Keep mass murderers from machine guns
Like a lot of folks, I learned how to use firearms while learning to hunt as a 14-year-old.
One thing you learned quickly was if you missed your prey with the first shot, your chances of success on the second shot were greatly reduced. Why we need to offer 15-shot AR-15’s to the sporting public is beyond my imagination. True hunters use rifles or shotguns, with a maximum of six shots, which cannot be reloaded rapidly. The AR-15’s clips can be reloaded with 15 more shots in the blink of an eye. That’s how the killers can kill so many people at once. I can’t think of a peaceful purpose these weapons serve.
I realize the problem lies with the individual, but we don’t need these weapons available to the public at large where they can be used in horrendous attacks like Newton, San Bernardino and Orlando. Make them available at shooting ranges so people who wish to use them for target practice can do so. Let’s end the era of mass murders on our soil.
Not right to question women in mayor case
Re June 10 letter “Maybe mayor was justified in pursuit”: Marion Foster, are you kidding us? “What was that woman doing at that hour of the morning?” I suppose you would also be the person to set a rapist free because: “What was that woman doing dressed like that?”
We don’t have much evidence to go by, since nothing has been released. So let’s go by the mayor’s own account.
He states (depending upon which day you talk to him) that he suspected these women were stealing garbage, stealing a car, or doing drugs. He gives no basis for these accusations. Being in a car at 1 o'clock in the morning does not make one guilty of a crime.
By the mayor’s own admission, he then began to follow these women in his car. That’s called stalking. He also flashed his high beams at them — an act of aggression that constitutes road rage. Finally, he blocked their vehicle in with his own at the police station. This is unlawful imprisonment.
If the mayor genuinely believed a crime was being committed, he should have called the police. If his phone truly “wouldn’t work” (Uh, yeah, OK.), I’m sure he could have found another to use, or barring that, jotted down a license plate number and driven to the police station via a different route.
Since no Breathalyzer or other sobriety test was ever performed, we can’t know if the mayor was intoxicated, as the women believes he may have been. However, by his own account of the events, he is guilty of stalking, road rage and unlawful imprisonment. Imagine being these two women, being followed on a dark street by a man with unknown intentions, repeatedly flashing his brights at them and then blocking them in.
What if it had been you, Marion Foster? Would Mayor McCarthy be justified in following you through dark city streets because he merely believed you were up to no good? Maybe the women were simply coming home from work or even just on a late night out.
By your logic, shouldn’t we question why the mayor was outside at that time of night? Obviously, he had every right to be. That’s kind of the point, though. The women had every right to be on the road at 1 in the morning. The mayor had no right to subject them to a campaign of terror.
Make sure Muslims understand U.S. law
From 2001 to 2013, 1.5 million Muslims were permanently settled in the United States and there are more on the way. The vast majority view Sharia law as official law.
In the United States, religion, law and culture are separate; to Muslims arriving from the Middle East, it is all one. Immigrants need to know the differences and need to understand it before arriving on U.S. soil.
Freedom of religion is an individual right in the United States. You cannot force your religious beliefs on anyone else, be it your spouse, child or neighbor. It is a matter of law that you cannot assault another; you cannot beat your wife and children; you cannot grope or rape an unescorted woman on the street, regardless of how she is dressed; you cannot murder those who don’t view religious teachings the way you do. Period.
You are free to dress, however, you want (except you must show your face for a driver license photo). However, you cannot make someone else dress as you want them to. Under U.S. law, women have rights independent of their parents or spouse and those rights are equal to a man. You can have your Sharia law and cultural customs except where it conflicts with U.S. law; you can settle disputes, make contracts, etc. under the tenets of Sharia law if all parties voluntarily participate — as long as it does not conflict with U.S. law.
The United States should be making these points clear to prospective immigrants from the Middle East and ensure that they accept these basics of American life before they come here. It will save us all a lot of grief.
Be fair comparing tax rates in communities
I’ve always been puzzled over the focus on property tax rates rather than property taxes. Schenectady’s property tax rate of $46.20 per $1,000 of home value sounds outrageously high until you realize that it’s offset by low assessed values since property taxes are the tax rate multiplied by the assessed value.
The property taxes for the median house in Schenectady are $116,700 times $46.20 for a total of $5,392. Niskayuna, with the lower tax rate of $33.51, is balanced by high assessed values, so that the median house in Niskayuna of $247,400 has a tax bill of $8,290.
Let’s take the hypothetical case of two potential home buyers, Nancy and Sally. They each have $1,700 per month to spend on a mortgage and property taxes. Nancy finds her dream home in Niskayuna, which happens to be the median price of $247,400. She puts down a 10 percent down-payment and finds a 30-year mortgage at 3.5 percent. Nancy’s monthly payment is $1,000 for the mortgage and $691 for taxes for a total of $1,691.
Sally, whose middle name is Tightwad, thinks it’s silly to spend all of her money on a house and finds a great deal in Schenectady, a median-priced home for $116,700. She puts down a 10 percent down-payment and gets the same 30-year mortgage rate as Nancy. Sally’s monthly payment is $472 for the mortgage and $449 for taxes for a total of $921.
Already, it sounds like Sally has a better deal than Nancy — she’s paying $921 for a house every month vs. Nancy’s $1,691. But now Sally has an extra $779 per month that she can invest. Sally lives through low interest rates and a few stock market crashes, so she only earns a 3 percent return on her investments. But over 30 years, that $779 per month turns into more than $450,000 (plus a house). And Nancy, well, she has a house.
GOP will rue the day it didn’t forfeit race
Let’s take a look at politics five months from now. Hillary Clinton makes history by becoming the first woman president of the United States.
She shellacs Donald Trump, who one day after the election is indicted on numerous tax evasion charges and complains bitterly that the GOP abandoned him just because he hates anyone who thinks he’s a fraud. Mrs. Clinton carries 46 states, receiving overwhelming support from every demographic group except racists, fascists, misogynists, I-want-everything-for-free millennials, climate deniers, paranoid National Rifle Association supporters and unscrupulous businessmen.
Mr. Trump invites the Clintons to vacation at one of his exclusive resorts if she will appoint him HUD secretary. She quickly rejects the idea. Instead, she nominates Sen. Elizabeth Warren to lead the Treasury Department and Sen. Bernie Sanders for the Securities and Exchange Commission, or was it the Office of the Aging.
The Democrats take the Senate and the House, sending Speaker Paul Ryan over to former Speaker John Boehner’s house for a week long cry while Rep. Nancy Pelosi graciously sends over towels to help out her old friends.
Had the GOP listened to my call three months ago to forfeit the election, they could have avoided all this embarrassment and heartache.