08/28/1995 at 01:00 AM EDT
Though many correspondents were moved by the excerpt from David Smith's book Beyond All Reason: My Life with Susan Smith, sentiment toward Susan has not changed: most still strongly believe she deserved nothing less than the death penalty for murdering her two sons (PEOPLE, Aug. 7). Another faction holds David partially responsible for the tragedy due to his immature behavior as a husband and father.
Until I read your excerpt from David Smith's book, I had confused feelings about Susan Smith. I was so engrossed with how I felt about her that I didn't think how it must have felt being the father of those two boys and losing them in such a way by the same woman who had brought them into his life. Susan's sentence isn't nearly harsh enough for the crime she committed and for the hell she is putting him through
ANNA VAN GORDON
Rio Rancho, N.Mex.
It never ceases to amaze me that young fathers leave their children with young mothers and think that these children will not suffer physically, emotionally, financially and spiritually. I am very surprised more mothers don't crack under the strain. David Smith has learned a very terrible lesson.
Huntington Beach, Calif.
The real tragedy in the whole Smith saga is that these two "children"—David and Susan—ever gave birth to precious children of their own. The quote "I was cheating on my girlfriend with my wife" tells us about the morals of this man. Not to mention what we know about Susan. I am only sorry it took the lives of two innocents to bring this man to the realization that he needed to grow up.
VALERIE MCGRATH, Milwaukie, Oreg.
Why would David Smith leave his two children in the care of an unstable woman, then aggravate the situation by toying with her emotions regarding their relationship, warn men away from her while openly carrying on an affair and then have her followed by his new girlfriend? Although I believe he had no idea his wife was capable of murdering their children, I believe when David cries, he cries because he knows his actions were a factor in pushing this unstable woman to commit this heinous crime.
CYNTHIA J. SMITH, Lavergne, Tenn.
REP. BILL RICHARDSON
As the mother of three young drivers, I could not help but cringe at the thought of Congressman Richardson telling his driver, "Just run the red lights—RUN THEM!" After persuading Saddam Hussein to free the two Americans, how many people's lives did he put in jeopardy as they did a "U-turn across three lanes of oncoming cars" so he would not miss his opportunity to vote? While he was not involved in an accident, how many could he have caused? It seems we have yet another politician who places himself above the law.
PATRICIA K. MANGUAL
PICKS & PANS
Just because a movie is expensive to make doesn't mean that it is automatically a bad film. The movie is meant to stretch the imagination. I'm not sure if your reviewer used his imagination at all. If he wanted to see sandy beaches and hear the roar of the surf, he should have reviewed a movie other than one entitled Waterworld. I think critics should get off of their bandwagons of bashing Waterworld and let the public decide whether or not they like the film.
MAGGIE GDULA, Troy, Mich.
Kevin Costner and Waterworld were much better at their job of entertaining than Tom Gliatto was in his job of reviewing them. I'd rather watch Kevin Costner than read Tom Gliatto.
DIANA ARTEMIS, Corvallis, Oreg.
Don't be so cynical when it comes to reviewing movies. It is possible that the chain-smoking pirate in Waterworld is smoking dried kelp.
KIM SHECKLER, Torrance, Calif
If the charge that her husband struck her in the head with his open hand isn't enough reason for Felicia Moon to leave her husband, how about the look of anguish on daughter Blair's face in the accompanying photo? I can't believe this is the environment in which an advocate for battered women would want her children raised.
KATHLEEN POWERS, Buffalo