Jury appeared to ignore testimony

After more than 30 years of law enforcement, I still find a interest in violent crimes, the investigations and results.

I find it fascinating that in a lot of cases, concrete evidence and expert testimony are discounted.

I followed a recent trial in Orangeburg because I met Sam Simmons during a trip to Orangeburg to visit relatives. While at a gathering at his family's home, I conversed with Sam and was impressed with his affability and his work ethic.

As a retired New York State police officer, I found it odd that the fact that there were no defensive wounds on him and no sign of bruises (choked three times) on the suspect.

Also a statement by the suspect -- "I got on top of him and put the knife in him" -- seemed to be ignored by the jury during their deliberations.

I feel the conviction on the lesser charge was a miscarriage of justice and the testimony of medical professionals and expert investigators was ignored.

Thank you for comprehensive and unbiased coverage of the trial.

--Art Johnson, N.Y. State police sergeant retired

Humanity replaced by online presence

Hard work, determination, sincerity and respect were once values that guaranteed a successful life that had its financial and personal rewards. Today, these virtues are shadows left by previous generations.

The different media outlets, television, social networks, music and other mediums that offer no educational value are what has taken the place of values. Values are not a political or religious issue, but human traits that should be taught and embraced by every society. Compassion, selflessness and empathy should not be replaced by selfishness, indifference and insensitivity.

With less importance on education and more emphasis on self-gratification, American society of all ages, creeds and colors has turned into a people who want to be entertained for a moment more than to be educated for a lifetime.

Impatience, laziness and self-indulgence are ever-present at every turn in our daily undertakings. The “Me Generation” has become the “Me Society.”

Face-to-face communication has been replaced with texting, instant messaging or by clicking “like” or retweeting. We have lost our humanity in favor of an online presence.

In today’s political system, it is more acceptable to shout your biased opinion in the crudest of manners than to come across as educated, respectable or accurate.

In my experience, I have taken the time to write two novels over the course of the last 10 years that offer entertainment as well as social commentary, elements of history and conjectures that provoke thought on different subject matters within the confines of these two historical books. It’s difficult to sell a new story that took time and imagination to construct, but even more challenging to sell to a society that chooses to watch videos and not read.

--Jason Etheredge, Springfield

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