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Letter: Serial killer told all to Texas Ranger

Reader letters to Newsday for Monday, Oct. 14, 2019

An undated handout photo made available by the

An undated handout photo made available by the Federal Bureau of Investigation of a composite image depicting multiple mug shots/booking photos of serial killer Samuel Little. Credit: FBI HANDOUT/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock/FBI HANDOUT/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock

It should have been noted in the article about notorious serial killer Samuel Little that a Texas Ranger elicited his confessions [“Deadliest serial killer,” News, Oct. 9].

Texas Ranger James Holland traveled to California to ask Little in prison about some cold cases. Holland gained Little’s trust, and in 48 days of interviews, during which Holland provided pizza and Dr Pepper, the killer offered details that were used to corroborate his accounts of killing dozens of women, according to Time magazine.

Holland deserves credit.

Gerard V. Pelkofsky,

  Kings Park

Editor’s note: The writer, now retired, led the Suffolk County police homicide squad from 2010 to 2012.

Nothing funny about slavery

It was horrifying to read that a teacher told students to write “funny” captions for pictures of slaves [“LI offers lessons on slavery,” News column, Oct. 6]. This assignment was not only insensitive but took away from the value of learning. America has a deeply complicated history of slavery. The way it is taught should not be taken lightly.

The teacher issued an apology, realizing the huge mistake. Although people make mistakes, teachers should be held to a higher standard. Parents send their children to school with trust that they will be educated properly. This assignment was the opposite. Racism is still present today, so making slavery into a joke is just not acceptable.

Shimin Tian,


Remember Barbara Jordan’s eloquence

Does the current Congress have any Republican member as eloquent as Rep. Barbara Jordan, the Texas Democrat who defended the Constitution and its checks and balances during the Watergate hearings in June 1974?

Instead, current Republicans such as Reps. Peter King and Lee Zeldin of Long Island are enablers who, in their support of President Donald Trump, sanction the diminution of law and order, disrespect for judicial process, the willful and flagrant ignorance

Sadly, the minority party in the House of Representatives and the majority in the Senate contains not a John Rhodes nor Larry Hogan Sr. in the House, nor a Barry Goldwater or Hugh Scott in the Senate.

Ultimately, on the question of impeachment, who in today’s House would cause words to flow like water in the River Jordan as did Barbara — while at the other end of Pennsylvania Avenue, another seeks to take the nation across the River Styx?

Edward B. “Woody” Ryder,



Your Oct. 10 “Today in history” feature reminds us of the bribery scandal that forced Vice President Spiro Agnew to resign in 1973 after he pleaded no contest to a charge of tax evasion. I never thought I’d say this, but I admire his move. He realized his offense and acted accordingly.

Steve Birkeland,



Toughen criminal penalties for dumping

Long Islanders should be thankful for the diligent work of the Suffolk County Health Department and that of the special Suffolk County grand jury that investigated the threat that mining and solid-waste operations pose to our sole-source aquifer. We also thank Newsday for its investigative coverage of these issues.

We believe that for years, our concerns about these polluting operations have been ignored by the DEC, especially at the Sand Land mine in our community. So we are disillusioned by the response from the DEC to the grand jury’s findings and recommendations. When contacted by Newsday, the DEC commissioner did not express an opinion about the sensible and urgent recommendations of the grand jury to increase criminal penalties and upgrade charges for polluters. “Financial penalties are often the best methods of deterrence,” he said [“Special grand jury report: State needs to get tough on dumping,” News, Sept. 29].

This is beyond naive and only emboldens polluters. Indeed, the grand jury found that the existing laws and fines are insufficient to dissuade environmental crimes. The financial rewards of environmental crime make the relatively minuscule fines just a cost of doing business.

We need the stronger criminal penalties and felony statutes recommended by the grand jury, not enabling slaps on the wrist.

Elena Loreto,


Editor’s note: The writer is president of the Noyac Civic Council, a 550-member advocacy organization devoted to local quality-of-life issues.

Blaming Trump for deaths of Kurds

President Donald Trump justified abandoning Kurdish fighters in Syria who have helped us fight the Islamic State by saying, “They didn’t help us in the Second World War; they didn’t help us with Normandy.”

Was this another effort to ingratiate himself with Russian President Vladimir Putin? I believe that to Trump, loyalty is easily bought and sold, and each Kurd death or mutilation on the battlefield in Syria is attributable to him and his ineptitude and ignorance [“Turkey presses assault,” News, Oct. 11].

Howard Mandell,

  East Northport


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