Tougher gun laws no cure-all for tragedies

*Tougher gun laws no cure-all for tragedies *Fix misspelled sign on I-890 ‘shoudler’ *Bible maybe no
PHOTOGRAPHER:

Tougher gun laws no cure-all for tragedies

In regard to E.J. Dionne’s June 27 column about a saner approach to gun violence, it seems apparent to me that Mr. Dionne has just stated the weakness of his own argument.

Neither the Sandy Hook killer nor the Charleston killer were sane. Walking into a school or church and killing innocent people who are doing no harm is not the act of a sane person. It doesn’t matter if society says you shouldn’t kill innocent people. Society has always said that, and it still happens all over the world.

Secondly, it doesn’t matter if society disapproves or makes guns difficult for an honest person to get. Criminals will always be able to procure them. Prohibition didn’t make alcohol impossible to get. Anyone willing to break the law could get it. The same still applies to any type of firearms, no matter how strongly society defends its “right not to bear arms.”

Lastly, does Mr. Dionne really believe that if the Confederate battle flag comes down in South Carolina that hate groups are going to stop using it on their websites?

Phyllis M. Decker

Schenectady

Fix misspelled sign on I-890 ‘shoudler’

Traveling west on I-890, just before Rice Road, there is a sign that reads “No Shoudlers.”

In this day of social media, the Internet and cellphones, how can a sign be misspelled and ignored by everyone?

What they are trying to inform us is that “No Shoulders” are on the side of road.

Please, somebody with a cellphone (which I don’t have), text the construction workers on I-890 to fix that sign or cars may fall of the “shoudlers.”

Gene Errico

Pattersonville

Bible maybe not best source for morality

Re June 30 letter, “Return to Bible for guidance on morality”: Barry Groat indicated that the Bible is 100 percent accurate in its predictions.

He goes on to say the world will decline into “evil with clarity and truth.” His global interpretation of recent events affirming the rights of individuals to engage in sexual activities he finds reprehensible will have devastating repercussions, causing “destruction” in the form of “disasters.”

Sounds like his benevolent God is about to order up Armageddon. My impression is that Mr. Groat is living in the Dark Ages. I wonder if he also believes incest, infanticide, and animal and human sacrifice are viable alternatives to “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.”

Since the Bible is 100 percent accurate, he must agree with the parts of the Bible conveniently left out of any discussion of religion. Islam, Judaism and Christianity worship the God of Abraham, so all three must be inspired by the same God.

Considering his lack of compassion and delusional tendencies, I dismiss his opinions unequivocally.

Paul Santo

Rotterdam

Christians can back same-sex marriage

I’ve read a lot of commentary on both sides of the recent Supreme Court decision requiring states to allow civil marriage to same-gender couples. Most of the opposition comes from religious people. But there is also a great amount of support from religious people. The independent Catholic denomination I am a part of is supportive of same-gender marriage on civil and religious grounds (www.cacina.org).

The current debate is not a religious matter; it is a civil matter. The Supreme Court did not decide anything that would change religious liberties in its ruling. The First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution continues to guarantee all faith communities the right to discriminate against same-sex couples. It continues to be a matter of choice for religious communities to offer religious services to same-gender couples or not. In any case, the religious argument is not one-sided against same-gender marriage.

I have a Master of Divinity Degree and I have been in ordained Christian ministry for more than 15 years, so I think those facts credential me to share some information that some of my theologically conservative peers may choose not to share.

Marriage has not always been between one man and one woman in the way that some would lead us to believe. In the Hebrew Scriptures, Sarah invited another woman into her marriage relationship with Abraham in order to have children (Genesis 16). Jacob married his first cousin, Leah. And seven years later, while still married to Leah, he married her sister, Rachel (Genesis 29).

According to scripture, King Solomon had 700 wives and 300 concubines (1 Kings 11). These are only a few examples of the heterosexual, scriptural marriages that are not what conservative religious pundits would consider “traditional.” Yet they base their idea of traditional marriage on Judeo-Christian scripture.

Same-gender marriage is not even mentioned in the Christian scriptures. All of the Gospel accounts of Jesus are grounded in Jesus’ ministry of love, forgiveness, and charity (Mark 12:28-34, earliest Gospel). It’s clear that Jesus was a reformer himself and was at odds with many of the Jewish laws of his day. He instructed his disciples to follow what he called the greatest commandment of loving God and neighbor.

The 14th Amendment says that no state shall deny people equal protection under the law. Religious people should celebrate that we live in a society where we all are free to believe what we want and worship how we want without interference of government authorities. In the end, however, the power of love is greater than any civil or religious law.

I’m grateful the next generation of same-gender couples will have freedom to marry. But there is a lot of bigotry and prejudice to face and overcome in the years ahead. Religious people in the many different faith communities will have to choose which side of history to write their narrative.

Rev. Anthony W. Green

Albany

Rail trail could harm the Forest Preserve

Your June 26 editorial, “Adirondack decision goes off the rails,” expresses the view that the state really ought to go all the way and rip up all the rail and ties from Big Moose station in Herkimer County to Tupper Lake in Franklin County, thereby, extending the rail trail 80 miles to Lake Placid for walking, running, biking and snowmobiling as an economic development tool.

Perhaps you are right. Perhaps tourist train service through the center of the Adirondacks will not be proved viable in the future. And rail trails are very popular throughout the United States; I certainly enjoy those near my home.

But here are a few points about the Adirondack Park, which escaped your editorial’s attention.

1) The law states that recreational activities, while very important, are secondary to the protection of the wild character and natural resources of the Adirondack Park (State Land Master Plan).

2) That park’s wild character and environmental resources, which the law states are of “paramount” importance, are extremely vulnerable to inappropriate recreational pressures, including the use of 1,000 pound all-terrain vehicles which, while illegal on our state lands, are driven there illegally in all months of the year.

3) The rail corridor from Big Moose to Tupper Lake runs through five core wilderness areas, part of “forever wild” state Forest Preserve, where man is a visitor who shall not remain.

4) If the ties are taken up and the rails removed from Big Moose to Tupper Lake, an 80 mile free-for-all zone could develop where ATVs will operate year-round in remote wilderness far from law enforcement, spidering off from the rail-trail, ruining wetlands and damaging our forever wild lands for decades. Statewide, we have fewer than 105 forest rangers to patrol all of our state lands from Long Island to the Adirondacks, the same number of rangers that patrolled 50 years ago.

5) A tourist train, in contrast to the individualized trail sports your editorial promotes, has the opportunity to deliver an educational message to its patrons about the history and significance of our Adirondack Park and the need for its caring conservation far into the future, without which this magnificent wilderness park dating to 1892 will become a more mechanized “anyplace USA.”

David Gibson

Ballston Lake

The writer is a staff partner with the nonprofit Adirondack Wild: Friends of the Forest Preserve.

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