Murphy and other DA’s should give up fight against marijuana
Re Jan. 8 article, “Driver indicted in Northway crash,” we are unlikely to see much sympathy for Dennis Drue, the 22-year-old who allegedly indulged prior to speeding in his car and causing that tragic accident in December.
Drue will have earned, through his callous choices and actions, whatever prison sentence our justice system eventually delivers. Many local hearts ache for the families and friends of his young victims.
Nonetheless, I must take issue with public statements made at that press conference by Saratoga County District Attorney James Murphy III. In discussing Drue’s apparently reckless behavior, Murphy was determined to spread fear about the effects of cannabis on the human brain. We have every right to expect officials like Murphy to refrain from making such prejudicial remarks, which were clearly beyond his expertise in legal matters.
Whether New York state’s district attorneys approve of this reality or not, marijuana is here to stay. They simply can’t ignore that 18 states, including most of our neighbors, now have medical marijuana policies. Two states have just legalized marijuana for recreational consumption by adults. Even federal officials are being compelled to reconsider their own anti-marijuana regime.
The most effective means to stop the misuse of any substance are education, coupled with strict laws against sales to minors, public intoxication and driving under the influence. Alert family members and friends are the next line of defense.
Moreover, if they were not out hunting growers of cannabis plants, or arresting so many nonviolent marijuana dealers and consumers, cops could spend far more time preventing serious crimes. For example, they could be halting aggressive and impaired drivers, like Drue, before they crash and ruin lives.
With all due respect for his service to the citizenry, Murphy acts like those officials in 1930, who were still wielding axes in city streets to smash open illegal barrels of booze. A few years later, they had to put the tools away, letting citizens drink and be merry again for the common good.
How many shots does a responsible hunter need?
My father was a successful deer hunter for many years and taught me how to handle a rifle.
1) Never point it in any direction you aren’t prepared to fire. It didn’t matter if it was unloaded and the safety was on, if it had one.
2) Carefully check your rifle for being loaded and make sure safety is on before cleaning and transporting.
3) Check area behind your target to be sure it is clear in case of an errant shot, and then double-check your target is proper.
4) Keep your finger out of the trigger guard until you are ready to fire.
My father had a saying, while hunting deer, that if he heard one shot fired, there was a good chance that hunter successfully hunted a deer. Two shots reduced that chance of success, while three or more made it unlikely the hunter was successful because he wasn’t aiming properly.
My father asked me to go deer hunting with him when I returned from Vietnam. I did so for the camaraderie that comes with hunting with others. On our second day out, while wearing bright orange clothing, I heard a shot and the bullet came through the woods close to me. I didn’t see or hear a deer. At that point, I decided I had worked too hard to get myself and my buddies back alive from Vietnam to risk my freedom or life to some unsafe hunter.
What if that unsafe hunter, who had apparently fired at motion or sound, had been equipped with an assault weapon with a 30-round magazine? Would he have fired the whole clip to improve his chances? It is dangerous enough hunting in areas where there are hunters who aren’t safety aware without also allowing those hunters to carry assault weapons. These weapons aren’t designed for accuracy as much as to put out a lot of firepower to give cover.
It is no more rational to allow these assault weapons than it is to allow machine guns, grenades, and claymores. Hunting has a place in today’s society, but killing civilians does not, nor do these weapons of war.
Be grateful we needn’t boil water all the time
Last Friday, a boil water alert was issued for the town of Niskayuna while I was at school [Jan. 12 Gazette]. My first thought was how inconvenient it would be for me to not be able to go to the water fountain for a drink for the next few hours.
However, it occurred to me later on how privileged we are in this country to have to deal with these problems so rarely. While we might not have clean water for a matter of hours or a couple days, millions of people around the world lack clean water for their whole lives.
Since clean water can flow almost endlessly out of a faucet here in America, it can be easily taken for granted. So there’s an obvious message here — we should be thankful and take more time to appreciate how lucky we are.
Tasers in schools could be better than guns
[I am] so sick of hearing about putting all the guns in our schools, when everybody needs to take a step back and look at the whole picture.
How about this alternative: those who will carry with a concealed weapon permit — fine; others, who will put themselves in the line of danger without a gun — [supply them with] a police taser.
Yes, a hand-held Taser. They shoot 30 to 35 feet, have two shots and are non-lethal — just 50,000 volts. No, you don’t take them home. You will be trained with them just like the police are: how to shoot and aim, [and there is] no recoil. You will come in, pick it up in the main office, and return [it] at the end of the day.
Please, no more legislation!
Larry B. Yost Jr.
Millions were victims of Soviet atrocities
Re Jan. 10 article, “Ukraine genocide topic of program Saturday,” by Ed Munger Jr. Finally a part of history has begun to surface that most people know nothing about — the Holodomor — the forced starvation of millions of Ukrainian people in 1932-33 by the Soviets.
Another portion of history unknown to most, and which is mostly hidden, occurred in the late 1930s and early 1940s to the people of Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia. Millions, mostly the educated, the professionals and their families, were subjected to forced migration, starvation, forced labor under subhuman conditions, and extermination — again by the same Soviets. Word of these atrocities was suppressed under threats of repercussion and death by the Soviets, who ruled the countries afterward.
A beautifully written book by Ruta Sepetys, “Between Shades of Gray,” reveals the horror of that time. I wish everyone would read this book because we need to know and to learn from history, not hide from it. Similar inhumanities are common in many countries still today.
Immigration is Obama’s real target, not guns
Don Cooper’s Jan. 14 letter and his analogy of the gun debate to the slavery debate that led to the American Civil War was very good, but I think he missed the mark.
It is my opinion that the gun debate is instead what the president wants Americans to be preoccupied with so he can pass his immigration law that will effectually neutralize the vote of the natural-born and legally naturalized citizens.
When this is passed, we the people of the United States of America will have surrendered our country to foreign invaders without a fight!
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