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Wrongful Executions on Death Row

The front-page article "Congress Sets Stage for Swift Executions," April 8, mentions a study by New York's Columbia University Law School, concluding that of the 600 lower-court capital cases reviewed by the Supreme Court under habeas petitions, 40 percent were faulty or contained evidence of innocence - in other words 240 cases. Only 54 individuals have been released from death row. In the article nothing is said about the remaining 186 cases. Are these people still on death row? At least 23 people are believed to have been wrongfully executed in the United States since the turn of this century. Twenty-three innocent people have been officially killed. When will America wake up to the Sixth Commandment? ("Thou Shalt Not Kill," Ex. 20:13).

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Dick J. Blokker Princeton, N.J.

United Nations contributions

Regarding the item in the Etceteras column "Checks are beginning to trickle into the UN to help pay the more than $1 billion US debt," March 29: To whom should the checks be made out, and where should they be mailed? The UN is a necessary world body. There have been mistakes made, but much good is done in its name. I cannot judge, but it does need money, and is demeaned by the US holding back.

Mary Lou Muhlhausen Bethlehem, Pa.

Editor's note: Contributions to the United Nations should be sent to The Treasurer/UN, Room S - 2770, United Nations, New York, NY, 10017. Checks should be made payable to the United Nations.

Self-esteem vs. egotism

The front-page article "Self-Esteem Education Earns Mixed Marks," April 4, brings up a good point about self-esteem education - people can confuse a good self-image with an overinflated self-image.

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I agree with Robert Reasoner, president of the International Council for Self-Esteem, that we need to distinguish between self-esteem and egotism. It is clear to most everyone that a shy person has low self-esteem.

However, it may be harder to see that the playground bully or the criminal type suffers from the same debilitating fear as the shy one, namely that they may not be good enough. The overinflated image of these bully types is just a fragile facade that must be maintained at the expense of others. That is not high self-esteem.

Self-esteem education does not need to be thrown out. We just need to make sure children understand that if you think of yourself but not of others, then you may still have a serious problem.

Arlene Williams Sparks, Nev.

Solving the education crisis

My compliments to the author of the opinion-page article "Science and the Education Crisis," April 8, for heralding the support of our educated elite, including myself, in the solution of the ongoing crisis in public education.

My path to a lifetime of education began at Principia High School in St. Louis, where the emphasis is on the whole man, which for me later included a PhD in physics and a master's degree in engineering.

The author must know, as I was sad to learn when I found a gym instructor teaching my children mathematics, that the crisis is due in large measure to a teachers union which considers me unqualified to teach. My five years teaching freshmen physics at college isn't enough for me to teach the same subject to people in high school.

I and my overeducated colleagues are effectively barred from the lower grades by self-perpetuated rules that protect jobs. Few of these jobs are filled by persons with science and math degrees. Japanese cars brought quality back to unionized Detroit. What will bring quality back to public education?

T.L. Loucks Jacksonville, Fla.

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