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Week of March 7, 2001

Kill Switch
Execution is wrong: In a perfect world, a columnist like Ray Hartmann would realize that the only thing state-sanctioned murder does is create another family of victims ["They've Got the Wrong Martyr," RFT, Feb. 28].

In a perfect world, columnists would realize that the only countries in the world that currently execute people convicted as juveniles are the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Iran and the United States. That, I think, speaks for itself.

In a perfect world, columnists would realize that it is a violation of international law to sentence a juvenile to death.

In a perfect world, columnists would realize that commuting the sentence of Antonio Richardson is not condoning the murder of two young girls. It is the state taking a higher moral ground by recognizing that somewhere the killing must stop.

In a perfect world, columnists would realize the moral absurdity in the state killing people to show that killing people is wrong.

In a perfect world, columnists would realize the fundamental human right to life and work to end the nefarious act of executing people.
Eric Sears
via the Internet

Count on God: Will killing this boy bring the two girls back? I am afraid not. Our son was killed by two men when he was coming home from church, and I asked God to handle it. I don't want murder on my hands. Do you? Are you people afraid that God won't make a tough enough decision to suit your bloodthirsty minds? I don't believe in an eye for an eye. I believe in "Vengeance is mine sayeth the Lord."
Ida Hennesey
via the Internet

To the Letter
Alderman's rebuke of our dead son was malicious and insensitive: We are writing in response to the letter written by Ald. Craig Schmid ["Letters," RFT, Feb. 14]. Jason's father met with the author of the RFT article for one reason only, and that was to perhaps prevent another incident like the one that happened to our only son from happening to someone else or someone else's son.

Mr. Schmid, we are decent, hardworking people, like the majority of people living in your ward. There are problems everywhere. We can only hope that the article written about Jason will eliminate some of the issues your community is dealing with.

If you were out to offend someone, Mr. Schmid, congratulations; you succeeded. It's a sick society we live in when a person lashes out at someone he doesn't know. We found your letter malicious and insensitive. We are not trying to protect our son's memory -- nothing can take the happy memories from us. Nor were we trying to resurrect his reputation, as you insinuated. We knew that he was having problems, but you don't know our family and you didn't know our son.

Jason had a problem with marijuana; he was serving probation for possession of a small amount. He had been doing much better and was trying to overcome his habit. You refer to him as having a history of serious drug abuse. Where do you get your information? Who do you think you are, passing judgment on someone you never met? You talk of fairness, but your vicious attack on the integrity of our son is an outrage. He was easygoing and well liked and would never harm a living thing. Maybe your energy should be directed at finding and prosecuting the person who is running around your neighborhood with a gun. Your portrayal of Jason as a "drug courier" coming to the city to hook your children is unfounded.

One of your children is running around the streets with a weapon. There were 11 or 12 others in the group, drinking and loitering that night. It wasn't enough to hit Jason in the head with a beer bottle. Someone had to pull the trigger while the others yelled to shoot him. No, Mr. Schmid, it does not sound like the RFT is condoning the behavior of Jason -- it appears that you condone the violence and murder on your city's streets. As to your reference of Jason having $140 in his pocket and referring to it as drug money, we have the check stub from the check he had cashed that day after working the week before.

We would have preferred not to read your letter, but we happened to see it on the Internet. Imagine our shock and astonishment at the narrow-minded opinion of a person such as yourself. In your letter, you ask, "Is anyone surprised by this story?" We have to answer yes; we as a family were surprised that our only son did not come home that night. Besides having to deal with our grief, we have to deal with your letter, which is based on nothing except trying to save your community's reputation. If you have so much information about the case, maybe you should contact the Homicide Division.
The family of Jason LaBoube

Alderman, judge and jury: How can Craig Schmid accuse a young boy of being a drug dealer when there was never a court hearing on this matter? A young man was killed -- that's all there is to it! Schmid is the 10th Ward alderman, yeah. We all got your point, Craig -- you're a lawyer, judge and jury, and you said, "He's guilty!" You accuse when you don't have the facts. You should not have written that letter. Our prayers go out to the young boy's family.
Mr. and Mrs. Aaron Mooney
St. Louis

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