Security cameras too intrusive, and they don’t prevent crime
I disagree with the April 28 article [“Street cameras help solve crimes”] and a May 5 editorial [“Security cams show their worth”] on the use of public cameras. When your readers see each of these cameras in Schenectady County, they should view them as a complete failure of our criminal justice system. This includes the police, district attorney’s office, courts and corrections.
There is no evidence that these cameras prevent any crime. They only assist after the crime has happened, and, in fact, provide a false sense of security by not having anyone watching the activity.
Why is our society allowing the small percentage of our society (the criminal element) to control what the rest of use are doing in public areas? The argument that if you don’t do anything wrong, you should not be concerned about the cameras is backward thinking.
What is next? Ankle bracelets for everyone and then check them when a crime is committed? But wait, that has already been done by requiring 911 GPS tracking in every cellphone.
Police chiefs, district attorneys, judges and corrections directors should be held accountable for their failures. The fear of the criminal justice system has been lost.
The ACLU [American Civil Liberties Union] and others should take a more proactive approach against these cameras as an undermining cancer in our society. This includes police dashboard cameras and plate readers that are collecting and storing photos and data on legal and law-abiding citizens. Other adjoining states have outlawed this practice.
The end does not justify the means, including the government spying on law-abiding citizens in public places.
Timothy M. Macfarlane
The writer is a retired Scotia police officer.
Don’t confuse personal views with organization’s
Roy Neville has written two letters to the editor [April 27 and Feb. 12] stating, in essence, that the mental health provisions of New York State’s SAFE Act will be beneficial to the mentally ill.
While Mr. Neville is entitled to his opinion, by identifying himself as co-president of NAMI (National Alliance on Mental Illness) Schenectady, he gives the impression that his opinion is that of NAMI. NAMI-NYS, however, has released a statement which reveals its concern about the mental health provisions of the SAFE Act.
The statement reads in part: “The passage of the NY SAFE (Secure Ammunition and Firearms Enforcement) Act presents many challenging issues for mental health advocates. Here is one underlying problem: the identification of mental illness with violent behavior. NAMI-NYS works tirelessly to erase the stigma of mental illness, and the inclusion of mental illness in a discussion about gun control only further stigmatizes people with psychiatric disorders.”
It further states, “... the NY SAFE Act ... also contains provisions related to mandated reporting by mental health professionals that may result in individuals being less likely to seek treatment.”
Daniel T. Weaver
Visually impaired don’t get enough credit, respect
Imagine this: You’re in a room with your friends or family, and you glance out of your window. Something strange is outside; you call whoever is in the room over to go see what is out there. After a long second of looking out the window, they state that whatever was so important isn’t there. To you, the strange thing is in plain sight, so you cry out: “Are you blind? It’s right there!”
We use that term, “blind,” so loosely in this society, we almost forget what it means. As opposed to not spotting an object right away, to be legally “blind” means to score 20/200 on a vision test (to put it simply, what you see clearly 20 feet away, the average person can see from 200 feet away). Of course, to be completely blind, you can’t see anything at all.
What I have noticed is that a lot of people don’t think the visually impaired (“blind”) can do much. When I was younger, people in elementary school would occasionally close their eyes, stick their arms straight out, and do the stereotypical slow, shuffling walk. “I’m blind,” they would say, while I walked away in disgust.
I truly am disgusted by everyone’s behavior. My mom is completely blind, but to me, I don’t think of her as that. Most of the time, the thought of her being sightless never crosses my mind. To me, she is an inspiration — she has a bachelor’s degree, a job, a cellphone computer (they talk), a fashion sense, many close friends, and she can navigate around the house, just as well as I can, not to mention she’s an awesome cook. Everyone (my dad, my brother, and I) at my house knows for sure that she is an independent person.
Of course, she isn’t treated that way in public.
If we go to the mall (we’re both shopaholics), a cashier will rudely give the receipt/credit card to me, even though my mom’s hand is out, about to put it in her purse. I then, before we leave the store, have to give the receipt/card right back to my mom.
Other times, I will be at the store with my mom, and she’ll ask one of the workers to help pick out something, for example, that matched a particular pair of jeans. The person will show the object to me, and ask if “she likes this.”
I understand that not many people know others like my mom, and what they’re able to do, but that is no reason to treat them like they’re mentally challenged. Over 40 percent of all the visually impaired people of working age (18 to 69) have a full-time job, yet so many people act like they can’t do anything.
So next time you see someone with a visual disability, remember this: They’re normal people, just like you.
Legalizing pot equals less crime, fewer jobs
Re May 1 Froma Harrop column, “Legalized marijuana is where the money is”: While the state may reap the benefits of legalized marijuana, one segment of government employees may see reduced income, and perhaps job losses — the criminal justice industry.
Not only will legalized marijuana reduce arrests for possession, courts will be handling fewer cases, fewer attorneys will be hired, and the black market marijuana will be limited to those unable to legally buy it. This reduction in income potential is what I believe drives criminal justice’s refusal to even entertain the idea of legalized pot.
Alcohol virtually drives the criminal justice industry. With alcohol being involved in so much of the crime that plagues society, the last thing they need is a replacement that reduces crime — potheads don’t commit many crimes, they’d rather “kick back” and watch it on TV!
This is poison to those who need crime to rationalize their jobs. That’s why alcohol is their drug of choice; it loosens inhibitions while it suppresses guilt. These are key ingredients in most crimes, and more crime equals more jobs for cops, et al., not to mention the “windfall” of DWI [driving while intoxicated] — cops, lawyers, courts, rehabs — everybody gets a piece of that!
Who would support legislation that might cause loss of jobs?
Too many pols are in it for the power and money
A May 11 AP article really shows the trouble this country is in. The article, “Who else might be wearing a wire, they wonder,” paints an extremely clear picture of the reason that today’s lawmakers run for public office.
One senator was quoted as saying: “It’s created a chilling effect on the ability to have meetings” and “colleagues are being very cautious about what they are saying” and “you almost don’t know who’s next.” You don’t have to be “very cautious” about what you are saying, if what you are saying is part of a legitimate and honest, above-board discussion, and there would be no “next” if there was no corruption taking place.
The author of the article says that some of lawmakers are considering whether staying in office is worth the risk. Just what is the risk if you are an honest office holder? The only risk is being caught at doing something dishonest!
Sen. Liz Krueger from Manhattan is quoted as saying” “Is it worth it and for how long?” If you are not in it just for the power and money, it should be worth it for the long run, but if the power and money are the reason for being in office then, hopefully, it will not be worth it and not for long.
There should be no need for anyone to wear a wire if business meetings are being held to discuss legitimate business instead of trying to figure out how to milk the system without being caught. This situation is centered around a group of politicians from Manhattan, but how many other groups are out there? I believe there are a lot more, not just in New York but across the country and in Washington D.C.
The attitude of those politicians quoted is about as scary as can be imagined.
The Gazette wants your opinions on public issues.
There is no strict word limit, though letters under 200 words are preferred.
All letters are subject to editing for length, style and fairness, and we will run no more than one letter per month from the same writer.
Please include your signature, address and day phone for verification.
For information on how to send, see bottom of this page.
For more letters, visit our Web site: www.dailygazette.com.