview
Rules are rules
Tides rezoning rejected | May 27
Local governments are finally standing up for their citizens and denying developers the ability to build whatever they want by changing existing laws regarding land use. Thank you, Pinellas County commissioners. When developer Ron Carpenter bought the land he was well aware of zoning restrictions regarding the use of the land. It is certainly not the county’s responsibility to make sure he makes money from it — especially when that means changing the rules for land use. In addition to the need to keep land from being overdeveloped, it is the county’s job to protect future residents from damage that could occur due to even Category 1 hurricanes. I am sick of these developers’ feelings of entitlement and privilege.
Ann Jamieson, St. Petersburg
I am a white man. I am 75 years old. I am sorry that a 77-year-old white man, Vonelle Cook, died in his altercation with a Black man, Corey Pujols. But I believe Pujols had every right to throw the punch. It was a terrible accident that Cook fell, hit his head and died, but Pujols could not have foreseen that outcome. We live in a “stand your ground” state. If you are physically assaulted and have a reasonable belief you may be subject to great bodily injury or death, you can use lethal force to protect yourself. It is a stupid law, but the law nevertheless.
But common sense should be a defense against verbal epithets, too. It was a defense of one’s humanity. In front of the Dunkin’ staff whom Pujols was protecting, Cook called him the n-word. And after Pujols warned Cook not to say it again, Cook repeated it. And Pujols threw a single punch. Cook fell and died. Cook provoked the altercation. He should have been ready for it.
Pujols will be fired for defending his honor and will be reviled by some. But he should not be criminally prosecuted for what many of us would have done, especially at his age. As we learned growing up at the playground, if you don’t want the punch, you don’t use a racial slur and you don’t say something about somebody else’s mother.
Wayne Thomas, Temple Terrace