Some questions on deterrence

The timing of the riot at the Nebraska prison brings up a question that every state senator needs to ask himself or herself. Do two life sentences without the chance of parole mean anything or offer a deterrent?

With two inmates being killed during the riot, what penalty is to be given if the killers of the inmates are already serving life without parole? What penalty would be appropriate if an inmate serving life without a chance of parole killed a guard?

Charles Martin,Papillion

Bipartisan push for repeal is good sign

Congratulations to the Legislature on its vote to repeal the death penalty (Legislative Bill 268). At a time when our national politics seem hopelessly gridlocked, it has been heartening to watch our legislators work in a bipartisan fashion to tackle this important issue.

They, like a majority of Nebraskans, have come to realize that we can simply no longer afford to maintain a death penalty system so fraught with error and so exorbitantly expensive. A sentence of life without the possibility of parole serves as a swift, severe, affordable alternative to the death penalty.

I thank our legislators for their hard work on this issue, and I look forward to the final outcome of LB 268.

Kathleen Hughes,Omaha

Repeal of death penalty wrong move

The death penalty is the ultimate sanction for behavior so heinous that the perpetrator does not deserve to be among us. Our legislators are about to potentially override the governor's veto, eliminating the death penalty in Nebraska. Why they think it is a good idea to remove this penalty is beyond me. I read all of their arguments and don't buy them.

Habitual criminals who rape, torture and kill children and other innocents do not deserve our forgiveness. These beasts that murder innocent people without remorse should know that only God may forgive them. We should not.

Nor should we send the message that you can come to Nebraska and rape, torture and murder, and we will give you three hots and a cot for life and free medical care. Plus, these inmates can write a couple of books and become famous, get a couple of advanced degrees and challenge their sentence in appeals ad infinitum. The victims, on the other hand, will have no such opportunities to better themselves.

Nebraskans should not allow the Legislature to take away the ultimate sanction for horrendous, remorseless behavior that leaves innocent families without their loved ones —

Douglas Mang,Omaha

Ricketts' view at odds with church's

In a May 16 World-Herald article about replacing Nebraska's death penalty with life in prison without parole, Gov. Pete Ricketts stated that such a move was "out of touch" with Nebraskans he talks with on the issue.

Apparently, he is not talking with Omaha Archbishop George Lucas, other Catholic bishops (or religious leaders from additional denominations), his parish priest or faithful Nebraska Catholics who honor and uphold the catechism and the church's teachings about the sanctity of human life.

As a lifelong Catholic, I am saddened and embarrassed that two of Nebraska's governors who tout their "Catholicism," Mike Johanns and Ricketts, have made the state's ability to end human life such a priority. (Johanns called a special session when electrocution was ruled cruel and unusual punishment; Ricketts said in the World-Herald that he considered the functionality of the death penalty in Nebraska a management issue that he has promised to resolve).

If a politician uses his religion to justify unpopular rulings, he should be consistent with that church's teachings.

Susan Kuhlmann,Omaha

Trip to ER elicited some sticker shock

Not long ago, I had a medical problem that was potentially serious. I couldn't get an appointment with my family doctor for two weeks or at the local clinic for a couple of days, so I drove myself to the ER. I waited three hours to be seen by a doctor who gave me a 15-minute exam and a blood test. The blood test proved negative.

The doctor didn't know what was causing the problem but didn't think it was serious. He advised me to make an appointment with my own doctor if it didn't clear up soon.

The bill for this 15 minutes of medical "advice" was $1,800. Fortunately for me, Medicare paid part of it and the rest disappeared. But if I were younger and without insurance, I would have been stuck with the entire amount.

For those of you who think the emergency room is all the medical care poor or uninsured people need, think again. It is the most expensive medical care in the world.

James Coulter,Omaha

Insurance delay adds insult to injury

My husband was injured while working for Rural Metro Ambulance as a driver. He filed for workmen's compensation. He finally had to get an attorney to get the ball rolling.

The insurance company for Rural Metro agreed to pay. The money trickled in slowly. This accident happened in January of 2013. He was only paid part of what he had coming to him. He was told by his attorney he probably would not be compensated for the rest of his expenses, such as gas and meds.

Lo and behold, he received a call and was told he would receive the rest of what he was owed in February of this year. He received money for expenses — but not the money he is entitled to for disability after a complete shoulder replacement and bicep repair.

He was told by his attorney the insurance company is trying to hang tight and let the statute of limitations run out so they don't have to pay. No wonder people don't trust insurance companies and a person's word of honor.

I don't.

Kristie A. Moran,Omaha

A-la-carte might mean less cord-cutting

According to DSL Reports, Cox Communications is starting a trial in the Cleveland market to impose data caps and overage fees on customers' Internet service. This could potentially be rolled out to all of Cox's markets, including Omaha.

How many more fees can the cable company add on to the consumer? Rate hikes year after year, then all of a sudden you have to start using a box for all TVs at $1.99 a month?

I don't understand why Cox just doesn't get it. Offer a la carte pricing, and maybe more people will decide to keep cable instead of jumping to services such as Hulu or Netflix.

John Marousek,Papillion

Inaction on puppy mills is shameful

I have seen the results of puppy mill "leftovers," the animals that no longer produce large litters. These dogs are dumped at humane societies and shelters; the lucky ones are purchased by rescue organizations at dog auctions held by the puppy mill owners.

These dogs cringe when someone touches them. They don't know what grass is or that it is alright to urinate on it. They don't know how to bark or play. I have seen dogs run to the corner of a yard and stay there for hours until someone comes to pick them up.

What kind of person condones or ignores this treatment? Why do our state senators choose not to do anything about this? Isn't one measure of a man how he treats his animals? I will remember this the next time I vote.

Shame on you all.

Nancy Munger,Omaha

Many are giving football a bad rap

Hilary Kirby (May 15 Pulse) would like to see football eliminated as a high school sport. Her letter is a prime example of when the media jumps on a topic without telling the full details.

Yes, football is a rough sport, and, yes, concussions can happen in football. But what about soccer? Girls soccer can have just as many concessions as boys tackle football.

The youth football programs in this country are working to teach proper tackling and to make the game safer. I have two stepsons, both under age 16, who have played football since age nine. I have confidence in the "Heads Up" program instigated by the NFL.

The bottom line is that all team sports have hazards, whether it's football, baseball, basketball or soccer. However, the building of team camaraderie and learning to commit and work toward common goals with teammates and the life-building lessons kids learn far outweigh a mother's worry that her child might get injured competing.

Scott Bray,La Vista

Good Samaritans came to rescue

After an enjoyable birthday dinner the evening of May 12, I found that my car would not start due to a discharged battery.

As I prepared to call for assistance from AAA, a very pleasant lady approached my car and said that she and her husband had jumper cables. My emergency was resolved.

The couple would not give me their names so I could appropriately express my appreciation. So I hope they see this letter and know my sincere thanks for their example of "people helping people."

Willis C. Gray,Bellevue

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