Fear playing into the hands of terrorists

*Fear playing into the hands of terrorists *A Christmas wish to end drunken driving *Paper should pu

Categories: Letters to the Editor

Fear playing into the hands of terrorists

I am checking my GPS to see how to get to some downstate cities while avoiding traveling through Ulster County.

In a recent Gazette article, people with properly registered guns were told to have them with them at all times by the Ulster County sheriff.

Just because you have a registered gun does not mean that you actually practice shooting it or you will behave properly in a tense situation. All we need in our already gun-crazed country is large groups of fearful, armed people with an OK to protect themselves and others with guns. We have been reading, far too often, that even law officers kill innocent people, and they are trained and practiced.

The terrorists, who have made us fearful, don’t have to kill us. We are already doing that American to American. By becoming a more fearful, gun-toting country, the terrorists win without firing a shot. I thought that the Dec. 6 Gazette editorial, “Gun violence requires a reasoned approach,” did a credible job of presenting both sides of this issue and its requests for background checks and limiting who can own a gun, nothing but sensible.

Just FYI, my dad and husband have had guns.

Janice Walz


A Christmas wish to end drunken driving

Dear Santa: I take this time to ask you as you prepare for your flight testing to please disable all vehicles you encounter that may be driven by “highway terrorists.” Intoxicated drivers to some.

These potential killers destroy the joy of the season for many of their victims. The joys of Christmas are forever ravished by this supposedly non-violent crime.

Thank you.

Bill Dikant


The writer is DWI victim advocate.

Paper should publish opposing viewpoints

The Nov. 30 issue of the Opinion page was a frank assault on impartiality. The top section was devoted to a mean-spirited attack on Muslim refugees by the noted ultra-conservative columnist, Charles Krauthammer. The bottom section was devoted to an attack by a non-authority, but equally conservative columnist, Russ Wege, who rails against the cancelling of the Keystone Pipeline — cloaking his concern in pseudo-environmental gibberish probably supplied as talking points by the Koch Brothers.

For example, the Koch Brothers and other coal producers would delight in Mr. Wege’s attack on hydro, wind, and solar power at the end of his column. He criticizes the amount of land that alternative energy sources use, but doesn’t consider the breadth of land that pipelines cover or the massive expanse that mines destroy.

What makes Mr. Wege’s article even more offensive is that it is published while President Obama and other world leaders are meeting to tackle global problems brought about by corporate and individual disregard for our planet.

It should be the duty of a newspaper to give people with opposing opinions equal access to its editorial pages. We already have Fox News bombarding the airwaves with conservative cant. We do not need to have your newspaper echoing what George Orwell calls “newspeak,” which Orwell defines as a controlled language designed to limit “freedom of thought and concepts that pose a threat.”

It would be better for all of your readers to get different points of view on all subjects, no matter how controversial, to help them to reach an opinion based on information and not propaganda.

Christine Bishop


Milton crew deserves thanks for leaf pickup

I am a resident of the town of Milton in Saratoga County. I wanted to take a few minutes to thank the town highway crew for its great efforts and a job well done during the fall leaf-and-brush removal over the past few weeks.

They start early when they come by the neighborhood, blowing the leaf piles into a large vacuum. They do a good job getting them all up and do not make a mess.

I just wanted to say thanks to a crew that may not hear it often enough. Thanks.

Lawrence Hebbard


Paid leave for cancer screening saves lives

Why is paid leave for cancer screening important? Every year, cancer claims the lives of more than half a million people. But what if there was a way to prevent this?

Cancer screening is an essential prevention strategy to allow for longer, healthier lives. If breast cancer is caught early, the five-year survival rate approaches 100 percent. Routine screenings such as mammograms, colonoscopies, pap smears, etc., can detect cancers early, when they are most treatable.

This effort to save lives also saves money in overall cost of late-stage cancer treatments.

But how does one make time for themselves to get screened with all their day-to-day obligations? As an employee, sick leave is great to have. But research shows that many workers save this time for “emergency situations such as sick children or aging parents.” The list goes on. With all of life’s priorities, using vacation or sick time for oneself to accomplish needed health screenings falls out of reach.

When employers offer paid leave time for cancer screenings, the employee can use this time to take care of their own health. Having this time available ensures they have access to early detection that could potentially save their life.

Cassie Diorio


Lennon an inspiration for peace in the world

Re Nov. 22 letter, “Imagine if we let the terrorists defeat us”: I wish to thank Roberto Rotondo for drawing my attention to the musician playing John Lennon’s beautiful hymn, “Imagine,” in Paris.

In times of fear-based division, illegal wars creating terrorists, and corporate greed despoiling creation, the temptation is there to join the dark forces of violence.

Lennon’s powerful picture towards heaven on Earth brings tears and inspires hope and actions toward peace, justice and a caring global community.

“I hope some day you will join us and the world will live as one.”

Peter Looker


Get facts before you argue on gun issue

In his Nov. 16 letter to the editor, Mr. Michael Sheedy attempted to, but fell short, of setting the record straight with regard to gun violence statistics. Though he took great pains to demonstrate that the United States is not third in gun violence, Mr. Sheedy failed to see the terrible irony of attempting to make his point by comparing the United States to drug-war ravaged countries like Colombia and Honduras.

The numbers that matter are our rankings relative to other similar industrialized countries, and the numbers are horrific.

In 2012, the United Nations Office of Drug and Crime (UNODC) cited 2.97 deaths due to homicide per 100,000 people in the United States. By comparison, France was 0.06, England was 0.07, Australia was 0.14, Germany was 0.19, Canada was 0.51, and Italy was 0.71.

So the United States has a roughly four to 50 times worse rate of homicide death per capita than our closest relatives. Japan, at 0.01, experiences roughly 300 times fewer deaths due to firearms. The common thread of all these countries compared with the United States is the level of gun ownership and gun or ammunition restrictions in place.

Mr. Sheedy also overlooked two other statistics on firearms; unintended/accidental deaths and suicide. The unintended/accidental death rate due to firearms is two to three times higher in the United States than comparable countries, which correlates very closely to the gun ownership rates in ours and these countries: United States — 88.8; Canada — 30.8; France — 31.2; and Germany — 30.3 per 100,000 people. In 2015 (on average), one toddler somewhere in the United States has shot and either killed or injured themselves or someone else every single week.

For 2013, the rate of hospitalized injury due to firearms is 26.65 per 100,000 people. With regard to suicide in the United States, for 2013, the death rate for suicide was 6.61 per 100,000 people, which is roughly two times that of death from homicide (3.5). The main reason for this connection is that the rate of “success” for suicide using a firearm is unmatched.

The Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health (ECH) cited a 96.5 percent success rate using a firearm versus 5.1 percent from cutting and 7.4 percent for poison. The number of suicides per 100,000 people is roughly four times higher in the United States relative to Canada, and seven times higher relative to Germany. The United States is once again worse than any comparable Western nation.

Based on recent letters to the editor, I’m finding that Mr. Sheedy is not unique, and that many people tend to form conclusions based on false information or a partial set of data (or perhaps no data at all).

As members of the voting public, we owe it to ourselves and our country to examine the data in forming our opinions.

Fred Bahr


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