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Letters to the Editor for Saturday, July 25

Your Voice

Trump, not testing, cause of covid spike

Lately, I watch in disbelief the news about how President Trump is dealing with the COVID-19 virus that has taken 143,000 American lives.
Trump has attributed the rising numbers to increased testing.
Back in June, the president tweeted “testing makes us look bad.”
In an analysis of testing data of all 50 states done by STAT, an on-line health journal, the numbers prove Trump wrong.
In only seven states was the rise in reported cases from mid-May to mid-July driven by increased testing.
In the other 26 states, among the 33 that saw cases increase during that period, the case count rose because there was actually more disease.
Even though more people are dying in the United States because of the pandemic, we have a president who refuses to follow the health experts’ advice on increasing testing, tracking and isolating people.
This approach has worked in countries like Germany, Italy, and South Korea. Every week, this president comes up with an irrational reason why the virus keeps spreading instead of taking action. It’s obvious the pandemic is not high on Trump’s list of priorities.
Barbara Trypaluk
Saratoga Springs

Wear a mask when out on the trails

I’m old and striving to stay healthy, both mentally and physically.
My favorite way is to walk along the scenic bike/hike trails that we are so fortunate to have in the Capital District. I walk them all, along with many other walkers, bikers and joggers.
These 6-foot wide paved paths are so popular, with people traveling in both directions, that in many instances, social distancing is impossible.
Rarely do I see anyone else wearing a mask.
The jogger huffs and puffs as he passes within a couple of feet of me. The unmasked couple strolls by with their dog, forcing me to step off the path to give them room in an attempt to keep us both safe.
Bikers, too, must believe that their exhalations are pure and uncontaminated by any pesky virus, even though they may have COVID-19 but are asymptomatic.
Should I become ill and am asked by a contact tracer how I contracted the disease, I will have to say I got it from the thoughtless, careless, mask-less people I encountered on the bike/hike trails.
I’m old, but hope to grow older. It will help if my fellow man would “man up,” quit thinking just of themselves and wear a mask when out as well as in.
Gay Doolittle



What is abortion but legal execution?

Some thoughts on the recent federal execution of Wesley Purkey for a murder that occurred in 1998.
How about conservatives reframe execution as post-birth abortion? Then once sentence is passed, there should be no delay in the medical procedure. In fact, pass the job of carrying out the sentence to Planned Parenthood, since they have carried out abortions in the 623,000 range for the last several years. And they’ve done it without trials, judges or juries with expediency.
Of course, we could turn it around a bit and say that the innocent should get the rights of the convicted, 20-plus years to live after sentence, legal representation, jury trial.
Which would liberals support? Likely neither. They would rather make themselves feel good about saving the guilty murderer than to suffer the inconvenience of having to care for the child.
For those that don’t recognize the right to life of the unborn child, let me ask this: Has any pregnant woman, in the history of mankind, ever given birth to anything other than a human being?
Francis Van Staveren

Time to retire Tonko, and support Liz Joy

 In about a hundred days we have an opportunity for change. You have career politician Paul Tonko, who votes most of the time with Schumer and Pelosi, career politicians that do nothing but stir the cesspool pot that Washington has become. That’s all you have to do is look at the record, What has he done for you? He does stick to his party, which he votes with 90% of the time. He’s got a challenge this year with Liz Joy.
Liz has been everywhere working hard already. She’s the new face going to bring change, ideas and energy to that office. Put somebody in the office that wants to work. Look at this election as a job interview and you’re the boss. Do you hire a career politician who has done nothing? Or do you hire someone who wants to do the job, wants to make things better, wants to work for you? Liz Joy is the needed change. Don’t you think it’s time to retire Tonko?
Paul Catucci

Jesus and Mary don’t deserve our wrath

Recently some people have been releasing their frustration and anger at Catholic symbols. They go around destroying and/or defacing churches and statues. Some people have even taken their anger on statues of Mary and even Jesus.
I believe that their resentment, although understandable, is misplaced because Jesus and Mary never did anything evil, and neither did they preach evil.
Is it because of the past mistakes of the Catholic Church? But the Church has apologized for Her sins. Pope John Paul II did. Why continue with hatred? Why can’t they protest peacefully and with civility?
Call for open and honest communication and understanding of our history, so that we can make amends, right the wrongs, and reform all of our institutions. Not only reform the Church, but also government institutions, our schools; and the way we teach history, by telling the truth instead of fairy tales.
Schools must tell all sides of history. Our history books must tell the whole picture that America has made mistakes, too, that American colonists abused and murdered the natives, and that Christopher Columbus did the same.
However, Jesus and Mary must be left alone. They shouldn’t be touched because they always preached love and lived it in their life. And although I’m upset about these events, I’ll forgive those who have chosen the side of hatred, because I remember Jesus’ words from the cross: Father, forgive them, because they do not know what they’re doing.
Ottavio Lo Piccolo

Consider the benefits of problem solving

The Brandywine incident has already led to several police policy reforms. It was a classic example of how a minor incident, badly handled, could have resulted in serious injury to the suspect or police officer, or even worse.
It is noteworthy the revisions include a requirement that all warrantless arrests must now be approved by a police supervisor.
Having reviewed the videos and news accounts, it appears the officer started a sensible dialogue with the suspect about reaching an “amicable” settlement with the complainant. Unfortunately, the matter escalated to an on-site arrest situation when the officer attempted to cuff the suspect without informing him he was under arrest. The suspect resisted and darted away, leading to the dangerous use-of-force incident.
The Georgia policing expert’s statement captured the essence of the incident when he stated the “use of force was disproportionate to the crime.”
As someone with considerable criminal justice experience, albeit mostly in corrections, the fact is the officer had several options to making an immediate arrest at his disposal. He could have easily delayed the arrest to another time, especially since he was acting solely on the complainant’s report.
Sadly, the growing “warrior” culture in policing does not place a value on the problem-solving approaches, which depend on interpersonal skills to manage any number of situations.
The sooner we begin to value problem solving approaches and recognize the power to arrest as only one tool in an officer’s arsenal of weapons, the safer will be our communities.
Robert K. Corliss

Grateful for those who helped at home

As the academic year comes to close, the middle school team at Saint Mary’s Institute would like to sincerely thank the parents and grandparents of our students during this unprecedented time of uncertainty and national disruption.
Thanks to quick action on everyone’s part, SMI was able to begin distance learning a mere two days after the closure of our building due to COVID-19. While we were able to supply our students with necessary textbooks and technology, it was you who helped us ensure that Zoom schedules were followed and assignments were completed. We couldn’t have done it without this incredible partnership between you and our teachers.
While we missed seeing our students in person, it was fantastic to “meet” with almost all of them online frequently throughout the week.
Many of us are parents as well as teachers, so we know how hard it is to supervise and help children as they navigate their online lessons.
You kept them on task and enabled us to continue to fulfill our mission. Please know that we realize how blessed we are to be part of such an amazing community.
It is our sincere prayer that we emerge from these uncertain times even stronger, and we look forward to seeing all of you this fall.
Cory Jensen, Cathy Teresco, Andrew Bryce, Lisa Lynch, Jennifer Kennedy
The writers are St. Mary’s Institute staff members.

Grateful for special care after surgery

In spite of all the chaos surrounding COVID-19, there are a group of professional people I would like to compliment during this situation.
The group of doctors from The Bone and Joint Center in Dr. Robert Cheney’s group are at the top of the list, Dr. Robert Cheney, of course at the top.
I postponed spinal surgery because of COVID-19 since my wife would not be able to visit me. With that lifted, I underwent the surgery on July 1. I’m happy to report it was successful, but the treatment and care I received at Albany Medical Center was second to none.
Each caregiver was nicer than the next. I especially enjoyed talking to his team members when they came in to check on me.
I got into some interesting conversations with them and began to understand the years of training involved to become a surgeon and the desire to succeed. In addition to them, the nurses assigned to me were fantastic and happy to talk about their journey in the medical field. It’s nice to see people following their dreams and especially in the medical field which I assure you is not all fun and games. Although you may not believe it, I am not a complaining patient. As much as I couldn’t wait to be released, I did miss the conversations with the caregivers.
I wish all of you continued success in your career paths, and thanks for the great treatment and intelligent conversations.
Bob Belive

Don’t apply 1776 America to today

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo recently spoke at the release of the report drafted by his Human Rights Commission.
Its purpose was to suggest that American human rights policy should reflect the “nation’s founding principles.” In Pompeo’s words, Americans must “recognize how our founders understood unalienable rights.”
Thankfully, however, our understanding of unalienable rights has matured since the founding generation, even if not yet fully realized.
We are rightfully proud of the words in our Declaration of Independence: “…all men are created equal…endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, [including] Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”
These powerful words embody the ideals which founded our nation and reflect our Constitution’s primary objective: “to form a more perfect Union.”
However, the Declaration’s words clearly do not reflect how “our founders understood unalienable rights” in practice. In 1776, these rights were not available for “all men,” much less all men and women. They were denied to women, enslaved Africans, property-less men and those the Declaration called “merciless Indian savages.”
History must be understood honestly to serve a valuable purpose. So let’s understand “unalienable rights” in 1776 America, but let us not consider embracing them today.
Denis Brennan

Tonko will give us more of the same

I’m not usually someone who talks about politics, but I am worried about my children’s future.
Here, I am a dad to a boy who is 4 years-old, and my wife and I have another one on the way. This year, we have seen the coronavirus, riots in the streets and people more divided than ever. We have the same politicians who have been in office for years telling us everything’s going to be OK. Heck, we can’t even rely on our kids being back in school this fall. Congressman Paul Tonko talks a good game about how he cares about us, but he’s been in the system for almost 40 years, and what has he really done for any of us? He’s going to keep doing the same thing that gets him reelected. I’m sick of it. I met Liz Joy, who is running against Paul this November. She’s a mother to four children and she really listens and understands what people are going through. Vote Liz this November so we can make some changes.
Norman Hogan
Fort Johnson

Event at jail was worthy of coverage

I am a member of the Schenectady Clergy Against Hate and was present at All of Us Schenectady’s Freedom Tour at the county jail on the evening of July 17.
There were about as many people participating as there were at the night of July 13’s act of civil disobedience. Stories were shared about false arrests, life in incarceration, and the trauma the criminal justice system has on Black lives.
The crowd yelled and chanted hopeful messages to the inmates behind the walls of the jail. It was a peaceful assembly and the leadership worked with the crowd to obey city ordinances. Given that this issue is far from resolved, I was surprised that The Gazette did not cover it at all, not even with a picture and caption, while other human interest stories were. This community issue is not going away, and ignoring it does not help further dialogue. Every voice needs to be heard, even if they are unpleasant to our ears sometimes.
The Rev. Dr. Timothy Coombs
The writer is co-pastor of Trinity Presbyterian Church.

We must reach out to detained families

Although it isn’t on the news, nearly a hundred families seeking safety in the United States from violence and persecution have been locked up by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) in the Berks family detention center in Pennsylvania and two detention facilities in Dilley and Karnes City, Texas.
Held in indefinite detention, they feel they are sitting ducks for COVID-19, which runs rampant in the family detention centers.
Declaring these detention facilities are “on fire,” a federal judge ordered ICE to release all children by July 17. Judge Gee doesn’t have the power to order the release of the parents, too, but we do.
ICE will only release families together if they feel the cost of sustained outrage and pressure from people across the country.
Right now we have a choice: family unity or family separation. Our community must tell ICE: Refugees are welcome here.
Katherine Donnelly
Saratoga Springs

Don’t rely on claims of ‘settled science’

It’s interesting how the phrase “settled science” is often used to denigrate and squelch dissenting ideas and theories.
Consider this. If “settled science” had been the order of the day way back when, mankind would still be operating under the premise that the Earth is flat.
Timothy J. O’Neill

Categories: Letters to the Editor, Opinion

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