Simple rules plus common sense make for safer bike trail
Several recent letters have addressed use of the Mohawk-Hudson Bike-Hike Trail after a letter writer complained about an encounter with a rude cyclist [Sept. 21].
The bike-hike trail, which stretches for nearly 40 miles from downtown Albany to Rotterdam Junction, is a wonderful local resource meant to be shared by many different types of users. For everyone’s enjoyment and safety, we all — not just cyclists, but also walkers, runners and in-line skaters — need to be careful and courteous.
The Friends of the Mohawk-Hudson Bike-Hike Trail suggests trail users:
u Stay to the right. When walking, running or cycling with a group, or in-line skating, be sure to leave room for other trail users. If you stop to visit with other trail users or to watch wildlife, make sure you’re not blocking the trail.
u Pass on the left. Use a bell, whistle or your voice to alert others to your approach.
u Keep dogs on a leash and under control. Dogs should never be allowed to run loose. Long leashes should not be allowed to stretch across the trail.
u Cyclists should travel at a safe speed, particularly when the trail is crowded.
u All trail users need to be aware of their surroundings (not wear headphones).
If we all use common sense and courtesy on the trail, everyone can safely enjoy this wonderful recreational and transportation resource.
The writer are members of the Friends of the Mohawk-Hudson Bike-Hike Trail.
Food stamp cartoon unfair to tea partiers
The Sept. 25 editorial cartoon depicted two sinister-looking creatures, labeled “Tea Party Goons,” attacking a ragged-looking lady and her small children [living in a shack], attempting to take the lady’s food stamps.
This tasteless cartoon reminded me of Nazi propaganda minister Josef Goebbels demonizing Jews by publishing caricatures of them as vampires or rats.
The tea party’s main focus has been to point out that America is heading over the fiscal cliff. Our federal (accumulated) budget deficit, less than $5 trillion before George W. Bush became president, will be around $17 trillion by the end of 2013.
Prior to Barack Obama taking office, 28 million Americans were on food stamps. Today, approximately 46.5 million Americans receive them. Investigations — some of which were published by the mainstream media — have uncovered that some recipients use them at liquor stores, strip clubs and casinos.
Our liberal politicians tell us taxes need to be raised. Yet the federal government will take in a record $2.7 trillion in taxes in the fiscal year that is about to end.
The economy is stagnant at best. Unemployment has not been below 7 percent since Barack Obama became president. The new jobs being created are in many instances part-time jobs. Many people are working two and even three jobs just to make ends meet. The only sector of the economy doing well is the stock market, and most economists credit the Federal Reserve’s quantitative easing policy (which is keeping interest rates low, thereby, making the stock market a more attractive investment than interest-bearing securities and investments).
The tea party is calling for fiscally sane measures — including tax, spending and regulatory constraints which will create conditions for the economy to grow, resulting in a better life for all Americans.
Timothy J. Gaffney Sr.
Mental health cuts have left society vulnerable
The latest mass shooting at the Washington Naval Yard holds several familiar lessons that we continue to ignore. The gunman in this case used a shotgun for his mayhem. No one has proposed banning shotguns, the preferred choice of most duck and geese hunters.
[Aside from] common sense background checks for those who want to purchases firearms, it is unrealistic and probably undesirable to ban firearms in this country.
In almost all of the recent mass shootings, one common element was the presence of an emotionally disturbed shooter. Many of these individuals sought help prior to the shootings, including the navy yard shooter, and most, due to the lack of availability, did not receive it.
Many states have spent the last decade cutting funding for community mental health services. As a society, we have paid dearly for that shortsightedness. Many of these shooting could have been prevented and many lives saved if there was reasonable access to mental health services.
Also avoidable would be many suicides, as well as incidents of workplace and domestic violence, all of which are on the rise.
Funding for community mental health services is an investment, not only in the reduction of social violence but also in helping to create and maintain the overall well being and productivity of our communities and the individuals in them.
The writer is a licensed clinical social worker and executive director of The Charlton School.
Enforce all laws, not just the major ones
Many ask why things are so bad today. Why is it that people are killing each other and even their own kids and relatives? What is going on with people that they are getting more evil?
One reason is the lack of attacking “the little foxes.” What is this term, “little foxes?” It is a biblical term for those “small” things that attack good ideas and life. If, for example, police would do their job and give out more parking tickets to those who leave their cars on the wrong side of the road during “off hours” (signs are clear, no parking this side Monday, Wednesday, Friday, etc.), stop people from jaywalking, making too much noise with loud stereos, and such violations, more people would bring themselves to good and not evil. More people would think right and do right.
It is commonly thought that not doing this is being “nice,” but this is absolutely not true. “If you do not correct your kids, you hate them.” This is another biblical truth totally ignored today. Since we do not tell police to do their job, we actually hate those who are supposed to be “protected and served.” Those now who commit the evil deeds are given “freedom,” but what about the others they infect with their miserable ways?
In order to have a good and decent society, the “little” laws need enforcement so these same lawbreakers have some respect for others.
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