Letters to The Ethical Spectacle

Sorry about the lack of a letters column last month. The power supply on my computer died right after I uploaded all July's articles but before I did the letters column. The information was there but could not be accessed, as if it had passed beyond the event horizon of a black hole. In the end, though, nothing was lost, and last months' letters appear below, along with the current ones.

I spend a lot of time thinking about the storage and loss of information. Sarah Zucker, my 103 year old grandmother, died two months ago. She was already an adult when the Russian Revolution happened (causing her to leave for the U.S.). She was born before the airplane or the automobile, and lived to see nuclear weapons, space travel, and the end of Soviet Communism. But, when she died, much of the data she had accumulated about her life and the world went with her, because it wasn't stored anywhere outside her brain.

My grandmother also makes me think of how short recorded human history is. The year Sarah was born, some other woman died who had been born in the late 1700's. You could capture the entire span of time from the birth of Christ to today in the lives of twenty women like Sarah--eight more to get back to Homer.

The Spectacle is my attempt to store some of my own data outside my skull, in the hope it will be useful or at least of interest to someone later. Your emails help me assess the extent to which it is useful or interesting. I can be reached, as always, at jw@bway.net.

Jonathan Wallace

Timothy McVeigh
Dear Mr. Wallace,

Here is a reason for the death sentence you have likely never heard before. It does not derive from desire for revenge, nor from sadism, nor from any of the other commonly cited reasons for the death penalty. The real reason, the important reason, for the death sentence is in two words: Biological principle.

Keeping the incurable criminal fed, clothed, & captive for life is wrong. Not only because of the monetary cost to innocent taxpayers, but also because life imprisonment violates the fundamental directive of every entity to rid itself of elements destructive to itself. When an organism is infected with a disease, the organism activates its immune system which then eradicates the disease. If you, Mr. Wallace, had a cancerous tumor grow in your body, which would you do:

A. Have a selectively permeable barrier installed around the tumor, which would let nutrients in but prevent any cancerous cells from getting out, or

B. Have the tumor removed from your body, which would kill it.

If you believe, as anti-death-penalty advocates claim they do, in the sanctity of life, then you must choose option A. You would not. We both know that.

Why is it that it is fine to rid one's own body of a pathogen or cancer, yet it is somehow wrong for a collective entity to rid itself of destructive members? It is not wrong. It is the biological imperative to eliminate agents which are dangerous to oneself. This is true of every living thing, including human groups. The death sentence is merely an extension of this drive. People like Helen Prejean are ignorant, often willfully, of this fact.

I would also add that in this age of human overpopulation, we need to reduce our numbers as quickly as possible. While homicide & genocide are quite wrong (& often ineffective to boot), we have other ways open to us. Abortions, birth control, abstinence, sterilizations, & the death sentence are all ways to reduce our numbers.

Nomad nomad@stopdropandroll.com

Hi Jonathan,

Here is a further word about the McVeigh incident which is not a simple black and white issue. For us to dare to look at the landscape through the eyes of McVeigh, is scary because of the condemnation that might come from the self righteous majority. The lost of life in Waco was as precious as the lost of life in Oklahoma. Why did the public outcry occur for the loss of life in Waco to the same extent as it did in Oklahoma? Was it because the United States government was not waiting in the death chamber for execution? The U. S. government as an institution is so impersonal so as to not foster the same emotions of revenge as one single person. And if one did take on an attitude of revenge toward the government, one would be in the position of McVeigh!

The issues involved were more than McVeigh's ideas of terrorism. The collective social order is an organism. The statement - "It takes a village to raise a child" implies that everyone in the village participates in the education of the child. This includes the negative impact that is imposed upon the child. All of the elements at work in the "village" is as influential as the positive ones. Everyone in the social organism is responsible for the philosophy, political practice and action of the organism. Even if McVeigh held to beliefs in error, some how and in some way, we fostered those beliefs by not teaching him the truth. And maybe, just maybe, there was a segment of truth and reality in what he believed. McVeigh, was upset about the action of the U.S. government in the Waco, Texas incident. So are many others in America who do not take a terrorist position. If he was correct about Waco, that puts the rest of us in a bad position in regard to the death of those who died at the hands of our government. My passivity about the Waco incident may be my sin of omission.

Until Now,

Fred Fariss count@infi.net

Dear Mr. Wallace:

I read your page on the web, and I needed to send you a message, to tell you how I believe.

I believe in the death penalty. However, I also believe that you (or we as a country) need to be absolutely sure that someone is guilty beyond ALL doubt, BEFORE they are executed. I think, regardless of what the media may say, that this execution will be made a public spectacle as you say in your article.

I need to say also, that I live in Oklahoma. This leaves me at a very distinct disadvantage. Whenever I try to bring the subject of the FBI, the investigation, Mr. McVeigh's penalty or the like (and the fact that I don't necessarily agree with any of it) people seem to think that I "idolize" Timothy McVeigh. People in Oklahoma seem not to care about the whole story, they are just interested in seeing this man die. To me this is sadistic. When I bought the book recently released (McVeigh's life story) I casually mentioned it and immediately regretted mentioning it.

I am convinced that Mr. McVeigh is guilty of the Oklahoma City bombing, however, I am not so sure he really deserves the death penalty. This is a man who chose to "lash out" against the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and they do not like that. The F.B.I. do not want to answer to anyone, they are law - what they say is it and no one should question it. Mr. McVeigh chose to question their authority, and now he must pay the price (death) for that choice. WHY?

{Death Penalty Proponent ?}, Tim Carter Smiling_Tim@hotmail.com

Dear JW,

It occurs to me as I read that Timothy McVeigh will be seeking a stay of execution that another lie of the death penalty is exposed.

When McVeigh got the death penalty, many lauded the decision as an opportunity for "closure" for suvivors of the bombing: those who were actually in the building and those who lost loved ones.

Yet closure remains elusive as the sometimes fallible system of law and order provides chances to call into question (by a legal measure) whether the death penalty is truly appropriate.

I don't think anyone doubts that Timothy McVeigh was the star actor in this tragedy. While he has never admitted his guilt under oath, he certainly has been candid about his participation in interviews.

If there was no death penalty and Tim McVeigh had originally been sentenced to life without parole, wouldn't that have been a harsher punishment from his perspective? Initially, he preferred death to spending every day of rest of his life prison.

Now his lawyers are making him martyr even if his sentence is commuted to life without parole. He would be a constant reminder to government that he hates so much.

If there was no death penalty, would the discovery of these FBI documents have such a great impact on McVeigh's fate? Clearly not.

The death penalty does not bring closure. It only provides a door for more pain.

Tim Heap timothy_heap@yahoo.com

Dear Mr. Wallace:

I just don't understand how one can look at this any differently than what McVeigh did to those innocent people in that building. They were publicly maimed and burned and tortured and murdered - not given the graciousness to just have a needle inserted into thier arm and it all be over. And his family sat there and witnessed this 15 minute event that their son put himself into, while when the bomb when off families watched for hours as victim after victim was pulled out of the rubble from his destruction - waiting, hoping, fearing.... all the worst.

These people were not given the luxury of the appeals process - and were not even given the chance to see justice reign. Timothy McVeigh took his military knowlegde - taught to him by OUR GOVERNMENT - whom he so viciously scorned and killed hundreds of men women and children....

Now if you take a look at history, when the Native Americans came in and protected their land and their heritage (a truly worthy cause) - they were forced to kill men women and children.... and this was a morbid thing. So to take thier lands, heritage, and in most cases brutally take their lives, this was nothing but good. But in today's society a mad man can terrorize our men women and children unjustly and you scream that we not kill him.

The death penalty is nothing but a blessing. In today's Criminal Justice system - we arrest and incarcerate so many individuals that we cannot provide adequate space, care or attend to any individual needs that might be inevitable to cater to. Although these atrocious people sometimes disgust us so much that we might not want to, it is their certain unalienable right to be cared for by the dept of corrections through the tenure of their incarceration. Not only does it eliminate the need for more space, it also takes them out of the picture allowing victims and their families to go on with their lives without the repetitive media coverage anytime something is publicized about them. What do you think when you see Charles Manson in the news - granted most people think nothing because not many people understand the grotesqueness of his crimes - but his presence brings back his horrible crimes because there is no absolute end. The Columbine murders? There was an end... although it was not instituted by the Department of Criminal Justice or any other justifiable means other than their own hands, the healing in Colorado has shown an immeasurable difference than in Oklahoma.

The death penalty has worked for years and the reinstating of it done by the Supreme Court was reinstating the long swift arm of the law and restoring complete justice to our nation.

Shell Wallace wallacemichellel@hotmail.com

Freedom of Speech
Dear Mr. Wallace:

I just read your short essay on Freedom of Speech as a Tragedy of the Commons, and while I find your analysis intriguing, you seem to have not applied it to the fullest extent...

Specifically, you state that 'no medium of communications is a commons with the exception of certain verbal and visual speech in public places'. You state this is due to a commons being defined as 'something pushed upon us and which we do not have the option to reject'.

You don't apply this definition to its fullest, and by not doing so you miss a problem with your definition... under your definition, very little if anything can be considered a commons.

Fully, applied, the air we breathe is *not* a commons. For instance, I live in Atlanta. The air there is *incredibly* smoggy. However, by your logic this air isn't forced upon me, since I could move somewhere else. I 'choose' to breathe this air by leaving in Atlanta, altering the air we breathe from a push to a pull.

A better approach would be to label a commons as a medium that through the actions of others, my state can be altered (for better or for worse). Any human-human interaction becomes a commons under this definition, and I would argue that this makes sense, since all human interaction is indeed governed by sets of rules, for instance ettiquette.

~Warren Stramiello stramiello@r42h185.res.gatech.edu

Dear Mr. Wallace:

Enough with history lessons and intellectual analysis - even though you may be right.

FREE SPEECH is just that - nobody anywhere has any right to tell anyone else what to think or say. Period!

It has nothing to do with law or social custom - if any country doesn't give full respect to this freedom - they should have their governments removed.

There's no such thing as free speech with "responsibility." - because who is going to say what is "responsible." And what if they are wrong?

Free speechs means you think and say whatever you want to.

People may dislike you for your opinions but they don't have a right to stop you from uttering them.

John Hansen major@planetkc.com

Steven Spielberg
Dear Mr. Wallace:

Did you see "A.I."? I read your essay (on Private Ryan) by typing "Spielberg immature" on a Google search.

Well done; I couldn't agree more with you!

Paul Gruendler whojah@yahoo.com

Dear Mr. Wallace:

I really enjoyed your article on Spielberg. More than his obvious manipulation of the viewer I find his overall subject matter rather disturbing. The bizarre body painting scene in Hook, constantly putting children in peril to enhance suspense, and his simplifying of serious issues. Over the last decade his career has turned into what project he can do next to gain a pat on his back. His films have the illusion of contriversy yet he never truly tackles complex issues.

Again enjoyed the article.


Ro subwayslim@debased.com

Global Warming
Dear Jonathan:

Check out http://www.opinionjournal.com/editorial/feature.html?id=95000606

Unfortunately, I have yet to find a person competent to debate the issue directly in your forum, but this scientist seems like a good candidate. I especially like his last two paragraphs.

One thing's for sure, media bias on this issue is literally palpable, so it is no fault of yours if your opinion may have to shift, it's the fault of a monolithic media. http://www.mrc.org has been beating the drums on the issue for about a month, with example-after-example where the press gets it wrong, over and over. One or two mistakes could be written off as accidental, but it seems more like a pattern of conclusive proof to me when they not only ignore but DISTORT what scientists say. I'm sure you'll disagree, and again my apologies for not-finding you someone better versed in the issue to disagree-with than Jim Ray.

I'll keep looking...

Regards, James M. Ray jray@cryptorights.org

Dear Jonathan:

I know the Spectacle is hardly a peer-reviewed scientific journal. However, I was disappointed in the editorial choice to feature on the front page the following excerpt from Jim Ray's letter criticizing your article about global warming:

I'd hope you agree that CO2 from Mount Pinatubo is the same thing as CO2 from an evil, profit-making business-man.
This appears to be a transposed version of a legend popularized by Rush Limbaugh (though not original with him). The original Limbaugh soundbite was actually about the ozone layer:
"Mount Pinatubo in the Philippines spewed forth more than a thousand times the amount of ozone-depleting chemicals in one eruption than all the fluorocarbons manufactured by wicked, diabolical, and insensitive corporations in history."

This can be found quoted and thoroughly debunked in many places.

Compare this to the matching portion of Ray's Spectacle letter:

I wish I could find the article, but it's about the quantity of CO2 emitted by Mount Pinatubo erupting, versus the quantity emitted by the ENTIRE INDUSTRIAL REVOLUTION. I'd hope you agree that CO2 from Mount Pinatubo is the same thing as CO2 from an evil, profit-making business-man.

Note how the legend has been transmited with all essential elements intact. Even the reactionary whining tone of the Limbaugh version shows up in Ray's recycling (pun unintended) of it.

I was particularly amused by Jim Ray's further comment, after repeating this howler, that "If so, and if my memory's correct, it's about time for the lefties to back down on this one, ...". I don't know if I can now ask the "righties" to back down, since he's a Libertarian, but they should at least be embarrassed. As I originally wrote for the Spectacle a long time ago, Libertarianism Makes You Stupid

I normally wouldn't bother with refuting Liberbabble such as the top quote, but it was featured on the front page, and I feel strongly that the propagation of misinformation needs to be fought. I understand your desire to be fair to opposing viewpoints. But I also think readers are ill-served by balancing a scientific issue with an urban legend. You should know by now that anything Libertarians say denying the possibility of negative business effects on society, especially delivered in such a huh-huh-gotcha tone, is highly likely to be somewhere between fiction and mythology.

Seth Finkelstein sethf@mit.edu http://sethf.com

Everything Else
Dear Mr. Wallace:

There seems to be quite a bit of rubbish on Guns and "reasonable" controls on this site.

I was reading and figured you folks had to be from somewhere in the North or East and I was right.

For five years in the early 90's I had the opportunity to live in Boston, Mass and the people I worked with would have been horrified to know that I packed an automatic 25 everywhere I went.

Nobody ever found out, I never had to use it. I did get a kick out of telling people about shooting back in Texas and they would say things like, "you touched a gun?" In that Pak the Cah in Havahd yahd accent of theirs.

I would always reply with, "Not only did I touch it, but I shot it!" They looked at me like I was some kind of a criminal.

That is precisely what you folks have got people believing too. That the ONLY people who carry guns are criminals.

If you have it your way, that will be exactly what you will get.

When I pose the question to gun-control types if a ban on handguns is in the cards and they say yes, then I continue to ask them if this would also apply to the police they will ALWAYS say NO. The police need guns.


Well, if they come across a criminal with a gun they need to defend themselves.

This brings us back to that old tired argument, "Only Criminals and Cops will have the guns if they are banned." Gun Control advocates know that but don't seem to mind. The difference is they think they are smart enough to decide WHO should be able to have guns and what types they should carry.

This leaves one group un-armed. The innocent citizen who did nothing more than obey the law.

Unfortunately for you, you live in a free society. Freedom is a machine. This may sound like a cliched but the oil of that machine is blood. Generally it is the blood of the innocent who pay the price because it is the innocent who most benefit from the freedom in the first place.

The difference in our two worlds is this.

I take the chance that my neighbor is a nut and will come over and shoot my kids in a crazed rampage. At the same time he also has the chance of being shot in the process. A large man could not break in and rape my 16 year old daughter because she would shoot whomever was making that noise trying to break in the window.

In your world, you still take the chance that your neighbor is a nut, has illegally obtained a weapon and kills your kids. A large man could enter your home at any time and sodomize your daughter at will and she would just have to wash up after he was done and the girl down the street would be in fear that this man was still on the loose.

Let me also remind you for what the second amendment was intended. It was so that we could always ensure our freedom against enemies or tyrants foreign or domestic. So that the power of the people belongs to the people. It is a balance of power.

For the same reason that we can never fold up shop on the military we can never make common sense gun controls. You never hear of congress passing "Common Sense" Nuclear weapons laws. Why is that? Because you can HOPE that everyone dismantles their Nukes but you can never KNOW when some wacko is going to make one and send it your way. We don't trust "England" to protect us do we? We know that they are allied with us but we still want our own military and guns right?

We do these things to guarantee that our way of life will continue. We don't trust anybody else with our safety or freedom. By the same token I don't trust you, the police, the FBI or anyone else to be there for my daughter if some large man breaks in. I am glad they are there as a back up and allied with me but I know that I must protect my own interests.

Pete Wiesner wiesners@swbell.net
Dallas, Texas

Dear Jonathan,

You write that altruism may not be explained, and yet you claim that it is explainable through a reference to God. Sounds hypocritical to me. If a phenomena is, in fact, not explainable. Then its not explainable. If it may be explained then you should contrast one explanation against the other. Your paper did not do this (at least to my standards).

If I were to boil down your paper, I'd say it says:

"Altruism originates with God, not genes"

I'd argue that nobody understands God's will (and thus his intent). I.e., You can't say that God did or did not put altruism into our genes.

On the science side of things... Science can't claim (and usually doesn't) to have definitive answers. If we look at all we know today with respect to what will know tomorrow, if we don't deceive ourselves, we know this proportion is close to zero. But this doesn't stop either side (religion or science) from trying to explain altruism, does it? Both sides hold a conviction, that explaining altruism may lead someplace. The question is, why do we believe this? and where will this knowledge lead us?

I agree (mostly) with your closing statement:

Altruism is beautiful. It is a beautiful idea, that inspires us when other people act on it and makes us feel very good about ourselves when we act upon it. That's all we need to know.

Except the part "That's all we need to know."

I believe that "we will never know enough".

By the way, your paper was very nicely written. And even though I don't agree with your position, I did enjoy reading it.


Jack Martinelli jack@martinelli.org

Jack misunderstood me. I did not mean that God is the explanation. I am an agnostic. I don't believe that genes provide a sufficient explanation for altruism or other things we find beautiful.

Dear Mr. Wallace,

I am writing you to inform you that I have given $25.00 to the Ethical Spectator via the Amazon payment gateway. My contribution is specifically dedicated to the piece you wrote on leadership in October 1998. A truly remarkable and insightful piece, I provided my business partner a copy. We both believe in the issue of responsibility regardless the problem's point of origin. I salute your erudite knowledge of this often abused and overlooked quality.

Rob Shaff savutaxes@home.com

Dear Mr. Wallace:

Did you write the 1998 piece about ULYSSES & antisemitism? Very good comments on Joyce. I missed however your mentioning that at the end of the Bloom/Gerty scene is a touch typical of a master mixing pathos & hilarity: when Bloom gets up he has to dry off his shirt-tail because he's had ejaculatio praecox. Sex (Bloom) vs. romance (Gerty). About Hemingway, however, I wonder how you can write that in SUN Robert Cohn seems Jewish only in his name. The narrator (the voice of the old hypocrite himself) and the other characters are viciously antisemitic. The Hemingway academic groupies are busy whitewashing their hero. Svoboda, a professor of something-or-other at someplace-or-other, writes (as I read on the Web) that old Hem wasn't really antisemitic, that his remarks were only skin-deep and not in the least pernicious because that's the way everybody talked in those days. Oh really? I'm 80 and I was there and I can tell you that old Svoboda and other such rationalizers are wrong. WB McColly, English emeritus U. of South Carolina And by the way, do you know why Robert Cohn is a Princeton man? Because old Hem was jealous of Fitz (as he was of nearly everybody), who though he didn't graduate had 3 years at Princeton.

WBM wbmcc@earthlink.net

Dear Mr. Wallace:

You write, regarding the speeches of MLK:

But the pages that they linked to, for the "I have a dream" speech and the "Letter from the Birmingham Jail", are no longer up. The estate embarked on an aggressive campaign, including litigation, to >eliminate uses of Dr. King's work anywhere unless >license fees were paid [...]

Their tight control and exploitation of his name to make money has the inevitable side effect that his words, which I believe Dr. King would have wanted to disseminate world-wide, for free, are now available to paying users only. The King family has betrayed the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Actually, many of his words, including the two works you mention above, *are* being disseminated world-wide for free, apparently with the blessing of King's estate. See


for the King Papers Project, a site which includes many of his speeches and writings, and which seems to be sponsored in part by the King estate.

If you need help finding them, let me know. (I link to them from my On-Line Books Page.)

You may want to post a correction to this article, then, and update your own MLK Resource site.

John Mark Ockerbloom ockerblo@pobox.upenn.edu
Editor, The On-Line Books Page

As I wrote in the original piece, I sponsored a group of high school kids from the Bronx in 1996 or thereabouts who created a page about Dr. Martin Luther King on the Spectacle site. We were very distressed to discover that the King family would not grant permission for us to reproduce a single speech unless we paid thousands of dollars. The Stanford site has apparently paid these sums (or gotten a waiver). We could not afford to pay to post even one speech out of our no-budget project. I seriously doubt that the family's exploitation of his words for economic gain was what Dr. King intended when he stood in front of the crowds on the Washington Mall on August 28, 1963 and delivered the "I have a dream" speech--and he certainly never dreamed that the family would license a film clip of him speaking to Alcatel for a television commercial.

Take a look at the New York Times for July 26, 2001. In an article entitled "A Civil Rights Group Suspends, Then Reinstates, Its President" , David Firestone reports that Dr. Martin Luther King, III was sanctioned by the Southern Christian Leadership Conference for, among other things, his inaction as President. The group's national chairman sent him a letter that began, "You have consistently been insubordinate and displayed inappropriate, obstinate behavior in the (negligent) carrying out of your duties as president of S.C.L.C...." Dr. King has apparently let numerous opportunities pass which the membership feel the S.C.L.C. should have addressed; if the group had the same spirit as in the old days, "it would have protested and demonstrated when the Clinton administration instituted time limits on welfare recipients. And... it would have called a march at the disenfranchisement of many black voters in Florida during the recount of last year's presidential election." Instead, SCLC has done nothing. The Times article also noted (as I did in my piece) that "the King Center's influence has been sharply reduced," and mentioned the Alcatel ad.

I conclude from all this that the King family is far more interested in making money today than it is in civil rights. The family's abandonment of Dr. King's legacy is a major news story; after I watched the Alcatel ad in a state of shock, I waited for newspaper articles and an outpouring of anger in the op-ed columns. Nothing. When I do a search today on "Dr. King Alcatel" on Google, what pops up are angry editorials in Electrical Engineering Times, The Pennsylvania State University Daily Collegian and the George Washington University GWBlitz. I can't help feeling that the King family is honored in the mainstream press with journalistic immunity from negative coverage--just the type of stereotyped articles that run every year around Dr. King's birthday. (For a selection of these, do a Google search on "Coretta Scott King").

I also found a vomit-inducing letter from the King Center's Director of Communications, claiming that The Alcatel ad honors Dr. King's legacy: "We firmly believe that it is imperative that we utilize all available channels in order to build an in-depth understanding of Dr. King's philosophies of nonviolence in order to make the goal of the 'Beloved Community' a reality." Shame. The King family has abandoned Dr. King's legacy and is treating him exactly as if he were a defunct but beloved cartoon character to be licensed for breakfast cereals.

Dear Mr. Wallace:

Hello. This email is nothing pressing. I just wanted to tell you that I enjoyed your essay on the Hiroshima bombing. I have been thinking about that ever since it was taught to me in my history class and it has always twisted around in my head (and my heart). I really connect with your philosophy of following one's conscience. I have come to depend on this, especially in the last few years of my life. Even though I find that by doing this I am typically alone because I don't choose sides, it is the only guide I have. Anyway, back to Hiroshima. I personally believe that there is no justification to use nuclear weapons EVER but, in discussions I have had on people on this subject, I have found that I am almost alone again. I could go on gabbing for hours if I let myself but I am going to shut up now. You probably don't want to hear some wacko 17 year old whine about his moral dilemmas. I just wanted you to know that I appreciated your essay.

Thanks for reading this much and for the essay,


Dear Jonathan:

In the header to the June letters column, you wrote:

We are myth-making creatures, wrapping random events in meaning. The Ethical Spectacle is my myth, and by writing to me, you share in its creation.

I have never agreed with you more than I do with that very profound first sentence. Some of us are more in to "myth making" than others...

BTW...The deer was likely in shock, but would have likely kicked or gored the lady if it were possible...out of fear and instinct to get away. They are wild animals, and don't share human emotions, in spite of all the efforts of Disney Studios to convince us otherwise.

Bob Wilson

An Auschwitz Alphabet
Dear Mr. Wallace:

I read your Auschwitz alphabet and found it very informative. I have to agree that this genocide was not a unique incident, but only a particularly efficient example of a common occurrence. I admire your courage in pointing this out - I am sure there are many who will excoriate you for saying it.

In particular I think no good is served by claiming that the Germans were particularly depraved or demonic beings. To my thinking they were ordinary people doing horrible things. As you pointed out, demonizing these people implies "It can't happen here", and the point is, it can.

Thank you for your thoughtful and intelligent articles.

Baruch bruce.weber@att.net

Dear Mr. Wallace:

My name is Alex. I saw your web page explaining what happened in Auschwitz. I agree with you on many points. This was a terrible thing that happened, and so many innocent lives were lost. I like to research the events of World War II, because i come from Russia, and its effects were especially felt there. My grandfather was killed fighting against those Nazis, along with 50 million other Russian men.

But there is one thing i cannot agree with you on. Please hear me out on this. God is alive, and He cares for His people, the Jews. You see, because many Jewish people suffered so bad in the war shows our sinful nature. God created man in His own Image, and He values human life more than we think. But He also gave you and me free will. We have choices to make. I can choose to like certain people, or not. But only one of the two choices will be the right one.

The Nazis voted (in 1938, i think) to exclude Jews from the category of "persons." Now, this doesn't mean they did the right thing. There is an absolute truth here, and the Nazis were wrong. God didn't stop them right there and then, because He is Just, and won't force anybody to bow down to Him right away. He can stop satan from doing his evil deeds, but God even gave him a certain period of time to wreak havoc, which he is undoubtfully doing today. God gave the Nazis a limited time to reign, and when the sand in the hourglass ran down, He brought them to their knees. In Nuremberg, God judged Nazism in a human court, and they were guilty.

I'm not sure where, but in the Bible, God says to Israel that "I will curse those who curse you, and bless those who bless you." The Word of God is powerful, and this is true for every nation that messed with the Jews -- Egyptians, Babylonians, Greeks, Romans, and the Third Reich. When Abel was killed by his own brother, God told Cain that Abel's blood cried out to Him. The Jewish people's blood without doubt is crying out to God, and it will be avenged. If not on earth, then after the grave.

The logic behind the Nazis' actions was that if God didn't exist, then there is no wrong or right, so we can do anything we think is right. If you think about this, you will notice how much sense this makes. Then you will be contradicting yourself when you say, "If God existed, He wouldn't let these bad things happen." If God didn't exist, there would be no clear definition of bad, as there wouldn't be a "Thus sayeth the Lord."

See, many people contribute all the bad things that our fellow people do to God. No, no, no. God gave us all free choice, and if someone makes the wrong choice doesn't mean He will kill that person automatically. Otherwise, i'd be dead hundreds of times around, already. But the cemetery isn't the end. Hitler is dead. But he will answer to God for every Jewish man, woman, and child that he put to death through his followers' hands.

Many people think that if you believe the Bible and if you believe in God, then you are a simple-minded idiot that doesn't know much. On the contrary, the most educated scientists come to realize that this world was created by an intelligent Creator, and not formed by accident like evolution suggests. As a matter of fact, in the Hebrew Old Testament, some guys put all the letters into one long string (taking out the spaces and punctuation) and found some interesting "codes." You take a letter, and skip a certain number of letters, take the next letter, skip the same number again, and so on. For example, in Deuteronomy, these strange codes were found: "King of the Nazis," and "In the bitter sea of Auschwitz," and "The people cry 'murder!'," and many others. Kind of creepy, isn't it? Is this an accident, or was this inspired by God?

Sometimes, unexplainable things happen in our world. My father's friend told us what happened to him once. One day, he was going around his business, and he had an urge to call an old friend of his who he didn't hear from for several years now. When he calls, his friend's wife picks up the phone, and says that he can't talk. She explains that he is dying of cancer, and he can't chew, talk, or do anything. My dad's friend asks her to place the phone receiver next to his ear so he could listen. He explained how he needed to be taken to a Church near them, and to have the people there pray for him. The man didn't reply but had tears running down the sides of his eyes. My dad's friend sent them $200 the next day to help with the finances, and the sick man was brought to a Church in his town. The whole Congregation earnestly prayed for him, and he walked out of that Church on his own two feet the same day. The doctors were amazed! This is a true story, and believe me, this happens every day. God really works to help people, and He does a great job.

I hope that you take this, and consider what i'm saying to you. Many people say they don't believe in God, but that's like saying, "i don't believe that the sun shines." People can argue and debate it all they want, but in the end, there is an absolute truth that God is Real and Almighty.

I would like to know what you think about this. Please reply. Thanks.


Alex adem@ix.netcom.com

Dear Mr. Wallace:

Hey i just wanted to tell u it was great! i love learning about the holocaust even though it was a horrible experiance...but thank u for having that out there for people to read!

*Jennifer from tx*

Dear Mr. Wallace:

The title of your site is a little too cutesy for me. Nonetheless, because the account is so relevant, a retelling is still a retelling.

I definitely do not agree with your subliminal message, which, whether you realize it or not, is mocking of God. That is your privilege. Informing you of my opinion is mine.

It is telling that in most of the 'artistic' Internet sites dedicated to the holocaust -- those that insist on leveraging the discussion to other 'holocausts' -- there is almost without fail one glaring omission. This omission is a collective gap, a black hole, in the conscience of the human race. That a genocide can occur over decades and take the lives of over 30 million innocents -- helpless, defenseless innocents betrayed by those who were charged to protect and provide for them -- and still be debated with academic detachment is a silently screaming testimony that the Shoah is nearer to us than we dare to face. They call it 'abortion.'

Shhhh. Don't look in that closet. After all, truth is what you want it to be, right? To Hitler, Jews were fit only for extermination. That was his truth.

"The road to Auschwitz was built with hatred but paved with indifference." (http://www.igc.org/ddickerson/holocaust.html). True enough, but the roadbed itself is denial. Without it, the road crumbles before it reaches its destination.

In Truth,

Charles Wright cwrigh20@tampabay.rr.com

Dear Mr. Wallace:

There is a God and he loves you.

Krist Kranz kranzkl@gotocrystal.net

Dear Mr. Wallace:

Thank you for the Alphabet. I am deeply moved and frightened. There is more that I wish to say, but somehow it all seems trite. So, thank you.

dld erinyes@globaleyes.net

Dear Mr. Wallace;

I wanted to say thank you for having this site.

Amazing as it may sound to you the only things I know of the holocaust come from the movie "Shindler's List". I come from Canada & there is no compulsory subject that we take in school that would tell us of the holocaust. I have lived in the provinces of Alberta & British Columbia all my life & have only recently had one friend who was Jewish -- only because I guess we don't have a large population of Jewish people here. It's hard to imagine living in a place where racism is so prevalent ... not that we don't have racism here but its a lot subtler for the most part & in some cases for people (eg black) they almost have status because they are unique.

Sorry I'm babbling -- its late -- but the point is we should be taught this in school too so that we can learn from the mistakes of the past while we are young so that we grow into better adults -- and here we aren't -- but at least sites like yours allow us to become educated even if we haven't been already.

I personally am Ukrainian/Romainian (among other nationalities including American) and I am also thankful that my great-grandparents emigrated to Canada at the turn of the 20th century or I might never been born.

At any rate maybe this seems like the ramblings of an over-tired idiot but thank you for this site.

Yours truly,

Celeste KaraokeBigSteve@aol.com

Dear Mr. Wallace:

Thanks for your Auschwitz Alphabet. I loved Primo Levi and his work. Your page is a great tribute.


Sophi zimmerman sophi2000@aol.com

Hi Jonathan,

I am visiting Krakow for a few days from Friday to write a travel article for The Sun. I'll also visit Auschwitz where I'll be looking for any reference to Jane Haining - who is reputed to have been the only Scot to die there.

Is there any reference to her?

Many thanks.

Andy Murray amurray3@the-sun.co.uk