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Wednesday, July 16, 2003

By Staff
Saddened by shootings at Lockheed Martin
To the editor:
An open letter to the employees of Lockheed-Martin: My heart goes out to each and every one of you, and especially to the families of the victims. My father, now retired, worked for Lockheed all my life; in fact, if not for the company I would not have had the privilege of growing up in Meridian.
My childhood is filled with happy memories of employee family picnics at the reservoir and Christmas Family Day at the plant, complete with Santa Claus. On that day we were allowed free roam of the plant. I remember that is where I discovered the wonders of bubble wrap and soda machines (the ones that dispensed a plastic cup then filled it with ice and soda). I often went with my mom to the plant to pick up my father after work, and was always filled with wonder at the various wings, tails and door sections they made and very proud of the fact that "my daddy built airplanes."
It saddens me greatly to know what happened in a place I remember so fondly, and I am appalled by the media's exploit of the gunman's apparent racial views. I was heartened by the Rev. Chris Cockrell's statements in an interview with Fox News, in which he asked the media not to label Meridian as a racist community; this crime was committed by an individual.
The victims, their families, and all of the employees at Lockheed are in my prayers. It is my hope that you stand together to come through this horrible event, and that the Meridian Lockheed-Martin plant can continue to make pleasant memories in your lives as it did mine.
G.M. Williams
Lockheed Martin shooter no victim
To the editor:
Regarding the CNN article "Girlfriend: Plant shooter was victim" (and related article in your newspaper), as far as I am concerned, Doug Williams is a criminal by shooting innocent employees who did not threaten his life or commit any criminal action against him. Mr. Williams is not a victim, like his girlfriend Shirley Price stated by embarrassing Mayor John Robert Smith in her absurd vocalization during the memorial service, where she stated that Mr. Williams was a victim like the dead employees and their families.
In my opinion, the problem is criminals are too much excused for their actions and inactions, and people do not take responsibility for what they do. Excuses are abundant when things go wrong, caused by people, not God, aliens or supernatural beings.
This event is very sad for everyone, but to say that Mr. Williams was a victim in the same light of the people he killed makes a mockery of the true victims' families.
George Fenton
via e-mail
Web site inadequate
To the editor:
Being from Meridian and living in Alabama, I check The Meridian Star Web site from time to time to see what's going on in my hometown.
My brother works at the Lockheed Martin plant and needless to say when I heard about the shootings, I was upset and wanted to know what happened. I checked your site and nothing. Later in the day all that was there was a small story and really no info.
The last few days I've checked back and have been very disappointed in the lack of information available on your Web site. This is a major national story in your town that people are concerned about. Why has it not been important enough to put online more information for your many out of town readers?
My brother was unhurt but many of us were very let down by your lack of online coverage. I believe if you're going to have an online presence you ought to keep it updated and interesting. It lacks both.
Harry McWilliams
Tuscaloosa, Ala.