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Letters to the editor 1.10.07

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Players and haters

Brian,

I hope you enjoyed Christmas in Garden City [“Duke lacrosse from a Starbucks in Garden City, NY”; Jan. 3, 2007; by Brian Clarey]. Please take this new year as an opportunity to resolve to make sure you focus on the important responsibilities of your position. Like Mr. Nifong you compromised your professional integrity by rushing to judgment publicly on the Duke case. Both of you were motivated by personal gain. Mr. Nifong seeking re-election and you seeking the readers’ attention with a scoop. You both also did a great disservice to the people of North Carolina and well beyond. You both have insulted our intelligence and abused our trust. The trust we put in our legal system as well as the trust we put in our great free press.

Remember what I wrote in my last feedback letter to you. It went something like: Judge the individual on the facts and actions. Do not judge them on their ethnicity, economic status, or association to any other individuals. Discrimination is a two-way street apparently.

When the facts come out we will judge all individuals on their own personal actions and the words they used that night.

Reconciliation will be needed. Between Duke and Durham. Between Duke athletics and Duke’s women who came out in support of the accuser looking to lynch the whole team within 48 hours.

But because they’re white, wealthy and male, no one will feel as if any great injustice has been done. Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton won’t ever apologize for defending the accuser. Oprah won’t want them on her show.

The media will just say to themselves in their weekly assignment meetings, “Well, they have a good life to go back to, so why should anyone feel bad?”

If they are found innocent of all charges or the case is dropped, I hope they go for vengeance and ruin everyone who jumped on the bandwagon.

And I hope your op-ed is just as passionate about it in their defense as you were when the world assumed they were guilty!

Ray Meyer

Garden City, NY

Dear Brian:

You’re as arrogant as the stereotype Garden City is known for. It’s a shame you don’t understand what kind of sacrifice it takes for most athletes to achieve success. You’re acting like anybody actually cares about your drivel. Who are you? No one ever heard of you.

Your article is too little too late. It’s a pathetic attempt at trying to act like you understand anything to do with Duke, or lacrosse.

If you ever bump into the Sweeney Brothers, Beaver Draffen, Billy Granneman, Peter Leseur, etc. tell them to punch you in the face.

JR

Monkton, Md.

You were not alone. There was a great article about this in Sports Illustrated – I think – about how everyone abandoned these men. About how the only people they had were each other and their attorneys. About how the press and media and their school and their classmates and everyone else just completely abandoned them.

Let us all try and remember that we should take a more judicial approach when these situations arise. Something like, “We must wait for the truth-finding process to play itself out. If this happened, great punishment is warranted. If not, a great crime has been committed upon the accused.”

I suggest visiting the website for the Innocence Project [innocenceproject.org]. The media and society in general often jumps onto the bandwagon, helping to convict the innocent. As you will see, it often leads to horrible results (i.e., innocent people spending life behind bars – or worse, being executed; lives being destroyed even when people are found innocent; and penalties being handed out unequally on the basis of race and economics).

Daniel Smith

New York, NY

Hi Brian,

I will keep this e-mail civilized, so no need to scurry your mouse to the “delete” button. I was reading your recent article about Garden City, and while I do appreciate your “apology,” I came to the simple conclusion, after sensing a generally sarcastic tone in your e-mail (calling the Finnerty kid a “scion” of the town when he’s not even really from Garden City, pointing out that his rich dad plans to take them around the world), that you don’t really care about any of this. You work for a small-time North Carolina newspaper, and after writing your first article about the Duke case (which it does seem you did genuinely care about), you realized that you were getting some public attention. You kept ruffling feathers, and it worked.

However, I just want to let you know that no one, outside of Garden City and whatever tiny circulation you have in North Carolina, cares about your articles. You can stop now!

And by the way, there’s no way… in hell… that anyone was talking about middle school lacrosse over a few “brews”. This isn’t football in small-town Texas; Lacrosse is not that big! Crazy parents might care a little too much, and young kids maybe, but the rest of us reach the age of reason and realize that it is a sport. It’s fun, competitive, perhaps personally fulfilling, but certainly not a means to an end. Its a freaking sport. Grow up, and realize that Garden City might have some flaws, but lacrosse isn’t one of them.

Regards,

Steve Smith

Nassau County, NY

Brian,

Great article, we come from Garden City – 14 years here – two boys at Chaminade, one laxer and one who graduated GCHS and got cut by Doc [Dougherty]. Daughter, 10 has played lax since pre-K. Stephen, sophomore at Chaminade, knows Collin and we know that he is a victim here and is innocent. Wonderful article depicts life as it truly is here in Garden City. Although Chaminade is the crusader for Colin.

Best regards and a happy new year,

Don Pfail

Garden City, NY

Leading the blind

I used the new talking voting machine designed for persons who are blind in the last election [“Election journal 2006: The sweeping panorama and the warty close-up”; Nov. 15, 2006; by Jordan Green]. I really enjoyed the freedom of being able to vote in total privacy. I also enjoyed the feeling of being a regular American taking part in the election process. I have good computer skills and thusly I found the machine very user friendly. I am excellent in reading Braille and that made the unit that much more accessible. However, you do not need to know Braille in order to use the machine in my opinion. This device is well designed and was richly appreciated. I am disappointed to hear that some persons with visual disabilities were unable to use the machine effectively. Thank you for reading. Have a blessed day.

James Benton Sr.

Raleigh

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