Serving homeless 

A recent letter to the editor criticized the location of a breakfast center for the hungry and homeless in a storefront at 1307 W. Markham St.

The basic argument was that it should be in the neighborhood of the volunteers, not in the Salvation Army/Train Station neighborhood. The basic answer is that services for the hungry need to be where the hungry are. A second answer is that the West Markham address is much more commercial and institutional than residential.

A second complaint was that the hungry are not “down-on-their-luck…looking for an honest job” but “crackheads, schizophrenics and psychotics…turned loose on the streets without medication.” From several years of face-to-face conversations and breaking bread with the hungry, I observe that 98 percent are not crackheads and are “looking for an honest job.” While a very small percentage of those have mental problems, getting them food and medication is more humane than chasing them away.

There was a third comment about a young son and “common decency.” One of the organizers of the Helping Hands for the Hungry and Homeless took her young granddaughter down to observe and mingle with the hungry as a learning exercise about compassion and decency. The young girl said she learned that hungry people were nice people.

Most of the world’s religions and cultures have some subscription to the grand idea: Feed the hungry/help the needy/love your neighbor — of all flavors and capabilities. The 30 or so volunteers are practicing that. The hungry appreciate this. Many are practicing helping each other.
Concerned and caring neighbors (and others) are welcome to drop into 1307 W. Markham any weekday morning 8-8:30. They will meet some delightful and interesting people. They might learn something.
Robert Johnston
Little Rock

The West Memphis Three

Like Jason Baldwin [Letters, March 30], I found strange Gov. Mike Huckabee’s comment that suggested he’d received no questions from Arkansans about the case of the West Memphis Three, convicted in the slayings of three children. There are thousands of people here in Arkansas disturbed and concerned about the case. If he will give the time and place he would like to meet us, we will all be there with our questions.

The governor went on to state that he hasn’t seen any evidence “that hasn’t already been checked out by the proper authorities.” Any person with nominal critical thinking skills has to ask, “What evidence?” Governor Huckabee’s false or questionable presupposition is that there was evidence. And that raises the most alarming question of all. How could these three young men have been convicted without it?

The Innocence Project, founded in 1992, is a non-profit legal clinic and criminal justice resource center working to exonerate the wrongfully convicted and prevent wrongful convictions. It has helped exonerate 159 wrongly convicted prisoners across the country. The goal is to walk innocent people like Jason Baldwin, Damien Echols and Jesse Misskelley out of prison. These are good men, probably better men than “the proper authorities” who put them there. DNA tests will prove that Baldwin, Echols and Misskelley were not the scary, evil agents of Satan they were portrayed by police, prosecutors, and the media in this case. The Arkansas criminal justice system was — and that is terrifying to contemplate.
Lanette Grate

Tax problem

So, has anyone else out there tried to pay their personal property taxes with any other computer than a Windows machine, and only a Windows machine running Internet Explorer 6?



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