Better mental health intervention needed, not tougher gun laws
In the Sept. 17 Daily Gazette, I read with interest the article headlined, “Obama laments another mass shooting as gun debate stalls.” This incident, as with all others concerning the illegal use of firearms causing death or injury, is a tragedy of epic proportions.
As an owner of firearms, I cannot, for the life of me, put myself in a place where I would be provoked to commit such an act. Thankfully, the vast majority of firearm owners feel the same. It is inane how those who push for more regulation of firearms believe that will prevent these acts from happening.
How inane? There is a trial going on where a woman beat her grandson to death with a back scratcher [Sept. 17 Gazette]. At first awareness of this event, my heart sank for the boy, then for the woman. What place did she go in her heart that whispered to her that she was giving justifiable punishment?
So a young man was beaten to death with a back scratcher. What we need to do is restrict the use of back scratchers to adults only. That any who wanted to possess a back scratcher would have to be licensed, successfully complete a state-mandated course in the safe use of a back scratcher, [get] four character references and send in certified forms sharing why they feel the person desiring a back scratcher deserves it; write a letter to the judge explaining why a back scratcher is desired, then be interviewed by the judge, face to face, who will then yea or nay to possession of a back scratcher.
Nothing in the SAFE Act would have prevented Sandy Hook. I have a partial solution. It would seem that most, if not all, of those who commit violent acts with firearms are a wee bit off course mentally. They require professional intervention of either, or both, therapy and drug intervention.
The state used to have institutions where people who needed monitoring to regularly take their medications, or were in need of supervision, were housed. These institutions are now closed, and these people are now on the street. So there are a lot of potential loose cannons out there, who, if a firearm were acquired, could do horrible things.
So instead of punishing law-biding citizens with inane laws, the state should take up its responsibility and house those who have difficulties living a healthy, productive life. That would do more to prevent tragedies with firearms than passing laws that give an appearance of doing something but in truth does nothing but whittle away at the Constitution.
Crackdown needed on dog fighters, not dogs
Re Sept. 17 letter, “Outlaw pit bulls to end their abuse, exploitation”: Pit bulls used to be a popular family dog until years ago, when dog fighters started using them. If we outlaw pit bulls, they’ll be replaced by German shepherds or some other breed.
The answer is not to outlaw any of them. Dog fighting is illegal — call the cops when you see or hear of anything.
And by the way, the Humane Society of the United States offers a $5,000 reward for information leading to the arrest of a dog fighter. You get hold of them and they’ll either contact, or have you contact, the police. By law, they have to investigate.
The state police have always been more than helpful in this area. I think cities like Schenectady have a pretty low arrest record with dog fighters despite having the reputation of being in the top three within 100 miles — Troy and Albany being the other two.
The Humane Society also offers a reward of up to $5,000 for information leading to the conviction of anyone involved in dog fighting or cock fighting.
If you have information about illegal animal fighting in your area, you can call the Humane Society’s animal fighting tip line at 877-TIP-HSUS [orwww.humanesociety.org/issues/campaigns/cruelty_fighting/hsus_rewards_animal_fighting.html] and your information will be kept confidential.
Poison from old Ballston Lake dumps may lurk
Remember the open dumps? Yes, dumps in the plural!
In the 1950s, I remember at least three open dump areas alongside Ballston Lake. There were at least two near the current public parking area on Outlet Road. Another was on Lake Road. Dad would take us there as kids to watch the bears digging through the garbage. No one supervised the dumping.
I remember everything from residential waste to 55-gallon barrels, car parts, old appliances, paint cans and more.
Phosphorus? Watch out, residents, because there may be more hidden poisons nearby!
Use wouldn’t justify cost of mountain bike trail
I strongly urge you not to support the fanatic bicycle organization Rails to Trails’ plan to rip out tracks in the corridor between Big Moose and Lake Placid [Sept. 17 editorial].
I highly doubt a significant number of people will ride into the wilderness for 12 or more miles. They do not plan on paving it, so it will be gravel, and only fit mountain bikers will make the long ride.
There can be no established facilities along the route for food, shelter or human waste. If the travel corridor is opened up for bicycle travel, perhaps the rails should remain. This can be accomplished by putting a trail alongside the tracks where possible; where not enough room exists, fill in between the rails with rock dust or similar material. This can be brought in by rail car where needed.
There is a prime example of this exact situation in Laconia, N.H. http://www.bikekinetix.com/t_nh/nh_rail/wolfeboro_sanbornville_rt.php. Another good example is in York, Pa.
It is not reasonable and prudent to rip up the historic track and replace it with a bicycle trail that will get limited use, except in specific areas with scenic attraction. In addition, if a large number of bikers were to penetrate the travel corridor 10 miles or more, and if a few needed any type of assistance it would be very hard to obtain or even reach an emergency dispatch center. Imagine a heart attack or broken leg 10 miles or more into the wilderness, no cellphone reception, no EMT nearby, perhaps a damaged bicycle left to clutter the corridor.
Maintenance could be another problem: Who will pay for and supervise the cutting of brush and removal of waste and litter?
At current values, the steel for a 30-mile stretch is worth about $3 million. The cost to replace the railroad with a bike trail would very conservatively be $6 million.
This is another elitist project not serving the largest number of citizens.
Separate banks’ risky units from safe ones
General Motors has announced it will separate its banking unit from its industrial division into two different stocks. The little-noticed banking unit almost bankrupted the company during the 2008 financial meltdown. It has since recovered but with help from Washington (the taxpayer).
We would hope the major banks, those too big to fail, would do the same. The public would benefit greatly. The merchant banking division could go on making risky investments but would not jeopardize the savings of everyday depositors.
In turn, such new banks, operating like hedge funds, would not be insured by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation [FDIC]. In turn, the FDIC rates for everyday banks would go down — rates which depositors indirectly pay.
Such splitting of ordinary banks from the pirate versions could return us to the previous safety of the 1930s’ Glass–Steagall Act (wherein banks could not gamble with ordinary deposits), which was unwisely repealed during the Clinton administration.
Its loss contributed greatly to the 2008 financial crisis and loss of some banks.
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