Letters to the Editor: February 12, 2021

Compliments to the team

My wife, Faythe, and I wish to extend a very sincere mahalo and compliment to the staff who administered the vaccine we received at the Kona Community Aquatic center on Feb. 2.

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From the moment we entered the compound, off the road, until the time we left it was only a mere 40 minutes.

The volunteers from various walks of life, the health providers, the National Guard members, fire department members and others who provided, In totality, a very well-organized, efficient, friendly and competent operation for the vaccine shots there.

I believe that this was under the direction of the Department of Public Health in Hawaii County and they are to be commended for this operation and the wonderful staff who administer it.

All done with that aloha spirit during the whole process. During these hard times so many have experienced, as a result of mainly the pandemic and consequences therefrom, we thought a moment of recognition and true appreciation is so warranted, and hence, this message.

Judge David Wiseman and Faythe Wiseman

Holualoa

Powder keg

Henry II of England, in his frustration with Archbishop Becket’s obstruction of his political desires, is reputed to have said to his court, “Will no one rid me of this meddlesome priest?” Days later, four of Henry’s knights tried to seize Becket and, when he resisted them, they killed him with their swords.

Former President Donald Trump’s attorneys and supporters in his second impeachment trial are using a version of this event to defend him. After first claiming it is unconstitutional to try an impeached president after leaving office, they are arguing that the president could not have incited a mob to insurrection because he never specifically told them to break into the Capitol, to interrupt the electoral vote certification, or to use violent force.

To what extent, if any, should a head of state be held responsible for the actions of his supporters? That is the core question.

Admittedly, political rhetoric can sometimes be heated and exaggerated. In my opinion, it should be judged by the circumstances in which it is delivered. The Supreme Court determined decades ago freedom of speech does not include the freedom to yell “fire” in a crowded theater. Does freedom of speech protect a president from prosecution for telling a raucous, armed crowd that if they don’t “fight like Hell,” they will lose their country? The president’s rally that morning was only given a permit only for the area outside the White House. What are the implications of the president telling the crowd to march down to the Capitol? He even lied that he would be with them on the march. Should the president have been able to foresee the likelihood of violence? What groups did the president invite to the Jan. 6 rally saying it would be “wild?” Certainly, the Proud Boys were invited, whom he previously told to “stand by.”

If we have a powder keg filled with gunpowder, how close to the fuse can someone bring a flame to be held responsible for the subsequent explosion?

John Sucke

Waimea

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