Americans should learn from Snowden about ‘surveillance society’
Put a frog in a pot of cold water on a hot stove and as the water warms, the frog quietly accepts its dying fate. Is this an accurate picture of Americans today?
The world is dangerous, but do our security measures magnify the problem? Iran and Afghanistan are wars to nowhere. Civilian deaths that inflame hatred toward America in foreign lands do little to dampen Obama’s affection for drone attacks.
Government officials routinely lie and exaggerate dangers to cover ill-considered decisions. The success of old-fashioned police work successfully stopping terror plots is down layed to give luster to the expansion of Orwellian surveillance on all citizens.
Edward Snowden, Bradley Manning and Julian Assange have dark sides, like the rest of us, but their actions put us frogs on alert to the kind of surveillance society we live in and the kinds of failed policies government labels success stories.
No government should be safe from leaks — and no society is safe without them. Let the discussion begin!
John A. Ekman
For safety, bicyclists need to stay out of the road
There seems to be a lot of letters vilifying car drivers for making the cyclists life more dangerous. A July 6 letter I just read uses the word “peril.” It also seems to me that every time there’s a car/bike tragedy, the car driver is automatically to blame.
When’s the last time these cyclists thought about the danger they put themselves in? Just a month or so ago a friend of mine was driving around a blind curve. All of a sudden, we see several cyclists in the middle of the road. This road is a state road, 55 miles an hour. Thankfully she braked in time.
But what if she couldn’t have? Do we stay on the road and hit the cyclists? Swerve into the other lane and head-on another car? Steer ourselves off the road and into a ditch?
I’ve seen dozens and dozens of cyclists cruising down the middle of the road. Even roads with extremely wide shoulders. Why aren’t they on the shoulder? Isn’t there a minimum speed limit on roads with the state maximum?
I know they’re breaking no laws, but I also know they’re supposed to follow all laws and they don’t. How about having them registered, inspected and insured so when there is an accident everybody’s covered?
Plus, who uses all these bike trails that our tax dollars spend millions on? Only kids, as far as I can tell.
And usually lesson one for kids riding bikes is to stay out of the road.
Time to bring back Scotia’s emergency fire whistle
Years ago, the whistle at the Scotia firehouse on Mohawk Avenue would blow religiously at noon. Growing up in the village, I, like many, knew that the blasts of the whistle would also indicate where a fire was reported.
My dad was a volunteer fireman in Scotia for 25 years, and we were very aware of the assigned codes for different fire boxes in the village. They were on a little card, so we would know where the emergency was. No matter where we were, we would count the eerie sound of the whistle to know where the firemen were headed.
One day it stopped, and I asked about it and was told that a part needed to be replaced and that it was too expensive to repair. That was many years ago. Now we’re seeing other emergencies in our communities. Lately we’ve had flooding from the banks of the Mohawk and we’ve also had tornado warnings. Wouldn’t it be worth looking into replacing this device so that we could warn the people of an impending disaster?
I think I’d rest easier knowing that there was a plan in place to alert us if something major were about to hit our community. Most of these things hit during the night when we’re sleeping and this could avert potential loss of life. It would also be nice for the nostalgic of Scotia to hear it once more!
Gazette circulation gain good news for readers
I have been a Gazette reader and subscriber my entire life. I read it cover to cover every day. So of course I noticed your May 17 chart about your increased readership during the last year.
Congratulations! I know what an amazing and important accomplishment this is, considering the hardships your industry is facing. Just two hours west of us in Syracuse, their primary daily newspaper, the Post-Standard, is only being delivered to subscribers three days a week. This has been a difficult adjustment and unfortunate loss for Central New Yorkers who relied on the daily newspaper in the ways I rely on the Gazette.
I hope the news that your readership continues to grow means we can depend on the Gazette for many years to come. Keep up the good work!
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