In his Feb. 22 Opinion piece, "Why American newspapers should publish the cartoons," Jonathan Zimmerman argues that American newspapers ought to publish the toxic cartoons that have set the Muslim world ablaze on the basis of equality. In essence, he claims Muslims are like everybody else and should be able to handle the satire. But this is where he misses the point. If Mr. Zimmerman is calling for equal treatment, then he should recognize that many newspapers all over the world decline to publish disparaging cartoons of Jesus or Moses, and he should decry such practice.
There is indeed a double standard here. Flemming Rose, of the Jyllands-Posten, solicited artists for caricatures of Muhammad. But Mr. Rose earlier had refused to publish cartoons disparaging Jesus. Rose declined on the basis that it might anger his readers. If there were equal standards, why could the Christian Danish population not handle such an insult, but the Muslims can?
Zimmerman also usurps the history and sentiment of the 1950s and '60s civil rights movement and equates news coverage advocating for civil rights with the publishing of the cartoons. If the civil rights movement stood for anything it is for equal respect, and Muslims, Jews, and Christians should all be afforded their fair share.
Jonathan Zimmerman makes a cogent argument for printing the cartoons that enraged so much of the Islamic world. Of course, we can all stand the "hit." But would it make much of a difference to our population to skip the cartoons? I think not. We Americans are not such a purient folk as to need to see them.
Regarding the Feb. 22 article, "If judges screen evidence, is the jury usurped?": A judge screens evidence in almost every case or trial, both civil and criminal. If there is an issue about the authenticity or reliability of evidence for relevance, or other concerns, the attorneys can motion the court to consider the admissibility and reliability of such evidence prior to a jury hearing such information. To permit otherwise would be to clog the court system with never ending and often unreliable proffers which do not even qualify as reliable evidence.
The focus of the story should be directed to the reasons the judge had for barring the evidence. Certainly, the judge could have made a mistake, but the system of checks and balances, through the appellate courts, is designed to ferret out such errors. But some mistakes are bound to slip through, as the system is subject to human error, even by judges.
Sean G. Deverin, Esq.
Little Silver, N.J.
The legal argument presented in the Feb. 21 article "A test of US authority over waterways" that a wetland (or any land) in Macomb County, Mich., is not hydrologically connected to navigable waters of the United States simply does not hold water. Macomb County is in the Lake St. Clair drainage, navigable waters of the United States. Placing a berm between the property in question and a drainage ditch does not disconnect the property's hydrology from the rest of the watershed. Runoff from the property will still reach the drainage ditch and Lake St. Clair through subsurface flow.
Douglas Beyerlein, P.E.
Mill Creek, Wash. Member, American Institute of Hydrology
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