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CHURCH ARSONIST GOT OFF TOO EASILY

Please forgive me if I'm not one of the Greek-Americans who is in a hurry to forgive George Liaros, who burned down the Hellenic Orthodox Church during the waning hours of the Greek Festival last May.

While I do commend the way the Rev. James Doukas has handled the situation, I do not understand the show of support parish members gave to Liaros at his sentencing. They were very quick to forgive him for his crime and were very happy with his sentence: weekends in jail for six months.

In what could only be a case of misguided altruism by people of good intentions, the parish members seem to be telling Liaros that this isn't his fault. As a Christian, I, too, believe in forgiving people for their transgressions, but only after the person is properly punished for his crime.

The all-too-quick forgiving parish members cited some "problems" the kid was having, including the death of his father. I sympathize with anyone who loses a close family member, but does this give him carte blanche to do as he pleases? If that were the case, the 1.2 million inmates in our nation's prisons could blame their actions on a death in the family, a bad childhood, etc.

I realize I may be a little pragmatic concerning this issue, but the point I'm trying to make is, if Liaros isn't accountable for his actions, then who is?

WILLIAM KYRIAKAKOS

Buffalo

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