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Letters are posted as we receive them during the week, and before they are printed in the paper, so check back frequently to see new letters. If you'd like to send a letter to the editor, use this postmarks submission form, or email your letter directly to mail@austinchronicle.com. Thanks for your patience.
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A Dying Art

RECEIVED Sat., Oct. 1, 2016

Dear Editor,
    I read the article on the anti-Sharia law bill, by Dina Samir Shehata and it was really good ["Anti-Sharia Bill Dead, but Sentiment Alive," News, May 22, 2015].
    I much appreciate clearly written articles that cover the salient points of a situation, as this seems to be a dying art in "journalism" these days.
    Some aspects of this just came up in the news, and I was confused why someone would create a law to say judges could not apply foreign law. I didn't even know that was legal, and the article mentioned cases where foreign law might be referenced by judges. That was a very important piece of information.
    Thanks for the clear journalism.
Michael Bauers

An Offering of Hope

RECEIVED Fri., Sept. 30, 2016

Dear Editor,
    Thank you for providing the Standing Rock article ["'It's About All of Us,'" News, Sept. 30]. While the piece said that Standing Rock has finally become “fixed” in the “national gaze,” I point out that this amazing historical event has been willfully ignored by American mainstream media. This issue will be in the “national gaze” when as many people know about it as know about the Brangelina breakup, and when the question “What is your response to Standing Rock?” is posed to the so-called presidential candidates during televised debates.
    A crucial fact is that this oil is a combination of toxic poisons being sucked through tubes that always break. Just a few days ago, yet another breakage occurred in Alabama. And again, mainstream media either flat-out ignores the spill or frames it in a perspective most suited to the corporations it serves.
    Our system of law is so f---ed up that it’s illegal to protect safe drinking water and clean rivers. You’ll be roughed up and imprisoned for that; but it’s perfectly legal to jeopardize those precious resources (and given the odds of pipelines spilling, certainly ruin them).
    The American people need a win. We are desperate, angry, and hopeless while corporations poison and steal our land and water, make people sick, and take away our choices. The courageous Native Americans (and others) at Standing Rock are offering hope. This is a chance for all of us to say “no” and begin to win our power if we passionately, wholeheartedly support them.
Fancy Fairchild

Little Difference

RECEIVED Thu., Sept. 29, 2016

Dear Editor,
    "Page Two: Two Candidates in Search of a Presidency" [Sept. 30] had this curious assertion: "If you believe that there is no difference between the two parties then it is hard to imagine a government with which you'd be happy."
    Respectfully, it appears that statement is projection. I have a Bernie supporting girlfriend who is gonna hold her nose and vote for Hillary no matter what she says or does in the next month, and so I know from many passionate but respectful political discussions with her that it is hard for someone with that ideology to even imagine the world Libertarians would like to live in, much less imagine any conceivable path to get there. So, a short list:
    The Bill of Rights would be somewhere between 1,000 and 10,000 articles long, laying out in great detail the vast expanses of rights and life not subject to government interference. But, it could be summarized briefly: Do whatever the heck pleases you, so long as you don't harm another person or their possessions. If it's morally reprehensible for you to do something to your neighbor, it's as reprehensible to delegate that action to someone wearing a government-issued costume and badge.
    In that world, no one would be locked up in a cage for smoking weed, or consuming other substances. We would use personal charity, not bureaucrats and taxes, to do charitable deeds. Peaceful immigrants would be welcomed, rather than rebuffed with double walled fences patrolled in between by armed Border Patrol agents. The NSA would be dismantled, and Edward Snowden would be regarded as a courageous hero, not a traitor. Eventually, the current seats of government would be converted into insane asylums, and the inmates' directives and orders would be courteously ignored.
    And so on.
    To the extent that the both major parties find these and many other peaceable notions ludicrous or even incomprehensible, then yes, from my perspective there is precious little difference between the major parties and in particular their candidates for president, and voting for either of them is an utter waste of a few hours that could be spent in productive or enjoyable pastimes.
Jim Henshaw
   [Louis Black responds: Jim Henshaw is correct; the sentence was sloppy in thought and wording. Better would be: "If you believe there is no difference between the two parties then it is hard to imagine a realistic, electable, and achievable government with which you'd be happy."]

On Evidence, Pt. 2

RECEIVED Thu., Sept. 29, 2016

Dear Editor,
    Some of the evidence that the prosecution is presenting to the jury in my trial, is misleading. The prosecution has decided to present redacted interview evidence in my trial. Which in my book is called tampering with evidence. But the sad thing about this is, my court-appointed attorneys are agreeing with this act of deception, also. When interviews or depositions of testimonies are edited, it alters the content of perception and interpretation of them. This should not be acceptable in a court of law, when they feel it's alright to deceive the jury in presenting any kind of evidence.
    So, what does a juror do when this act of deception takes place in a criminal trial?
    I believe a juror has to read between the lines of evidence, which can lead to misinterpretation of the evidence. This is how the criminal justice system operates nowadays. Do you think this right? I don't. I believe it's unethical.
Mark A. Norwood
   [Ed. note: Mark Norwood is serving consecutive life sentences for the 1986 murder of Christine Morton and the 1988 murder of Debra Baker. This letter was written during the week of Sept. 12, during the first week of the Baker trial, which concluded Friday, Sept. 23. It was sent to the Chronicle on Sept. 24. For a recap of the trial, see "Norwood Found Guilty," Sept. 30.]
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