For the third year running, I rode with my daughter on July 4 in the bicycle rush in the Towson Fourth of July Parade.

Neighbors and unknown spectators cheered as she passed them.

My heart swelled as these people encouraged her, telling her that not only is she safe, but has an important place in our community.

Thank you, parade goers, for encouraging the children of the bicycle brigade. You are a legendary crowd!

However, I am not happy about another legend of the 2011 parade.

The "Legends of the Fog" unit was, in my opinion, a legendary flub for the parade committee.

Independence Day is a time for the community to celebrate life, liberty, courage, sacrifice and all things honorable about our people and history. There is no place for macabre themes in an Independence Day parade.

The exhibit, "Legends of the Fog: Infection, Evacuation, Devastation," to me, celebrated death, hatred, fear and misery. If the title wasn't a give-away to the parade committee, perhaps they could have looked at the promotional materials, which featured a putrefied head with glowing green eyes.

In the parade, characters dressed as bloody monsters and villains with chainsaws paraded the streets attempting to hand out flyers to a stunned, silent and unresponsive audience.

Not only were parents shocked, but children were frightened and confused about the horror displayed. I noticed one young mother who pointed out the oncoming aberrance to her husband, who then led their small child away to protect him.

Unfortunately, most of us were unprepared for such a display in our usually wholesome parade.

Towson parade committee: What were you thinking?

Michael Boyes

Towson

Bin Laden deserved no protection under the U.S. Constitution

In his letter to the Towson Times in last week's edition, Daniel K. Hays wrote in defense of H.L. Goldstein's letter about the elimination of Osama bin Laden.

There seems to be some sort of disconnect in the conversation.

There is no place in our Constitution that ensures "due process" for people who have declared war against the United States and initiated attacks against the people of this nation.

The fact that a state of war exists, a statement from the mouth of bin Laden himself, moves the legal realm into international law and rules of engagement outlined by the Geneva Convention.

Mr. Hays cited the Nuremberg trials, where he conveniently omitted that these trials had nothing to do with our Constitution — but everything to do with International Law. Please do not confuse these two legal entities.

But more than the confusion between the controlling legal entities is the deep offense I take by Mr. Hays' implication that somehow I am a "super-patriotic zealot ... crazed with a passion for revenge ..."with a "hang 'em high" motivation and later as a "misguided fanatic".

Mr. Hays has neither met nor spoken with me. These comments offend me because they remind me of Jan. 29, 1970, the day I returned from Vietnam after spending a year in combat as a Navy Hospital Corpsman with the U.S. Marine Corps. This was unique in that I was a graduate of Friends School, an institution that was not prodigious in turning young men toward our military.

For my service I feel no shame and certainly am not a crazed, misguided fanatic. Shame on you, Mr. Hays, for that attitude.

After returning from war I spent the next several years being castigated by people who made comments similar and more crass as those of Mr. Hays.

I believe Mr. Hays speaks from a position of ignorance when suggesting that Navy Seal Team 6 ever had the opportunity to "capture" bin Laden without jeopardizing the lives of team members and the mission itself. Mr. Hays, your boots were not on the ground.

Their mission was to eliminate bin Laden as a significant threat to our nation. Mission accomplished.

This operation was conducted under the rules of engagement during war and, as I mentioned in my earlier letter, this war was, and is, being conducted in a manner consistent with Augustine's "Just War" theory.

R. Devereux Slingluff

Stoneleigh