Letters to the EditorNov. 3, 1998
As October concludes, I cannot help but reflect on the passage of a particular law included in this year's national budget, the lack of serious public debate about a bill that attacks at the core of the First Amendment and the laziness we as a citizenry have shown in protecting our rights.
The Child Online Protection Act (COPA) makes it a federal crime to knowingly communicate 'for commercial purposes' material considered harmful to minors.
I am concerned about the blatant disregard for the First Amendment inherent in this bill. If you believe this is worthwhile legislation, take notice of the plaintiff's list of a suit brought to stop the COPA filed in federal district court last week. Some of the plaintiff's list includes Time Inc., Warner Bros., C/Net, the New York Times Online, and OBGYN.net. These companies represent some of the players behind the Internet itself, and if they believe so strongly against it to file a case in court perhaps it's a good idea for us, the Citizens of this country to take a first look at this cunning piece of legislation. The Supreme Court will eventually decide this case, and I have no doubt they will rule against the COPA but the passage of the COPA does illustrate my point.
We as citizens of this country have become lazy, and a by-product of this laziness is the swapping of our rights for short-term government fixes to temporary problems best solved by a little effort on each of our own parts.
There are numerous examples besides COPA where we as country have sacrificed a little of our freedoms for a little security. I pose the following questions to you. I offer to protect your children from pornography if you give the ability to censor content: Do you take it?
I offer to end terrorism in our country if you give me broader powers to tap phones: Do you agree? I offer to wipe out violence and catch all criminals if you allow me to track your movements: Do you accept? If you answered yes to any of the following questions you are not truly a citizen, because you have agreed to one or more of the conditions inherent in a dictatorial state.
We as citizens make these same decisions each time we go or don't go to the election box, don't say anything to our senators or decide that we will skip voicing our opinions about a particular issue because it might be controversial. No one said democracy was easy; in fact, democracy is the most difficult of all forms of government.
Democracy requires the active participation of its citizens and a staunch stance against the ease of giving up our rights in exchange for security.
Each time we trade our individual rights for the safety of government intervention, we trade a little of our national soul and come that much closer to the collective rights superseding our rights as individuals.
Let us have spirited and intelligent debate over this issue and others and take the first to becoming citizens again.
Let people live. I'm sick of seeing people say that they are Christian and that they love everybody just like Jesus did. Stop lying to yourselves. Don't simply preach that you are a Christian; act like one.
Matthew Shepard was gay; so what? He was still a normal guy with a whole life ahead. He did not deserve to die, especially not because of the fact that he was gay.
I respect those who think homosexuality is wrong. It's amazing that some people still believe this when the year 2000 is just around the corner, but to each his own. Killing someone for their sexual orientation is both ignorant and repulsive.
There's a real world outside the famous Baylor Bubble. A world with people like you, me, and Shepard. Jesus said 'love each other,' not 'love heterosexuals only.'
I think it's time for some people to wake up and smell the coffee. God bless you, Matthew.
Marketing/ International Business '00
We wish to sincerely thank everyone who contributed the the memorial fund for my daughter, Sylvia Perez, at the Baylor University Employees Credit Union.
It is helping pay for my daughter's funeral. If it wasn't for the generosity of everyone who donated money, we wouldn't have known what would have happened.
We would like to especially thank everyone in the Marrs McLean Science Building's physics department and chemistry department for their prayers and support. We thank you from the bottom of our hearts.
And two very special friends in my life, Dr. Greg Benish and Pat Ling, for starting the Sylvia Perez Memorial Fund and for their caring and support which helped my family and me through the most difficult time in our lives.
You all hold a special place in our hearts.
The Virginia Martinez Family
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