Facts clearly show Abu-Jamal's guilt

I was a young law student in Philadelphia when Officer Daniel Faulkner was murdered 30 years ago and have followed the case since then ("Why freedom makes even more sense now," Sunday). The undisputed facts demonstrate that no "renewed logic" warrants Mumia Abu-Jamal's release. To any reasonable mind, those facts always provided - and still provide - a compelling basis for the jury's finding of guilt.

On Dec. 9, 1981, Faulkner stopped Abu-Jamal's brother, William Cook, at 13th and Locust. Abu-Jamal, parked across the street, ran toward the traffic stop; an exchange of gunfire ensued. Abu-Jamal was hit by a bullet from Faulkner's weapon; Faulkner died of gunshot wounds. Abu- Jamal had a shoulder holster and revolver, which had five spent cartridges. Ballistics tests matched the bullet fragments in Faulkner's body to the type of revolver Abu-Jamal was carrying. Multiple eyewitnesses identified Abu-Jamal as the shooter. Abu-Jamal never testified. William Cook, the closest eyewitness, refused to testify or indeed even to assist with his own brother's defense.

While Mark Lewis Taylor picks at the margins of the case, he engages none of these critical facts - facts that explain why not one reviewing court over the last 30 years has expressed one iota of doubt as to Abu-Jamal's guilt.

Neither the 25-year-old Faulkner, nor his then-new bride, Maureen, will ever receive the "release ... into the arms of family and friends, into spaces of support and life" that Taylor and so many others crave for Abu-Jamal.

Tony Winchester, Greenville, Del.

Judge's decision was not cowardly

As an attorney who has made several appearances before Judge William H. Yohn Jr., of the federal District Court, and knows him by reputation as well, I must take issue with Maureen Faulkner's characterization of him and other judges in the case as "dishonest cowards." To the contrary, Judge Yohn's integrity forced him to make a very unpopular decision in Mumia Abu-Jamal's case, in favor of a callous cop-killer (I've read the trial transcript - he did it) whose case nevertheless became an international cause célèbre. There is no doubt in my mind that Judge Yohn ruled as he did - in favor of a new penalty hearing for Abu-Jamal - because he was convinced that protection of the constitutional rights to due process and trial by a properly instructed jury demanded that he rule in favor of Abu-Jamal.

Thomas R. Quinn, Philadelphia

While we're here, make Earth work

Lane Filler advocates our inevitable emigration from Earth to other potentially inhabitable "Goldilocks planets" in our galaxy, but overlooks a couple of daunting problems ("Don't worry, there are always other planets," Saturday):

If we were to ultimately face lethal conditions on Earth, given the enormous problems of long-term space travel, we could not conceivably evacuate more than a few hundred people. This would provide cold comfort for those who remain.

Most evolutionary scientists agree: Where "Goldilock's planet" conditions exist in our galaxy (Earth-like distance from the resident star, which allows liquid water), life has probably already originated there. Maybe this life is primitive; maybe it is complex (we prefer to think we are the latter). What are we going to do if we finally attempt to colonize an already inhabited planet? (Hopefully, theoretical future voyages will not be armed.)

For many practical reasons, at least temporarily, we are stuck with a rather wonderful Earth. Let's hope that we can be gifted stewards in keeping it maximally habitable for many, many millennia to come!

Bruce Molholt, West Chester, bmolholt@aol.com

DRPA spending illustrates problems

The Delaware River Port Authority is the symptom of why we are broke ("Like an addict, DRPA can't kick spending habit," Sunday). Taxpayer dollars are the source of job creation, not the alleged and unidentifiable job creators. If we believe in free-market capitalism, when will we find out that it works? Can the system stand on its own two feet, actually improve the lives of the people who toil in it, and act like an adult? When will federal, state, county, and local governments stop the social welfare for business and corporations?

Joel H. Beldner, Glenmoore