Letters to the Editor
March 3, 2011

To the Editor:
Thankfully God does not imitate the Supreme Court. The right of the Westboro Baptist Church to express their anti-gay views outside military funerals was upheld Wednesday by the U.S. Supreme Court, which ruled that the free speech provisions of the First Amendment protect the Kansas-based group's public protests. If courts could rule in matters of righteousness perhaps we'd see a different resolve. What is civil and what is lawful aren't synonymous. We can expect anti-Christians to sully the church in the mainstream while media pundits run with this rancor over political and religious speech. In this matter, speech cannot be separated from the inclusive right to assemble. Judges are free to personally comment, even call the actions of the protesters morally reprehensible, but rule according to what the law allows. Here, it's not the law but the gospel that's being perverted by delusional men and women professing to be harbingers of Christianity. The Court did the only thing it could do without subjugating the 1st Amendment.
Bert Castel de Oro


To the Editor:
Today I received an e-mail from a friend of mine that I stay in contact with regularly. His letter read, “I am in England, I am in a terrible situation right now and really need your help with a loan of $2700. I know it’s such short notice, but unfortunately for me, my bank does not have local presence here. That's why I have to ask you for help. If you can help out with this money or whatever funds you can come up with, I will greatly appreciate it.” I replied saying it sounded rather strange but in case it was true I would be glad to help. He mailed me back saying this: “I wasn't supposed to spend more than a week but I got mugged and robbed here. I lost my personal effects including my bank & credit cards, my cell phone and other important stuff. That's why I am asking you for a loan but I'll explain better once I get back. I am at this address. (removed)”
I noticed the e-mail address he was using was different than my friends and of course knew it was a scam and didn’t follow up with his request. I tried to get hold of my friend with no luck and then went to the local Sheriff’s Dept. I knew they would not take the time to follow this up and I was right. There are just too many scams going around for the manpower they have available. At least I did the right thing by trying. This all leads up to one of my pet peeves, “using e-mail etiquette.” Once a year I send to all my e-mail friends a special letter hoping it will make a difference; sad to say that I have made very few converts. I don’t know if people are just lazy or don’t give a darn, maybe both. Here is the letter I send every year.
Do you really know how to forward emails? 50% of us do; 50% DO NOT.
Do you wonder why you get viruses or junk mail? Do you hate it? Every time you forward an email there is information left over from the people who got the message before you, namely their email addresses and names. As the messages get forwarded along, the list of addresses builds and builds and builds and all it takes is for some poor sap to get a virus and his or her computer can send that virus to every email address that has come across his computer. Or, someone can take all of those addresses and sell them or send junk mail to them in the hopes that you will go to the site and he will make five cents for each hit. That's right, all of that inconvenience over a nickel! How do you stop it? Well, there are several easy steps. Try the following if you haven't done it before:
(1) When you forward an email, you can DELETE all of the other addresses that appear in the body of the message (at the top). That's right, DELETE them. First though, You MUST click the 'Forward' button, and then you will have full editing capabilities against the body and headers of the message. If you don't click on 'Forward' first, you won't be able to edit the message at all. Highlight names, addresses and etc. and delete them, backspace them, cut them, or whatever it is you know how to do. It only takes a second. [At this point you can make corrections or additions in the body of the email, if you wish].
(2) Whenever you send an email to more than one person, do NOT use the To: or Cc: fields for the list of email addresses. Always use the BCC: (blind carbon copy) field for listing ALL the email addresses. This is the way the people you send to will only see their own email address. If you don't see your BCC: option click on where it says To: and your address book list will appear. Highlight the address and choose BCC: and that's it, it's that easy. When you send to BCC: that message will automatically say 'Undisclosed Recipients in the 'TO:' field of the people who receive it.
(3) Remove any ' FW:' in the subject line. You can highlight the FW and delete it or re-name the subject if you wish or even fix the spelling.
(4) ALWAYS hit your Forward button from the actual email you are reading. Ever get those emails that you have to open 10 times to read the one page with the information on it? By Forwarding from the actual page you wish someone to view, you stop them from having to open many emails just to see what you sent.
(5) Have you ever gotten an email that is a petition? It states a position, asks for an address and you to add your name to it. You are to forward it to 10 or 15 people or your entire address book. The email can be forwarded on and on and can collect thousands of names and email addresses. A FACT: The completed petition is actually worth a couple of bucks to a professional spammer because of the wealth of valid names and email addresses contained therein. DO NOT put your email address on any petition. If you want to support the petition, send it as your own personal letter to the intended recipient. Your position may carry more weight as a personal letter than a laundry list of names and email addresses on a petition. (And don't believe the ones that say that the email is being traced; it just ain't so!)
ACTUAL FACT: Most e-mail petitions are worthless because they do not fully identify the signer by street address, etc. nor does it prove that the signer really signed it. Don't forward them. Besides, if you send the petition to several people that means your name is on several other petitions and growing. Not quite legal.
Some of the other emails to delete and not forward are:
a.) The one that says something like, 'Send this email to 10 people and you'll see something great run across your screen.' Or sometimes they'll just tease you by saying 'something really cute will happen.' IT AIN'T GONNA HAPPEN!!!!! I repeat.... IT AIN'T GONNA HAPPEN!!!!! (No matter how many you send it to or how long you wait.... IT AIN'T GOING TO HAPPEN!!!!!!!! We are still seeing some of the same emails that we waited on 10 years ago!)
b.) I don't let the bad luck ones scare me either, they should get trashed. The ones that say if you send to x-number of people you will receive a blessing or something...don't be fooled. If you want to bless someone or be blessed send them a direct encouragement. And as for 'send this and don't break the chain', .this is another type of a petition format.
c.) Before you forward an 'Amber Alert' or a 'Virus Alert' a99 or some of the other emails floating around nowadays, check them out before you forward them. Most of them are junk mail that's been circling the net for YEARS! Just about everything you receive in an email that is in question can be checked out at Snopes. Just go to www.snopes.com. It's really easy to find out if it's real or not. If it's not, or seems far fetched please don't pass it on.
So please, in the future, let's stop the junk mail and the viruses.
Also get rid of the advertisements at the bottom of your emails! You pay for your internet why advertise free for them? If they want advertisement let them pay you to use your space!!!
Finally, here's an idea. Let's send this to everyone we know (but strip my address off first, please). This is something that SHOULD be forwarded, so do it, please!
John Heilman