Opinion | Should Sirhan Sirhan, Robert Kennedy’s Assassin, Be Freed?

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To the Editor:

Re “The Man Who Murdered My Father Doesn’t Deserve Parole” (Opinion guest essay, Sept. 2):

In recent days, I have read about the opinions of Robert Kennedy Jr., Douglas Kennedy, Joe Kennedy III and now Rory Kennedy on the fate of Sirhan Sirhan. I understand and feel great sympathy for the personal loss suffered by the children of Robert F. Kennedy. Their various opinions on the possible parole of the man who killed their father should not be definitive or even relevant.

The killing of R.F.K. was not a simple murder. It was a political assassination that altered the course of our nation’s history. I would hope that all Americans, whether supporters of Kennedy or not, could agree that one man with a gun should not be allowed to subvert our democratic process.

Sirhan Sirhan’s crime was far more the taking of one life. He should spend the rest of his days in prison.

Marian Solomon Lubinsky
New York

To the Editor:

Rory Kennedy’s eloquent and poignant plea that her father’s murderer not be set free should not blind us to a wider perspective on criminal justice. Her insistence on his continued incarceration serves as a vivid warning that we should and must move beyond primitive, vengeful eye-for-an-eye solutions.

She deserves sympathy for her loss, of course, but releasing Sirhan Sirhan would be a mark of how far our society has moved toward a more humane view of this national tragic event.

Jamie Spencer
Des Peres, Mo.

To the Editor:

It would be wrong to parole Sirhan Sirhan, as Robert F. Kennedy’s daughter Rory correctly noted. California’s parole board believes that Mr. Sirhan is unlikely to kill again. But even if that’s true, he should be kept in prison if that will discourage other would-be killers from committing murder.

Years ago, researchers found that longer prison sentences deterred criminals from committing serious crimes like murder.

Last year, the murder rate rose 25 percent in America, claiming thousands of innocent lives. The fact that a murderer mellows with age is not a reason to release that murderer, if his release will embolden other people to commit murder.

And Mr. Sirhan’s crime was especially grave. By killing a leading presidential candidate, he changed the course of American history.

Hans Bader
Arlington, Va.

Penalizing Trump’s Lawyers. Hurrah!

To the Editor:

Re “Judge Orders Sanctions for Pro-Trump Lawyers” (news article, Aug. 26):

For some time many of us — lawyers and other citizens — have been outraged that sycophantic Trump lawyers have spearheaded perfidious attempts to overthrow the 2020 election. Federal and state judges, many of whom are Trump appointees, threw out 59 of 60 cases. But in nearly all of these cases, the lawyers did not suffer obloquy or professional penalties.

But thanks to Judge Linda V. Parker, that is over. She said what needed to be said when she ruled: “This case was never about fraud. It was about undermining the people’s faith in our democracy and debasing the judicial process to do so.”

Judge Parker, in a powerful and courageous 110-page opinion, censured the nine lawyers attacking the presidential election results, and ordered them to pay legal fees and costs, go to legal education classes and, most important, be referred to local legal authorities in their home states for possible suspension or disbarment.

Respect for the rule of law is greater today thanks to Judge Parker. Let all lawyers who cynically use the legal system beware.

William D. Zabel
New York
The writer is a lawyer.

Making Women Pay for Men’s Weaknesses

To the Editor:

Re “‘Sexist,’ ‘Racist,’ ‘Classist’: Georgia 8th Grader Challenges School Dress Code” (nytimes.com, Sept. 4):

Bravo to Sophia Trevino for challenging her school’s dress code, which tells girls what to wear so (straight) boys won’t be distracted. Setting aside the often racist enforcement of these rules, and the hypocrisy of people who oppose mask mandates in the name of “freedom” but endorse clothing mandates, school dress codes are just one in a string of burdens imposed on girls and women because of the actual or assumed weaknesses of boys and men.

Boys can’t keep their focus on the teacher or their books if a classmate’s shoulder or bare midriff is exposed? Don’t instruct them on how to conduct themselves in school; instead, forbid girls from wearing spaghetti straps and crop tops.

Men in religious communities can’t control their urges if a woman’s knee or forearm is exposed? Don’t require them to exercise impulse control; instead, force the women to wear full-length cover-ups regardless of weather.

Men and boys refuse to share responsibility when birth control is not used or fails? Don’t enact laws that require males to share the burden; instead, force women to harbor an unwanted fetus in her body and pretend she was solely responsible for putting it there.

How is this fair, or even reasonable? If most boys and men really are this pathetically weak and irresponsible, why must girls and women bear the consequences?

Amy Weinblatt
New York

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