My deepest sympathy goes to the children of Mr. Gilreath. That they had forgiven him for killing their mother and grandfather is completely understandable and commendable. Nevertheless, murder is a crime, an offense to the state. It is not a tort, an offense for which the victim(s) can decide whether to prosecute and to what extent. Thus, the Board of Pardons and Parole acted properly by allowing the will of the state of Georgia to prevail. Furthermore, the board also served the interests of the two murdered victims, who were not able to voice their wishes.
I agree that some instances might exist where innocent people are on death row. We definitely should take immediate action to identify and spare these individuals. However, in those cases where the guilt of the convicted murderer is without question, such as Fred Gilreath's, the state should carry out the execution. We must send a strong message to those who might be even thinking about committing such a crime that we absolutely will not condone it.
Life in prison without parole might be an appropriate sentence in a few rare instances, but it should not be given to every convicted murderer. Some criminals are simply too dangerous to remain in our society. As long as they live in prisons, they would have the opportunity to escape and take even more innocent lives. Furthermore, these killers do not deserve to remain alive. Thus, removing these villains from our society by imposing the death penalty is practical and just.
D. William Durr, Lithonia
As a member of the Catholic peace group Pax Christi, I've been visiting inmates on Death Row in Jackson for several years. I did not know Fred Gilreath well, but I often saw him visiting with his family, and I did have occasion to talk with Chris Kellett and his wife (Fishwrapper, "A dead issue," Nov. 21).
The Kelletts are obviously the kind of people Georgia needs more of. I couldn't believe Georgia Board of Pardons and Paroles could turn down their appeal on behalf of Chris' dad.
"A dead issue" really captured the mindset behind that heartless decision and the death penalty itself. It was advocacy journalism at its very best. I want to thank you for it.
During the vigil for Fred Gilreath at the Capitol the night before his execution, a guy stopped his pickup truck on Washington Street and bellowed to the group assembled in prayer: "Kill 'em all!" I'm afraid that's where we are as a country these days. I hope and pray your article helped raise doubts among at least a few of your readers.
-- Ron Chandonia, Atlanta
Get a handle
(In response to Fishwrapper, "A dead issue," Nov. 21): I know that a dead person does not kill again. No person should get away with killing another person. There is no such a thing as life without parole. Thirty or 40 years from now, the person is set free.
I am concerned that you are showing the same anger, very deep anger, like "I want to kill society and the system that killed my dad." I wonder why the years you spent in college did not teach you not to hate. The research shows that those sentenced to death are the ones that commit the most brutal and senseless killings. Color had little to do with it and when like killings were compared there was a high correlation in the sentences. Fred Gilreath enjoyed 20 years of life that he took away from others. Twelve people said he should die.
If he did not want to live during those years, if those years were not precious to him, why did he not put an end to his life and save the taxpayers the money, time and continued aggravation of putting up with such a horrible killer? You can't do a crime and say, "Oh I am sorry. Let me live and have contact with others, including my family."
Do you think it would be OK to say that life, confined to a room with no contact with anyone, no sunshine etc. until death would be OK? That is what he did to members of society. I do not believe that is what you are asking. If that is OK with you, then you would get a lot of people to agree to that. I am genuinely concerned that after reading your article and rereading parts of it that you need to get help to handle your anger.
Good luck with whatever you do with your life. It is not fair and people trying hard to live a good life, including me, get kicked around like everyone else. We do the best we can not to infringe on others' civil liberties and try to make others' lives a little better.
-- George Mewborn, Sandy Springs
Ode to good words
I enjoyed Felicia Feaster's piece on Jim Water's show (Flicks, "Ode to O's," Nov. 7). I have known Jim for many years now and he was delighted with the work Feaster has done. He handed me the review to read and said, "How can it be bad, if I start talking about orgasms?" All kidding aside, it is a wonderfully insightful look at his work.
He will not confirm or deny any of the ideas that Feaster mentions in the review, that is just Jim. I think this is just the kind of writing Atlanta's art scene needs. I thought it was great that Feaster followed her thoughts up with the fact that Halley, Flavin and Kelly can all be found in Jim's work. Educating our community about contemporary art is the key to a successful scene.
Keep up the good words.
-- Scott Ingram, Atlanta
It was with much amusement that I read the recent Creative Loafing with all of the attention to the plight of Afghan women and women's rights in general (Think Tank, Rant, "Facts from fiction," Nov. 7).
In response, there's only one thing worth saying. You are all utter hypocrites.
Have you taken a recent look through your oh-so-enlightened magazine? Have you bothered to compare the page-by-page depictions of most of the women and (straight) men?
It's most noticeable, ironically, in that same issue. You can't turn a page in CL without seeing utterly degrading pictures of women. There are women in provocative poses, women showing skin, women showing cleavage, women selling porn, and women's faces/profiles/etc. used to sell totally mundane items, that should require no such gimmick (unless stuff like treatment for depression or bicycle shops require beautiful women's faces/bodies somehow). It is exploitation, pure and simple. Maybe it wouldn't be so bad if the men were equally degraded, but I doubt it.
If you permit your magazine to stoop to such low levels as well as accepting exploitative advertising (refer as needed to John Sugg's indictment of the AJC for similar cravenness to advertising dollars [News, Fish Wrapper, " 'Perhaps' is a four-letter word"]) then you, the Taliban and everyone else you accuse actually stand on the same slope. It's all a matter of degree.
-- Reza Tirgari, M.D., Decatur
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