January 27, 2006

Letters to the Editor

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Computer professionals deserve thanks for handling of ‘Y2K’ fears

In her “Perspectives” column (“Predicting the future, heeding advice,” Jan. 13 issue of The Criterion), Shirley Vogler Meister gives free publicity to self-proclaimed “theologians” and survivalist advertising sites, yet belittles one of the true success stories of the information technology profession.

Predictions of computer failures at the year 2000 were not the ravings of some placard carrying, long-haired kooks escaped from a New Yorker cartoon. The warning of a “Y2K bug” was a serious analysis of the shortcomings in the date handling capabilities in thousands and thousands of computer programs and systems.

Computer professionals around the world recognized the gravity of this shortcoming and spent years of effort to assure that “mission critical” computer systems were examined, corrected and tested long before champagne corks popped at the end of 1999.

-Andrew Kowalczyk, Bloomington


Catholic community must take a stand against death penalty

The death penalty is the ultimate denial of human rights. Coupled with the fact that, in recent times, at least 122 proven innocent people have been executed, and the staggering statistics  revealing socio-economic and racial prejudice in capital punishment sentencing, it is time for the Catholic community of our state to take a stand for life in this matter.

Life without parole protects the public, punishes the criminal without the compounding evil of human vengeance, saves money for the state (which can be put to better use for those in need) and leaves open the possibility that the accused will be alive (albeit in prison) if later evidence exonerates him/her.

Last year, when some pro-life young adults spoke their witness from the ambo on Respect Life Sunday, they spoke to the issues of abortion and euthanasia.

After Mass when I was giving them support for their presentation, I asked why capital punishment was not addressed. Their answer? “Sadly, there isn’t the heart in this area of the country to address the subject. Catholics here don’t seem to recognize that abolition of the death penalty is part of a seamless ethic of respecting life.”

I hope you feel as I do that it is time to bring this deficit to light. 

- Kathleen Beck-Coon, M.D., Indianapolis


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