The death penalty opponents are extremely annoyed with me. People continue to be worried about schoolyard bullies. The 2000 presidential election can still get folks fired up.
Let the e-mails begin.
From New Hampshire: "I don't understand how any Christian can support the death penalty. I believe Jesus was and remains for all of us an example of how to live a moral life. I therefore believe the best guide to our behavior is to ask ourselves, how would Jesus have acted? Can you believe that Jesus would approve of the death penalty?
"Even if you can still support the death penalty, can you support a penalty that can and does sometimes result in the execution of innocent people? There are enough cases of prisoners on Death Row who through dedicated efforts were saved from execution. What about the innocent men and women who were put to death?"
From Texas: "There are many of us that have strong religious and personal feelings against (capital punishment). We are not wimps or bleeding hearts but rather would like to not see our society in the company when it comes to criminal punishment of Iraq, China and Afghanistan."
Texas, too: "Once again, you show us all how tough you are as you rail against those who oppose the death penalty. Never mind that the Catholic Church and all other civilized countries oppose it; you see all opponents as a 'sham' or 'goofy.' It must be wonderful to always know what the truth is.
"My guess? You know as much as that cockeyed-looking president that the Supreme Court elected."
Let's hold that thought. First, the bully problem.
From Ohio: "As the mother of a 13-year-old who is relentlessly picked on and bullied ... I thank you for addressing the bully problem. The 'no tolerance' policy at our school has thus far been a 'talking-to' for the offenders. My son has had to sit in the guidance counselor's office looking through last year's yearbook to identify the kids who are accosting him. He doesn't even know them or their names. They just don't like how he looks ...
"I am flaming mad!! I don't yet know what I am going to do, but somehow I am going to begin a campaign to stop this abuse."
From New York: "I think there needs to be something done to students who tease and torment other students. When I was in high school, I hated it so much I left and got my GED. ... I think that students who tease and torment other students should be treated the same as if the student cut class or pulled a fire bell. I think there should be punishment for them, not because I was treated so bad but because in the long run this makes these people bad adults.
"If these children are not taught now that what they are doing is mean, then they will use that in their jobs and teach their children the same. It is a vicious cycle that I hope with a little more trying on the part of the schools can be handled and eliminated. I do not think it can start with the parents because the children may have learned it from them."
Now back to politics.
From California: "I find your column ... about count and recount in Florida extremely idiotic and outraged. Bush dubya with his insistence to stop counting and recounting and going to supreme court of U.S.A. to archive this goal made himself an idiot totally undemocratic (true republican). Al Gore never claimed the victory, only he requested an honest count and recount of the ballots."
From Texas: "Really, you should write for the comic page. I'm really surprised the paper lets you write fiction."
From Florida: "I agree with the concept that we had our share of careless and incompetent voters last November. It is sad to admit, but some folks just are not capable of casting a thoughtful vote."
From somewhere out there: "Ultimately, a Bush victory benefits the Democrats ... after he has spent his four-year trust fund, that moron's performance will likely insure a Republican-free White House for quite some time to come."
Bill Thompson is a columnist for the Fort Worth Star-Telegram.