COSTS OF PAROLE
To use this ruling that might alter sentences of life in prison without parole for murderers who were juveniles at the time of their crimes in a retroactive manner is simply a betrayal of justice (Perspective, January 19). It gives no credit to the original prosecutor, judge, or jury. The developmental stage of the brain, which writer Nancy Gertner discusses, surely would have been considered before the transfer hearing. The law stated, at the time of sentencing, these killers would spend the rest of their days in prison. If it is deemed necessary to change the law, why make it retroactive? As a family member to just one of these victims, my sister Beth Brodie, I may have to spend the rest of life preparing to fight parole. My time would be better spent memorializing her. Where is her justice? Can the state of Massachusetts afford to add the parole hearings to an already stressed judicial system? What kind of message does this send to a teen with violent tendencies? We owe it to society to carefully examine each of these cases on their own.
Atkinson, New Hampshire
A PITCH FOR ENTREPRENEURS
Heidi Lehmann’s mission to increase the visibility of female entrepreneurs is admirable, but I question her decision to employ reality TV (First Person, January 19). Although shows like The Apprentice can boost name recognition and create financial incentives for participants, they are often tainted by contrived theatrics and unlikable contestants. Instead, why not inspire women through a fictional business heroine? In 2008, an Associated Press article quoted an academic researcher on the “CSI effect.” He believed that the television show — which portrayed increased numbers of women in leading scientific roles — was a factor in the more than doubling of female graduation rates from forensic science programs compared with 2000. Following the story of an engaging woman and her startup might encourage potential female entrepreneurs while also raising their profile and credibility in popular culture, thus improving the general business climate for women.
MANNERS ON THE T
I was moved to write today having happily, occasionally, benefited from the thoughtfulness of younger (much younger) fellow passengers on the T (Miss Conduct, January 19). I was warmed by Miss Conduct’s usual kind encouragement, and I look forward to her weekly dose of common sense and evident good heart (in the face of some mighty provocations to be less than kind).
Dr. David Mirsky
I have been routinely giving up my seat for others since I began using the T in 1964. In most cases I didn’t need to say a word. Usually I’d head toward the doors, giving the impression I was soon to arrive at my stop. Worked every time.
RULES FOR DINING OUT
I thoroughly enjoyed Kara Baskin’s article about dining out (Perspective, January 12). May I add one more public no-no: Gentlemen, please remove your headgear. Wearing baseball caps is so gauche, and it is not acceptable attire at the dinner table.
Tipping for poor service is anathema to those who tip generously for excellent service and well for appropriate service. When dining several years back with my two small children, a highchair was placed by the hostess in the aisle at the head of a booth. This appeared to upset the waitress, who not only took it out on me, but placed what she described as a “very hot plate” on the table in front of my toddler. She then grumbled as I immediately asked her to move it out of his reach. Having not left a tip only once when dining out, for being ignored in an empty diner, I contemplated my options. In this case I went to the manager, explained the situation, and asked that the generous tip I handed him go entirely to the bus person who would be cleaning up after us, as those efforts should not go unrecognized because of the poor service.
GAY MARRIAGE TODAY
Michael Andor Brodeur’s article looking back on a decade of gay marriage in Massachusetts hit the spot (“Radically Normal,” January 5). We were the first gay couple to get married in Lawrence when marriage became an option. The fact that gay marriage has become so normal around here is quite wonderful. I think every marriage, gay or straight, defines what is “normal” for that marriage. Much of the “normalcy” is private, not shared with the outside world. That’s what makes marriage a wonderful, flexible part of life. A work in progress, indeed, for us, even after being together almost 31 years!
A quote from this essay is just heartbreaking: “For GLBTQ youth, even today, every moment can feel like an elaborate put-on. You are an actor armed with no material, and each day you wake up struggling to figure out your lines, if only to avoid the hostility and humiliation that could accompany a break in character.” How do we profess horror at the Russians when, due to extremist, exclusive, religious, and scarily still pervasive views in our country, generations of children born gay have to pretend to be someone else for fear of being bullied or worse? It’s an outrage. I’m thrilled the couple in the story can be happy in their normalness. Hopefully one day everyone can, and people will look back on these times as sadly primitive.
We loved “Radically Normal,” as we have been in a relationship since 1965 and were married in Barnstable on May 30, 2004. Congratulations.
Roy Hammer and Jim Hinkle
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