Gloversville tree vandals should face harsh penalty
Re June 14 article, "Police: Teen cut down trees at school": Our Gloversville High School class of 1958 planted one of the recently destroyed trees in 2008 as a 50th reunion gift in honor of our deceased classmates.
We dedicated it at a special memorial ceremony in 2008 and revisited our tree last summer during our 55th reunion.
I haven't felt sick, sad and sorry like this since Newtown, Conn. And I don't think I am overreacting. This act defies understanding. In my mind those two vandals attacked all past, present, and future residents of Gloversville -- every one of us.
Those weren't just any trees. They honored our friends and family who are no longer here. They enriched our present lives giving us pleasure not only while viewing them but also knowing there were there as we went about our daily lives.
Furthermore, they were our gift to the future. Planting those trees was our attempt to leave the world a little better than we found it for future generations to enjoy. How dare they destroy such precious and important treasures.
At the very least, those vandals should not attend graduation. If they have been accepted by colleges, those colleges should be notified. The colleges may revoke their acceptances. Stump removal is expensive. They and their parents should pay to remove all 17 stumps. Of course, they should also pay to replace the 17 trees. Sadly, the replacements will take years to achieve the beauty of the trees they cut down. An estimate of the value of the destroyed trees should be obtained.
The vandals and their families should pay that sum to the school district in addition to replacing the trees. The insult to the community warrants this fine. The judge may also require additional sanctions as well.
Those weren't just any trees. They represented our memories, present enjoyment and gift to the future. Any senior in high school who could classify this disgusting act as a "prank" has a serious gap in his moral upbringing. His parents are responsible for the values they didn't teach him. The vandals and their parents need serious, well-publicized consequences to make a statement regarding this wanton act.
A slap on the wrist is absolutely not appropriate in this case. Serious consequences may also act as a deterrent to future misguided and malicious vandals contemplating a similar "prank."
Dedicated caregivers at VA are news, too
As a retired Veteran Administration health care professional, I am deeply troubled by the recent claims of negligence and disregard for our veterans made newsworthy at the Phoenix VA. Such news is difficult to hear despite apparent facts to support it.
For 30-plus years, I had the distinct privilege of offering my nursing expertise and my own humanity to the greatest group of clients in the world -- these soldiers of numerous wars, the enlisted and drafted, the Marines, Navy, Army, Air Force and Coast Guard veterans who served their county with honor, courage and devotion. The staff caring for them, like myself, did so with their best interests at heart. I witnessed integrity and thoroughness to their care.
I am sure that the majority of health care professionals across the country who are dedicated to serving our veterans have a similar loyalty and high standard.
I would like to consider all the capable staff and frontline caregivers to be newsworthy as well.
The writer is a retired nurse practitioner.
Cheney last person we should listen to
Former Vice President Dick Cheney counsels a strong military intervention in Iraq to prevent ISIS from taking over Baghdad.
Having read this advice from Cheney, I think a good guiding light for American foreign policy is to find out what Dick Cheney wants us to do and then do the exact opposite. That would be a good start.
Cheney was a chief architect of G.W. Bush's Iraq war, which was started on false pretenses, paid for with borrowed money, pursued with inadequate resources and left for President Obama to clean up and extricate us from the quagmire.
That war emboldened Iran and destabilized the region, a result we are all too aware of these days as we read the accounts of Iraq cities falling like dominos to extremists.
I trust President Obama to act carefully in this crisis to protect American interests. Obama said recently, "We don't do stupid stuff" -- only the president didn't use the word "stuff." President Bush and Vice President Cheney would have done well to follow that credo.
The last thing we Americans need today is advice from Dick Cheney and his war mongering neo-con friends.
Let’s not wait to get attacked by enemies
Re Sara Foss' June 15 column, "U.S. must not repeat mistakes in Iraq": Sara makes many good points, but also misses some.
Let us not forget WWI and WWII and how they started. The way things are going in the world today, there is a distinct possibility that the next global conflict will be with the militant extremists and anyone that sides with them.
Are we to wait until these animals get enough power and possibly atomic weapons and force us to defend and fight on our own soil, or do we do something about it?
To quote a line from a Clint Eastwood film, "Unforgiven:" "Any man don't wanna get killed ... better clear on out the back."
Let's not wait until it's too late.
Joseph A. Lochner
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