Stanch protests

Why not just completely dispense with grand juries ("Grand jury clears officer in N.Y. death; protests follow," Dec. 4)? Instead, have all such decisions made by a permanent panel consisting of the president, the attorney general, various members of Congress, and, of course, countless social advocates. After all, they know what is fair and correct without wasting time hearing all the facts. By eliminating grand juries, we also could have eliminated the anarchy that followed two recent decisions on deaths involving police.

|E. Campbell, Philadelphia

Seeing is believing

Like many, I vehemently disagree with a New York grand jury's incredible decision in the Eric Garner case, most particularly in view of the indisputable video evidence. But I understand it ("Holiday joy amid outrage," Dec. 4).

What I understand about the absolute incredibility of the grand jury's decision is the result of a profound lesson learned from the 1991 Rodney King case, also caught on video. Despite unequivocal video evidence of an incident, people believe what they want to believe, period. It's much like a spouse's cheating that is common knowledge except to the offended spouse, simply because of an unwillingness to believe the obvious.

|Albert Whitehead, Philadelphia,


Unified vs. NCAA

Luke Zubrod's article on the Jerry Sandusky scandal captured the whole sorry saga in one all-encompassing essay ("Penn State offers lessons on leadership," Dec. 2). There are no real winners, but many in authority failed as leaders.

The ubiquitous Penn State community oft referred to has been driven to bewilderment and disillusion by the incredible mishandling of practically every aspect of the incident. But as the writer points out, there is almost complete unity in the anger and disgust toward the NCAA, a collection of self-important, power-hungry bullies who seized on a tragedy to intimidate an all-to-compliant, fearful, and, yes, leaderless university.

This much is clear: The imposition of collective guilt on the innocent has been a repetitive horror story throughout history.

|Ronald H. Beifeld, Conshohocken,


A towering, evergreen part of Phila. Christmas

There have been numerous Christmas traditions that I once thought were irreplaceable, including the placement of a Christmas tree atop the then-Connelly Containers tower in Bala Cynwyd. During his tenure in the company's maintenance department, Bob Grow would strap on a tree and climb to the peak with the help of electrician Joe Terifay. These two men made this a holiday tradition for many years.

Recently, I got to meet Grow. I was in awe discovering that this was the same individual who provided me with a memorable recollection from childhood. He was undaunted in completing his tree task year in and year out. After Connelly was sold, the tradition ended. But it's a tradition that will be forever missed. Perhaps it could be rekindled.

|Joseph Falchetta, Philadelphia,


Advice to the confused: Get an adviser

Consumers baffled by all their options under Obamcare should consider seeking the expert counsel of a licensed professional agent ("More plans, choices in Affordable Care Act exchanges," Nov. 23). Access to agents is linked to lower health costs. Nationwide, 84 percent of those who received assistance purchasing coverage last year rated it helpful.

|Janet Trautwein, National Association of Health Underwriters, Washington


Putting a spotlight on great art collector

Here's the biggest puzzle for the thousands of Barnes Foundation museum visitors: Who is Barnes ("First impression," Nov. 30)? As art critic Edward Solzanki has written, there should be a bronze statue of Barnes at the entrance so visitors will know they are entering into the creation of a very great man.

|Philip Lustig, Downingtown