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Sunday, July 13, 2003

By Staff
Cockrell loyal to his calling
To the editor:
My most sincere sympathy to the Sam Cockrell family, especially to to his dear wife, Beverly. Sam was a big part of the jail ministry in Lauderdale County. He was loyal and faithful to his calling to teach the Word of God to the inmates of our two jail locations. I still can't believe he is really gone from us. He is in the arms of his Savior, who Sam deeply loved and served. I will miss him as will countless others who knew him.
Chaplain Dennis Marks
Media coverage should focus on healing
To the editor:
I think that it is time that all the news agencies started reporting the news rather than making the news. I am referring to the tragedy that happened at the Lockheed plant in Meridian on Tuesday.
Everyone immediately said it was a racial issue without even knowing all of the facts. The facts are the number of people that Doug Williams shot was about equal in race. The number of people that died that were black was more than the one white man that died.
This was a man that was mentally disturbed. He has destroyed many lives and families. Why don't you focus on the healing of these families rather than making it a racial issue? You are there to report the news not make it.
Kathy Dopke
A racial slant to the story
To the editor:
Was it just me or did anyone else notice that the major news agencies tried to put a racial spin on what happened at Lockheed. The one thing I really hate is when news agencies try and turn a story into something it is not.
When reading the news captions you can tell there is a racial slant given to their story. USA/Today posted the following headline on their website: "Racism possible factor in fatal plant incident." They gave the number who died in this terrible crime (total of five, not counting the shooter) as four black and one white. What they failed to mention is there was a total of 13 victims; if you include the shooter, 14. Of the 14, seven were black and seven were white. You do the math.
Instead of reporting that 13 families were affected by a terrible crime today, they try and put their spin on the story. I guess this is what sells. I myself stopped and prayed for those affected. As a Christian I believe that we should all have these families in our prayers.
Tony Roberson
(Editor's note: For the record, counting the total number of people dead or wounded, there were 15 victims of the Tuesday, July 8, 2003, shootings at Lockheed Martin. Eight were black, seven were white.)
Racial references in bad taste
To the editor:
Having seen and read the Wednesday, July 9, edition of The Meridian Star, I was appalled at what I saw. The reference to the victims in the shooting that took place at Lockheed as to their race was in very bad taste. It was a terrible thing that happened without the media's attempt to further make and insinuate that this was a racial crime. It's my opinion that the story should have made no reference as to race. Isn't it bad enough that these families have to suffer their losses without the media exploiting them.
Gary Prince
Praying for a better day
To the editor:
To the people of Meridian: My heart felt condolences for the tragedy that has befallen you. Bobby McCall, I read your comment on-line; you are a wise and strong man. As are the rest of the families who have suffered this day. I pray for resolution and a better day.
Clarke M. Davis
via e-mail
Media shouldn't have reported whether victims were black or white
To the editor:
I was on-line looking at the information you had released on the people killed or injured in the attack at Lockheed Martin. I personally think it is shameful that you had to label these people as black or white. Who cares what color they are? The main point should be that they were hurt or dead. Stick to the facts that count, not the other crap.
Denna Nelms
Butler, Ala.
Could tragedy have been prevented?
To the editor:
Another killing spree that could have been stopped. If racism was so open and apparent, why was it not reported? If it was reported, what was done about it? Also, Jim Payton, who is retired from the plant but had worked with Williams for about a year, told The Associated Press, "He said, I'm capable of doing it.'"
What did Mr. Payton do when this was shared with him?
What a terrible situation that could have been possibly prevented.
Michael Sullivan
Pensacola, Fla.
via e-mail
Listen to our young people
To the editor:
I would like to take this opportunity to challenge anyone with children in their life to pause from everyday routines and busy schedules just to listen to these young people. Without a doubt, our recent tragic incident in Meridian has left us negatively scarred and with millions of questions.
For each traumatic scene, every headline of national and local news, and all horrible events unfolding through multi-media, our children rightfully have many insecurities. Young children and youth are now living without confidence in an unprecedented age where what was once curiosity is now reality.
The news media can swarm like buzzards around a tragic event and reveal it immediately to the entire United States. No one understands situations such as these recent shootings. Many times our children are confused without being able to verbally express concerns.
As adults, we do not have answers, but we do have ears. I challenge you to listen to a child explain what they have heard going on in the world lately. Listen to how a teenager can use detail when telling how it feels to be left out of a group or to be full of anger. A 17-year-old immigrant named Bourke Cockran, later becoming a representative from New York, was quoted once as saying, "Underlying the whole scheme of civilization is the confidence men have in each other, confidence in their integrity, confidence in their honesty, confidence in their future."
Our children learn this confidence through us, the so-called civilized.
Tami Gray Keeter
Elementary alternative school teacher
Meridian Public Schools