Mailbag: Wilbert Rideau & Phosphorus in Foods

A reader writes:

I appreciated your column. I’ve heard Wilbert on NPR, and I appreciate that prisoners can be rehabilitated.

But I do think your article was a bit one-sided. The DA makes a valid point: Julia Ferguson is gone forever. Julia had a family too. What is a just sentence? What about the victim? How do we reconcile the two sides of this argument?

I’m not a vindictive person; I think the death penalty is far too widely applied in the US, but there are some people (McVeigh, Bundy) who can’t ever be redeemed, who are worthy of it.

I think activists on both sides-prisoner and victim-need to look at the other’s story. If we emphasize victim over prisoner, or vice versa, we do a disservice to both.

My post linked to Wikipedia pages on Retributive Justice and Restorative Justice. My sense is that we’ve tipped way too far towards the retributive and lost all perspective on restorative. I recognize that justice requires a balance.

I also agree that there are those rare instances where restoration may be impossible. But that’s the side I’d err on. And I understand that sometimes it is an error. Here I wrote in defense of Mike Huckabee for commuting the sentence of Maurice Clemmons who wen ton to kill 4 officers. The errors we know of on the other side are just as morally challenging.

On the OJ & phosphorous post, reader DLS reminds me that this is not just a recently discovered leftist food-faddist “demon of the day.” and provides links here and here to prove it.

I’ve long known about high phosphorus, not just in orange juice (whose best-known ingredient that can be a health hazard is potassium — hyperkalemia can stop the heart without any kind of warning, “sudden death,” as I call it plainly) but in cola drinks and several forms of food.

People with kidney disease and kidney failure, who have reached stages four or five, begin to experience problems with excess phosphorus (from dysregulation and derangement of calcium and phosphorus homeostasis), and have to restrict phosphorus in their diet and have to engage in other things as well such as taking phosphate binders to prevent phosphorus accumulation.

Extra, “hidden,” phosphorus is a scourge to those with kidney failure and while there is always a good fear of recklessness and worse by government and by government activists, it in no way is merited merely because of the population with kidney failure (1-2 per cent of the population), but some would probably like it if phosphorus would have to be on food labels along with such things as sodium, which normally is already. (The same might be true someday for potassium.)

Thanks for the feedback. Keep it coming; I read it all.

You can find me on Twitter @jwindish. Or email me at joe-AT-joewindish-DOT-com. I can’t respond to every email, but I will sometimes publish follow-up posts featuring the reader feedback – including feedback that disagrees with my conclusions.