Correspondence

Insight on the News, April 17, 2000 | Go to article overview

Correspondence


Wallace Believed He Was Shot by One of the President's Men

I am the current deputy secretary of the state of Alabama but previously served as spokesman and personal aide for former Alabama Gov. George C. Wallace during the last few years of his life. Having just read news alert! [Nov. 29, 1999], regarding the Wallace shooting and subsequent investigation, I wanted to congratulate you on a job well done.

During the years I worked for Wallace, he largely was bedridden, so I would spend hours by his side listening to stories and asking about the history that he lived. Wallace, to the day he died, believed someone working for President Nixon, but without the president's knowledge, had Arthur Bremer shoot him. The governor, about five years before his death, wrote Bremer a letter that offered forgiveness for the shooting and asked for an opportunity to meet with Bremer. The warden of the prison told me that he personally delivered the letter to Bremer and was surprised at his lack of reaction. Bremer never answered the letter. Thanks again.

David Azbell via the Internet

Boot Camps for Juvenile Offenders: Bad to Worse?

Associate Editor Woody West is correct that the civilian adaptation of military-style boot camps as an attempt to intervene in the budding criminal careers of youthful offenders was doomed to failure [The Last Word, April 3-10]. However, he asserts that they failed because the "boots" were not serving voluntarily. The service of involuntary draftees throughout the Vietnam era belies that contention.

West fails to understand the purpose of military boot camps. In basic training a widely varying group of inductees is broken down, through physical and emotional exertion, to the lowest common denominator. They then are formed into a disciplined group, all part of a very structured organization in which right and wrong behavior is defined absolutely. When this unity has evolved, they then are taught the "basic" skills and concepts that prepare them to be integrated into regular units of the services, where the same discipline (in some cases to a lesser degree) is maintained and where the cohesion of the unit is paramount. …

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