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Cyclists should stay off the road 

Cyclists should stay off the road

A plague has descended upon Little Rock and beyond. Not locusts or frogs but the helmeted, multi-colored, spandex-wearing, two-wheeled variety of pest, hundreds of which spill out of every park and back road and onto our major highways.

It would appear that the many miles of special cycle-ways so generously afforded them are not enough.

Entirely self-absorbed, they are concerned about no one's safety and comfort but their own, even though they are clearly at greater risk of death or injury than the more legitimate road users.

Of course, it would not occur to these selfish fools that their presence on major roads constitutes a grave hazard to motorists as well as to themselves. Driving is dangerous enough these days without adding swerving cyclists to the lethal mix. The law should insist that all cyclists confine themselves to the many designated cycle paths in the city and surrounding area and to stay well away from motorways.

Many years ago, when few cars existed, it was relatively safe for cyclists to share the roads with the formerly much slower motorists. These days it is sheer MADNESS.

Finally, I should add that cyclists are almost as much a menace to pedestrians as they are to motorists.

William G. Carlyle

Little Rock

A new day in Arkansas

Apparently, a new era in Arkansas will soon begin. For the first time in Arkansas's political history, since "The Family," there will be no Democrats in constitutional offices or in our state's federal delegation. Such offices will be held by Republicans. The state legislature will be Republican, except for a handful of districts where no Republican candidates could be fielded for the election cycle of 2014. National Republicans will also control our state's agenda. Think about it. The most expensive party of any kind in the history of the world will be in control of Arkansas. Republicans will be all-powerful and immune to responsibility in Arkansas, which makes this the perfect time to consider amending the state's Constitution to allow for deficit budgeting. Just think how much money Republicans could make.

The feds do it. John Maynard Keynes convinced Franklin Roosevelt in an open letter that the United States could spend more than it collected. The sky was the limit. Ronald Reagan was the first president to budget for over a trillion doallars. Who cares? Reagan is a super icon. The Bush-Cheney government spent over $30 trillion. So what? Voters do not really care about deficits. CNN Sunshine Review lists most states in the U.S. as mortgaged to the hilt. Why not Arkansas?

Arkansas's Constitution demands that the state budget be balanced. Balance is for Democrats. Republicans can call it "Amendment 91."

Gene Mason

Jacksonville

Wrong about Zimmerman trial

Mr. Lyons' self-congratulatory little article ("Zimmerman trial: tragic, but correct verdict," July 18) is pure nonsense. Nowhere during his back-patting superior dance does he make a case that the verdict in the trial of George Zimmerman for killing Trayvon Martin was correct. Mr. Lyons does state that the verdict was predictable and he seems quite proud of himself for being on the correct side of that prediction. Predictability, however, does not equal correct. Nor does his being "a father of sons" have any relevance to the trial in question nor any testimony given in that trial. The simple-minded conclusions drawn by Mr. Lyons about what is or is not "common sense" about the confrontation between George Zimmerman and Trayvon Martin ignore the fact that Mr. Lyons was not present for that confrontation. Mr. Lyons was not in the car with George Zimmerman when he drove around carrying a loaded handgun looking for trouble. Mr. Lyons was not present when someone shouted for help. Mr. Lyons was not present when George Zimmerman managed to aim his loaded handgun at Trayvon Martin's chest and pull the trigger.

Mr. Lyons posits an example of "obvious questions" that were unasked because they would lead to "forbidden territory" by assuming that Trayvon Martin — young athlete that he was — had an obligation to outrun George Zimmerman rather than stand his ground.

Another obvious question, like exactly why a black teenager would see a need to defend himself from a 200-pound older white man pursuing him with a handgun, never got asked. Perhaps because the most obvious answer — that all young black males still need to defend themselves from older white men — would have taken the conversation into territory in desperate need for exploration.

Mr. Lyons' most egregious insult to Trayvon Martin's memory was saying that his "own impulsive actions appear to have had as much to do with his fate as George Zimmerman's." Which "impulsive actions" were those, Mr. Lyons? Was it walking to a convenience store at night? Was it wearing a hoodie? Was it buying Skittles? Was it defending himself against an older, heavier, white adult who pursued and confronted him? Perhaps the only "correct verdict" would have been that Trayvon Martin and George Zimmerman both are guilty of killing Trayvon Martin by their impulsive, foolish, unnecessary, overreactive responses to each other. The tragedy, and foolishness, of that conclusion is only one of them has been convicted and is serving a sentence for the crime. The other has avoided responsibility.

Mr. Lyons may have a motive other than self-congratulation for penning his article; I don't know. Mr. Lyons does appear quite willing to make assumptions about others' motives, however. Perhaps that's because not doing so would take Mr. Lyons into his own forbidden territory. He would have to say: I don't know.

David Stedman

Damascus

From the web

In response to Gene Lyons' column, "Zimmerman trial: tragic, but correct verdict":

Part of the worry of everyone was the female jury might be harder on Zimmerman because, as mothers, they may sympathize with the Martin family.

On the whole, though, the racial aspect has been overdone to the detriment of the facts. There are folks who still believe it was murder, even thought there isn't a single, lonely fact that can back up that claim.

Compounding the tragedy with hysteria is insane.

Steven E.

Submit letters to the Editor, Arkansas Times, P.O. Box 34010, Little Rock, AR 72203. We also accept letters via e-mail. The address is arktimes@arktimes.com. We also accept faxes at 375-3623. Please include name and hometown.

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