Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Richters comments to Gulf War Hero at South Carolina Lt. Governor Candidate forum out of line

Richter's Recent comments on Connor's Military Service Indicate Lack of Patriotism,
Lack of Leadership Qualities Needed to Help Lead South Carolina

BY: Keith H. Seymour,

Recently Candidate for South Carolina Lieutenant governor, Larry Richter at a recent forum sponsored by a group of woman Republicans compared his service as a judge who had sent five men to death row, to the life and death decision of Army Veteran and Bronze Star recipient Lt. Colonel Bill Connor. As a “patriotic American, the grandson, son, and nephew of military officers who have seen combat, I feel such a comparison is out of line. Especially since Mr. Richter has never served in the military.

While sending someone to be executed for a crime that they have committed is no small decision, as Mr. Richter pointed out in his rather insulting remarks, that is a very deliberate decision, and a judge has time to consider his options. A soldier must be able to think on his feet, and be ready to adapt to any situation at moment's notice. Furthermore, the outcome of the decision made by a solider in combat is much heavier than that of judge, simply due to the fact that the soldiers decision not only affects the safety of himself and those in which he is put in charge, but the country he charged with defending. It should be also pointed out that our judicial process is such that those men sentenced to be executed had the right to appeal, and there may have been a chance of a commuted sentence or even a reprieve. On the other hand, when a soldier dies or someone in his command is killed because of bad decision, there are no second chances.

It should be noted, while Mr. Richter was safely enjoying the creature comforts and freedoms, available to Americans, Lt. Colonel Connor was putting his life in danger so Richter and others could safely enjoy those comforts and freedoms. Therefore, Mr. Richter's comments were hypocritical and un-American. Considering the fact that South Carolina is home to the largest basic training Army instillation in the world (Fort Jackson), Mr. Richter's comments should be of great concern to the voters in this state. The people elected in this state need to be people who exhibit the ability to respect the abilities, and enhance the moral of those who faithfully serve this country. Whereas Lt. Colonel Connor's actions indicate that he is such a person, Mr. Richter's clearly indicate the opposite.

Furthermore, Mr. Richter's comments contrasting his judicial and legislative to Lt. Colonel Connor's military experience, seem to imply that he feels Connor's executive military experience, in addition to his combat experience, is insufficient experience to lead this state. If my assessment of Mr. Richter's comments are correct, I would suggest to Mr. Richter that holding an executive position that requires someone to consecutively oversee various military units and equipment and operations totaling over $160 million dollars, and later implementing and overseeing the training of junior officers, takes a great deal of administrative skill. I would also contend that anyone selected to be Aide de Camp to a commanding general, and whose service to this country has caused him to be selected for the famous Cambridge “Who's Who” publication, is a leader qualified to oversee the physical, governmental, and fiscal well-being of this state.

In closing, I would like to ask my fellow Americans and South Carolinians a question. “Are you really able to endorse a person who for the purpose of political gain, will attack the intelligence and integrity of a war hero, who has literally risked his life to safeguard our freedoms, or do you feel our state deserves better?” My hope is that it is the latter.

Keith H. Seymour is an Contributing Editor and may be reached at phoned at 803-233-9622 or 803-960-8785.