The two are not the same. One group was women and children kidnapped by Hamas. The members of the second group were arrested on charges of violent acts or supporting terrorism. Indeed, the article used different terms for each, “captives” for the hostages and “prisoners” for those in jail. It is a shame the headline failed to make that same important distinction.
A call for freedom that was never answered
I hope Caitlin Gibson receives a Pulitzer Prize for her incredible Dec. 6 article on the orca Tokitae, “The call of Tokitae.” It was a phenomenal piece of writing, and my whole family has read it and is talking about it.
I had to read it in pieces because it is eloquent but also so heart-wrenching. If there is a movie, I hope Gibson writes the screenplay. Her excellent storytelling brought this alive.
Meg Bowen Beauchamp, Carlsbad, Calif.
At the end of my own tether, I loved seeing this dog freed
In a world sadly deficient in happy endings these days, I thank “Mutts” creator Patrick McDonnell for giving us a much-needed one in the panels of his beloved strip, with the long-suffering Guard Dog finally winning his freedom and being adopted into a new and caring forever home.
I have particularly had a rough time lately with some tragic events in my life, and even though the comic involves a fictitious character, I find myself looking forward to each new day’s strip. It’s just the little pick-me-up and tonic I need at this time.
Doug Crump, Silver Spring
We swear it wasn’t an executive decision
I looked in vain through the Dec. 4 main news section for the weekly summary of local company officers’ stock transactions. Did I miss it, or has The Post given up even this most rudimentary coverage of the local business community? Perhaps the executives complained.
Andrea L. Bridgeman, McLean
This trail tale went off the rails
Using a photograph from the C&O Canal towpath to accompany the Dec. 5 Metro article “A new life for old train routes” made no sense. The C&O Canal was never a “train route” but rather a canal with a towpath for mules. A better choice would have been to use pictures of the Washington and Old Dominion Railroad Regional Park (also known as the W&OD Trail), which runs 45 miles from Shirlington to Purcellville.
On Page 72 of his book “From Rails to Trails,” Peter Harnik, one of the founders of the Rails-to-Trails Conservancy, wrote that the W&OD Trail “became particularly influential; its fortuitous location introduced many government staffers and even some members of Congress themselves to the concept of running or biking on a rail-trail.”
Michael Nardolilli, Arlington
The writer is a board member of NOVA Parks, the owner of the W&OD Trail.
Are we up for debating? It’s up for debate.
Let me see if I got this right: The headline on the Dec. 1 editorial about the death of former secretary of state Henry A. Kissinger said, “Half a century later, a legacy still up for debate.” The first sentence of the editorial said he “was one of the most consequential statesmen in history.” And on the opposite page, David Ignatius wrote in his op-ed, “My 40-year conversation with Kissinger,” that Kissinger “was arguably the greatest statesman of his age.”
Where do Post opinions editors hold debates?
And they relied on each other, ah ha-ah-ah, from one brother to another, ah ha-ah-ah
Regarding the Dec. 3 Arts & Style article “Barry Gibb: Key architect of Bee Gees’ sound kept making monster hits for others after ‘Fever’ broke”:
As a longtime Bee Gees fan with the good fortune to attend several of their concerts, including the One Night Only performance in Las Vegas, I am glad to see Barry Gibb continuing to receive lifetime achievement accolades, including becoming a Kennedy Center honoree.
However, the article focused almost exclusively on Gibb, reducing his brothers to minor planets in his orbit — even glossing over songwriting credits shared by all three. Maurice Gibb was a talented instrumentalist whose gift for staying attuned to musical trends helped keep the Bee Gees relevant over decades and genres. Robin Gibb’s distinctive voice was one for the ages, a stunning mix of power and vulnerability.
Barry Gibb himself has acknowledged it was the three brothers’ gifts that, combined, created the Bee Gees’ powerful legacy. Even their tremendous individual talents could not match the magic they achieved together. To diminish the contributions of Robin Gibb and Maurice Gibb was a disservice to the three children who supported their family with their signature harmonies and went on to become arguably the greatest group of our time.
Diana Blackwell, Ridgeway, S.C.
Mentioning only honorary doctorates dishonors an honoree
I enjoyed the Dec. 3 Arts & Style feature on Renée Fleming, a 2023 Kennedy Center honoree. Her impressive list of nominations, awards and performances speaks to her immense talent.
The article mentioned several of the honorary doctorates bestowed upon her (Juilliard, Yale, Eastman) but failed to mention the first actual degree she received, at the Crane School of Music in 1981. Part of the State University of New York Potsdam and founded in 1886 by Julia Crane, it remains one of the preeminent schools of music in the country. It should have been included in this list.
We have a hole in our pocket — and in our coverage
The Dec. 3 front-page article “The power of the pardon” would have been an excellent opportunity to educate readers on the power of the Constitution. But the details of where and how the president derives this power were not noted.
Section 2 of Article II, along with the rest of the Constitution, should be required reading for all Americans. The Post could help by including references in articles of this importance. The American Civil Liberties Union provides a complete pocket edition of the Constitution that can be kept within arm’s reach for referencing when reading the daily paper or watching the news.
Herbert McDonald, Washington
The limitations of statutes
John T. Rich’s Dec. 2 Free for All letter, “Readers are entitled to title numbers,” asking for the inclusion of complete citations to the U.S. Code, was absolutely correct, as far as it went — and that is far enough for most readers.
But there is more, if, for instance, you want to amend the statute. The code was constructed in the 1920s as a replacement positive-law compendium of federal statutes. The idea was that Congress would enact the code’s titles into positive law, repeal everything else and end up with a definitive body of law arranged in a rational fashion (the more than 50 titles). Unfortunately, Congress never got the job done.
A fair number of titles have been enacted into positive law, such as 10 and 37, dealing with the armed forces. These statutes can be amended by simply amending the code section, e.g., “Section 101 of Title 10, United States Code is amended …” Title 42 has not been enacted into positive law and indeed is one of the biggest messes in the code. To amend Section 1981, which was enacted in 1866, you have to go back to the only other time Congress did this exercise, in the 1870s. That compendium, which was finished, was called the Revised Statutes (written R.S., followed by the section number). The underlying statute to Section 1981 is R.S. 1977, so to amend the statute properly, Congress has to amend “Section 1977 of the Revised Statutes.”
Fortunately, the superb draftsmen who serve in the House and Senate legislative counsels’ offices know all this, and much more besides.
This tuber has roots all over the world
The otherwise excellent Dec. 6 news article “As climate change threatens Africa’s food supply, farmers race to innovate,” about the effect of climate change on African agriculture, stated that cassava is “not commonly consumed” outside Africa. Cassava, the third-most-important source of carbohydrates in the tropics, is widely consumed around the globe, including in the United States.
The plant is native to the Americas and is known in Spanish as yuca. Fried yuca is readily available in the United States as a side dish with Peruvian chicken and in other Latin American cuisines. In Brazil, toasted cassava flour, known as farofa, is an essential ingredient in the Brazilian national dish, feijoada. Cassava starch is the basis for tapioca, which is eaten as a pudding and in pearl form becomes the “bubble” in the popular Asian drink bubble tea.
Jeffrey Gorsky, Arlington
For hungry eagles, it’s back to the grind
The front page of the Nov. 29 Metro section included a lovely photo of a bald eagle downriver of the Conowingo Dam [“Enraptured by raptors”]. Why is the area near the dam such a great place to see bald eagles and many other raptors, as well as herons? Because fish are stunned and even ground up passing through the dam’s turbines. It’s sashimi a la carte!
William Goodfellow, Washington
The extensive Dec. 1 front-page article on the spread of Valley fever, “A hidden killer’s range is expanding,” would have been excellent except that coccidioides is not a “flesh-eating fungus.” Though, rarely, it can cause a skin infection, it is not accompanied by the rapid necrosis that defines flesh-eating.
The only known “flesh-eating fungus” is mucormycosis, which can cause a necrotizing infection of the face in people with poorly controlled diabetes, among other risk factors.
Viewer discretion advised. Viewing advised, too.
The Dec. 3 special section “Terror on repeat: A rare look at the devastation caused by AR-15 shootings” provided a horrifying view of the carnage allowed by our country’s gun laws.
How can the Supreme Court continue to ignore the “well regulated” portion of the Second Amendment?
I appreciate The Post’s courage to release the photos and videos in “Terror on repeat.”
Shame on Congress for sentencing so many innocent people to a life of hell without due process and no chance of justice. AR-style rifles are judge, jury and executioner. That’s why I encourage The Post to find a way to force members of Congress to look at the photos and videos of the mutilated victims of these atrocious acts in a public hearing so we, the people, can see their reactions. Please ask members of Congress who are game hunters how often they use AR-style rifles to bag Sunday dinner. Do they then use DNA analysis to determine whether it is/was a deer or an elk?
And mental illness is not an excuse for members of Congress, especially since they do little to support or create functioning mental health systems.
Margaret O’Brien, Chicago
The Post’s special section on mass shootings should be mandatory reading and viewing for all elected officials in every jurisdiction in the United States. These people need to see the destruction and devastation caused by weapons of war in the hands of the murderers who can, so easily, get their hands on these weapons. No more hiding behind misinterpretations of the Second Amendment, no more lame excuses, no more killing of innocent people going about their lives, at schools, movie theaters, concerts, grocery stores and places of worship. There is blood on the hands of legislators who refuse to see what your report so clearly demonstrates.
I thank The Post for publishing photographs of the damage done by military-style weapons used on American civilians, including, too often, children. I had heard news but not seen photos. My son is a police officer. My grandchildren go to school. My nightmares have already seen what The Post decided was news to share with our voting public. Thank you for trying to change minds with evidence of the truth.
Pat Trams Hollingsworth, Chestertown, Md.
After recent mass shootings, I had come to the conclusion that the only way Congress and the public would support an assault-weapons ban would be if the media published photographs of the actual bodies of victims. I have always understood why such pictures have never been published, but the time has come for this drastic action.
I hope every member of Congress sees this special section. Talking about the availability of more mental health services does nothing to curb this violence. How many individuals without a preexisting mental health problem have used such weapons?
Such weapons must be banned for use by the general public. Perhaps a buyback program would remove some of them, and that would be better than none.
Mary E. Seshagiri, Somerset, N.J.
I applaud The Post for its bold, journalistically sound decision to publish graphic photos and recollections from scenes of mass murders with AR-style rifles. Just as chilling as the visuals were such comments as the police sergeant’s reference to Sandy Hook Elementary School’s “pile of dead children.”
Of course, those who most need to see and read such gut-wrenching reports are the spineless politicians who prize campaign donations over the lives they’ve promised to protect. In my show on gun violence, “Locked and Loaded, an American Musical,” a U.S. senator retains his unswerving loyalty to the gun lobby even after his own child is killed in a mass shooting. Sadly, there was no shortage of inspiration for that character.
Jim Brosseau, Provincetown, Mass.
Thanks to The Post for its incredible moral courage in presenting photos and texts of the horror and inhuman consequences of mass murders with weapons of war. The Post had the guts to do what no other major publication has done.
The Post has confronted the lies of the National Rifle Association, MAGA loyalists and all the people who chant, “Guns don’t kill people.” That’s a lie, because people with guns daily kill people. Bravo.
Maureen T. Terry, Laguna Hills, Calif.
The writer is a former elementary school teacher who practiced active-shooter drills with students.