Letters to the Editor

03/03 What you’re saying: Jane Tzelvelis, and Jerry Markatos

First come the animals

According to the ASPCA, animal cruelty investigations and prosecutions have become daily events that attract widespread attention.They generate enormous emotion and interest, yet they can be difficult to pursue. Although some may view these cases as trivial actions against perpetrators of “minor” crimes, there are signs of growing public and professional interest in the prosecution of crimes against animals. Prosecutors in many have established task forces to work with a variety of local agencies to specifically address crimes against animals.

Before Nikolas Cruz, confessed to killing 17 people at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High, he allegedly abused animals. In elementary school, Cruz began shooting squirrels and chickens; as a teenager, he is said to have killed frogs, tried to maim a neighbor’s baby potbelly pigs and tried to crush animals trapped in rabbit holes. On Instagram, he boasted about killing animals and posted images of dead ones, according to the Washington Post. More animal abuse scrutiny could stop killers like Nikolas Cruz.

School shooters shared a common feature, according to the National Coalition of Violence Against Animals. Prior to killing their classmates and teachers, ALL of the boys involved in these school shootings had performed acts of animal cruelty such as shooting dogs, setting cats on fire, blowing up cows, and killing other small animals. While many focus on gun control as the solution for heinous murders, focusing on members of our society who abuse animals may be time better spent.

Jane Tzelvelis


Re: “Angela Davis speech at Duke promotes anti-Israel agenda” Feb. 23 by Peter Reitzes

UnJewish? Yes

Nowhere in this attack on Angela Davis did I find a glimmer of interest in pressing the government of Israel to accept Palestinians for the neighbors they are, with legitimate needs and rights to security and an end to brutal occupation.

Pushing a tribal exclusionist line has lost its credibility. Jewish historians and Jewish human rights and peace organizations have blown the whistle on the un-Jewish actions of the regime in Israel.

Un-Jewish? Yes. Justice is at the heart of the Jewish religion. Many Jews proud and aware of their tradition are joining with people across the world who say time is up for the fraud of a peace plan that has served as cover for armed robbery of land and makes life miserable for the people of Palestine. The Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions campaign seeks to peacefully promote second thoughts by an abusive government and a population grown accustomed to taking over area after area in Palestine with settlements, while their military tests on the people of Gaza the weapons Israeli arms industries then advertise as “battle-tested.”

The boycott of English goods helped our country’s founders achieve the sovereignty and the Constitution we cherish. Yet some Jewish organizations are pushing laws in this country to outlaw Americans’ constitutional right to free speech and to boycott when and how we deem appropriate.

I invite Mr. Reitzes to join with others who advocate, not for some unstable tribal dominance that earns endless recriminations in both directions, but for the sustainable peace that is long overdue. It has been 70 years since the first armed Jewish terror campaigns were driving Palestinians from their homes.

While no one should be surprised that some Palestinians have fought back, most Palestinians have peacefully resisted occupation, showing faith in us that we would not support such abuse by our allies. Angela Davis is far from alone in recognizing oppression. It should surprise no one that the nonviolent practice of Boycott Divestment and Sanctions to achieve a fair resolution has become a popular lever for peaceful outcomes.

Jerry Markatos


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