Illogical defense

Mark Lewis Taylor's prime argument for releasing convicted killer Mumia Abu-Jamal seems to be that his lengthy stay in prison constitutes cruel and unusual punishment ("Why freedom makes even more sense now," Sunday). This is akin to someone intentionally raising his own thermostat higher and higher over a long period of time and then complaining that he's spent years being forced to sweat.

If our increasingly left-leaning court system ceased its practice of allowing endless appeals to death sentences - often on the most idiotic grounds - then convicted murderers like Abu-Jamal would not be forced to languish on death row for years. They would be executed in a timely fashion and there would be no need for the professor and his ilk to bemoan their extended "suffering."

The victims had no chance to appeal, and the only ones suffering years of cruel and unusual punishment are the families. Michael Smerconish's piece ("No doubt on guilt, but fighting on was futile," Sunday) lays out the logical truth when he says that no rational person who is truly familiar with the facts of the case could have any doubt of Abu-Jamal's guilt.

Kyran Connelly, Bensalem

Ignore the hype

Thanks to Mark Lewis Taylor, I now see the shallowness of the "Free Mumia" movement more clearly. Taylor's arguments are so strained (lots of famous people support Mumia!) and specious (he's been in prison so long, it's time to release him!) that they unintentionally highlight how substantial is the argument for Abu-Jamal's guilt. That a federal judge had doubts about the sentencing instructions 30 years after the fact does not cast doubt on the initial verdict. All who are interested in this case should give careful consideration to the facts and legal rulings and not be distracted by Abu-Jamal's ceaseless public relations machine.

Andy Horvath, Elverson,

Cancers within

The stories today were not good, including "Two men found shot dead in car in Lindenwold" (Sunday), plus more reports about crime in Camden. As I read about these very real cancers hurting our region, I again wondered if our nation will ever see that we are only harming ourselves when we spend so much of our financial resources for so-called preventive wars overseas rather than on projects within our own borders. Such endeavors would do more to protect us not only from outside enemies, but more importantly, from the cancers within, the kind that history shows have destroyed every great power before us.

Ian Wachstein, Collingswood

Fund bike ramp

The Delaware River Port Authority has allocated millions for local food banks, a cancer center, student housing at Rutgers-Camden, and other non-transportation projects ("DRPA spends $20 million for economic-development projects," Thursday). It is baffling that it cannot find $4 million to build a ramp compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act for the south walkway on the Ben Franklin Bridge

The ramp is the biggest barrier to safely biking and walking between Camden and Philadelphia. Why does DRPA continue to display such a low regard for the 50 percent of Philadelphia and Camden households that don't own a car and live within two miles of the bridge?

John Boyle, research director, the Bicycle Coalition of Greater Philadelphia, Philadelphia

False history

I object to Rob Sobhani's "divide-and-conquer" effort to pit African Americans against Latinos ("A plan to boost black employment: We must stem the tide of immigration," Dec. 8). Did he think we were too stupid to notice his invention of a false history?

The writer lumps together the Latinos who settled and colonized Texas and California with "immigrants." He seems to think that our presence has been recent and has taken job opportunities away from "real Americans" who are black.

In fact, San Antonio was named San Antonio (a half-century before there was a United States) because we were there first. Ditto for Los Angeles, San Francisco, Santa Fe, San Juan in Puerto Rico, etc. We didn't come to the United States: It came to us - bearing arms.

Anthony M. Stevens-Arroyo, professor emeritus of Puerto Rican and Latino studies, Brooklyn College - CUNY, East Stroudsburg

Who's greedy?

The Occupy Wall Street protesters are being misled by some idea that they deserve what others have rightfully earned. It seems the "greed" that protesters blame on Wall Street is more on their side because they want what others have worked for. It would be interesting to see how many of these disgruntled students had grants and scholarships enabling them to get an education. These funds were most likely donated by the very people the protesters are railing against.

Jeanne Crouch, North Wales

Another cause

Unfortunately, when listing President Obama's economic failures, Charles Krauthammer forgot to mention the failure to make even a dent in the payback required by U.S. borrowings from China and others to finance the war in Iraq, into which the country had been dragged by President George W. Bush, who was aided and abetted by certain newspaper columnists ("A run against his own record," Monday). If Krauthammer had listed this cause of our woeful economic situation, he'd have to steer way clear of mirrors. Perhaps he thinks readers don't know.

Larry Montgomery, Ocean City