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Appreciated 

Your responsible editorials concerning the Little Rock School District are greatly appreciated.

The paper that touts a Pulitzer winner, the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, is underhanded in its editorials, reporting and involvement.

An example appeared on page one of the B section Sunday, June 17. The seventh paragraph was directly contradictory to the article’s headline “LR district tension has calls up at private schools.”

That paper has also called the public amnesiac when it tried to equate other U.S. wars to the invasion of Iraq. This is the same way it treated teachers who did not want merit pay. Like Bush, that paper has lost credibility.

Winifred Baker

Little Rock

Intrastate rivalry

In response to the Springdale mayor’s proposal “about an award we can pass back and forth” for whoever wins the most when play begins between the Arkansas Travelers and the new Springdale AA baseball club, consider this, Mayor Van Hoose. There already is an award. It’s called the Texas League standings.

It’s professional baseball, not some sort of intramural high school league thing.

Larry Brannan

Little Rock

Gun control

Why not pass a law that all guns are limited to chamber only three projectiles at any one time?

By so doing, gun nuts would be required to rearm their weapons about every two minutes.

It is not a perfect solution, but in my view it would slow down the carnage.

A response from the NRA is invited.

Frank Lambright

Little Rock

Prison conditions

Myths have a way of hiding what we don’t want to see. Americans, for example, are quick to charge Third-World dictators with abusive prison policies. But prison incarceration rates tell a different story. Recent reports show that 45 of the 50 democratically elected state governments in the U.S., including Arkansas, imprison their citizens at a faster pace than any of the foreign governments headed by dictators, according to the National Council on Crime and Delinquency.

Rulers in Libya, Zimbabwe, Saudi Arabia, China and Pakistan — among the world’s worst dictatorships — incarcerated people at a rate ranging from 57 for every 100,000 population in Pakistan to 207 in Libya.

By comparison, Arkansas locked up 479 state citizens for every 100,000 population in 2005. In other words, Arkansas imprisons its people at a rate more than two times that of Libya and eight times more than Pakistan. If inmates held in local jails in Arkansas were added in, the spread would be even wider.

Why are prisons filling here at a faster rate? Some say our crime rate is the cause. Others blame changes in sentencing policy.

Legislatively dictated sentences for even minor offenses tie the hands of judges and juries. These mandatory minimum punishments continue to keep hundreds of thousands behind bars for just using or selling tiny amounts of illicit substances.

In addition, about half of all inmates in the U.S. are serving time for non-violent offenses. If prisons were only used to separate dangerous people from the rest of society, the 13,383 prisoners in Arkansas in 2005 could be drastically cut overnight.

Rather than reforming inmates, U.S. prisons have become a merry-go-round. More than half of all inmates leaving prison find their way back — often due to minor violations of parole or probation rules.

Isn’t it time that we stop worrying about the behavior of faraway dictators and start downsizing prisons here at home?

Ronald Fraser

Washington

School's a state issue

The Little Rock School Board for the first time in history has a black majority. The board is embroiled in a current struggle over the change in power. This was reflected by the issue of keeping Superintendent Roy Brooks or letting him go. This divided the city along what appears to be racial lines.

A preacher recently led a boycott of the Brinkley schools in protest of changes that he thought were unfair racially. He said that the board and superintendent have “a lack of understanding of cultural diversity.” That appears to be true in Little Rock on both sides. Blacks lack understanding of white culture and whites lack understanding of black culture. This misunderstanding has led to a lack of trust by blacks and fear by whites of blacks gaining power.

Governor Beebe has been asked to help in Little Rock. I am sure the people in Brinkley would love his help too. Both need to realize that the issue is bigger than both Little Rock and Brinkley.

The nation knows that there is a racial gap in education in this country. The state of Arkansas knows that there is a racial gap in education in the state. The cities of Brinkley and Little Rock know that there is a gap in education in both cities.

Little Rock recently had a change of school board power that has shifted to blacks. Brinkley still has a white-controlled school board in a majority black district. For whatever reason, white control has failed to find ways to close the racial gap. There is frustration on both sides, but blacks have the argument that they have not been in control. Fighting over who is in control is a lose/lose for both sides.

Both cities and the rest of the state need to rise to the level of the governor and help him deal with the issue on the state and national level. It affects the whole state.

Dr. Dennis Burrow

Little Rock

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