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Legal system has twisted priorities when it comes to pot, booze

Friday, April 5, 2013
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Legal system has twisted priorities when it comes to pot, booze

There were two stories in The Daily Gazette that suggest to me our local justice system still has its priorities out of whack concerning pot and DWI [driving while intoxicated].

A 20-year-old kid who was allegedly selling pot from his apartment is remanded on $10,000 bail to the Schenectady County Jail (March 25). The day before, a repeat felon drunk driver who allegedly fled the scene of a crash while drunk was released on his own recognizance in Gloversville (March 24).

The reporter covering the pot arrest story, Michael Goot, also reported that members of the Glenville Police Department and a Schenectady Police Department canine team assisted Scotia officers with the arrest.

Area law enforcement seems to be investing a lot of scant police resources to fight what is essentially a consensual crime while drunken drivers continue to receive a get-out-of-jail-free card with their reckless behavior.

In America, drunkrn driving accounted for 9,878 deaths in 2011, according to NHTSA (National Highway Traffic Safety Administration). The actual figure for DWI fatalities is much higher, since the NHTSA study failed to include any offending drivers with a BAC (blood alcohol content) lower than 0.08.

These habitual drunken drivers are random killers on the road. The fact that a repeat drunken driver is free to go back on to the streets with no bail requirements is appalling, yet not surprising. The 20-year-old who is accused of selling pot wasn’t selling to anyone without their approval or consent. What these two criminal cases reflect is the public decades-old, irrational fear of one drug (marijuana) which has never accounted for a single overdose death and a blind acceptance of a much more dangerous drug (alcohol).

These sentiments have been deeply engrained in the public consciousness with the ubiquitous, seductive ads for alcohol coupled with the misleading, scary public service announcements by the Partnership for a Drug-Free America.

Our society has made great strides in making drunken driving socially unacceptable while recently our elected leaders have slowly made progress with the passage of more sensible marijuana laws. The irony of these two tales of injustice should serve as a reminder that we still have a long way to go.

William Aiken

Schenectady

Cancellation of organic chem class still troubling

In regard to the March 18 article, “Class cancellation upsets students,” the issue at hand was barely covered.

As a former student of the organic chemistry class and part of the majority that wanted it to continue, I find it appalling that my parents and I have yet to receive a viable explanation for what has taken place in the last couple of months. So far, this has negatively affected me in more ways than one.

With a “P” [pass] on my transcript, the college I plan to attend was under the impression that I had simply dropped out of the class. It was not specified to them until later that I had no control over the class’s ancellation.

Secondly, my classmates and I have faced serious bullying by those who we are supposed to trust with running the school. Since this whole thing started back in January, I have been called down to the office more times than throughout my whole high school career. At this point, whenever the phone rings in class, I assume the worst, simply because that is all I have had to deal with throughout this situation.

I know I am not alone in feeling there is more to the cancellation of this class than meets the eye.

Carissa Baum

Delanson

Red-light cameras not as great as Gazette thinks

Re April 1 editorial, “Motorists move too fast, politicians too slow”: Red light cameras are great revenue generators for cities, especially if the lights are mistimed, giving a false infraction.

Often the camera systems are owned and operated by companies (not local government) who have an incentive to generate as much revenue as possible. Some studies have shown that the cameras result in more rear-end traffic accidents because motorists are likely to stop suddenly rather than chance a ticket. The camera captures the vehicle plate number, not necessarily the driver, resulting in a ticket for the vehicle owner, so remember who’s driving your car at all times.

More government surveillance, freedoms so easily ceded to the state. The strangest part of your editorial was the claim that red-light cameras “might have encouraged Anthony Gallo to stop his truck at the corner of Erie Boulevard and State Street.” Anthony Gallo [accused of striking and killing a pedestrian, then fleeing the scene] had no business being behind the wheel of that truck. He had a record of 10 suspensions.

After the accident he was charged with aggravated unlicensed operation of a motor vehicle, driving with ability impaired and passing a red light signal. Does this sound like a person who could be “encouraged” to stop at a red light because of a camera? Seriously?

Steven E. Brown

Pattersonville

Forget the locks, use armed guards at schools

I must comment on the April 1 article [“Officials: Intercoms, single entrances boost school security”] regarding Scotia-Glenville’s plan to increase security at the schools. They want to spend $50,000 to lock the doors and install an intercom, exactly what Sandy Hook had already done.

Then they want to spend up to another million dollars to create a double door system that will require the bad guy to shoot out two doors instead of one. How will that keep our children and staff safe?

Unfortunately, it is now time to have an armed security guard in each of our schools. To allocate our tax dollars for anything less will be a waste.

John Carpenter

Scotia

New York has too many takers, losing givers

I just read the March 25 article about the new minimum-wage increase and I cannot believe we, as taxpayers, are going to be paying for this increase by giving the employers most of the money.

New York state is the highest-taxed state in the country and one of the worst welfare states. Now we are going to give more money away. Why don’t we just turn our state government over to a socialist state and pay for everything? We have to stop giving working people’s money away.

As a retired person, I now see why many retired people are leaving this state, and I can see it getting worse. It will not be long before the only people living in New York will be on welfare or making high-six-figure salaries.

Robert Zurlo

Broadalbin

Headline on letter about Obama was misleading

The headline on Tim Gaffney’s March 31 letter, “Arafat didn’t belong on podium with Obama,” gave me the impression it was an article about Obama’s peace offering vs. Arafat’s past refusal of peace.

Upon reading the article, I found it to be very different. Mr. Gaffney spoke of Obama’s political and religious choices, by having a cross covered during his speech at Notre Dame but allowing Arafat’s picture to remain uncovered when he spoke at the West Bank. Mr. Gaffney finished the letter by saying: “This speaks volumes about Obama beliefs and values.”

The Gazette’s heading of the article was, at best, misleading. A better heading would have been, “Obama’s choices are questionable.”

Vince Alescio

Clifton Park

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comments

April 5, 2013
6:43 a.m.
muggy says...

John. I tend to agree with you regarding armed guards in the schools. However, in an attack, they would be the first to be taken out by the bad guys. I'd take it one step further. Let's allow those willing to go through the arduous training, psychological testing, and requirements, to arm themselves. By the way, James Holmes, the Aurora Colorado murderer had 7-cinemas to pick from. He selected the ONLY ONE that touted itself as a "gun free zone." Public pronouncements of disarmament is a provocation to those wanting to do harm. School shootings will happen again unless those working there are willing to defend themselves against such attacks. Let staff carry concealed, with proper training and background checks.

April 5, 2013
10:24 a.m.
justapto says...

Do you guys REALLY want teachers to have guns in school?? Perhaps arming all Postal workers would be logical. Just takes one wacko teacher, some recently laid off teacher, a teacher who goes over the edge to kill hundreds of kids.
This is nuts.
Install better doors, security system, metal detectors and a double entrance with a buzzer to open the second door.

April 5, 2013
5:36 p.m.
wmarincic says...

justapto, I have to say you are right and I change my stance on teachers with guns. After careful research I came to the conclusion that most public school teachers are liberals or democrats. I also after research concluded that every major killer of multiple people in schools and elsewher in the U.S. were either liberals or democrats. So in conclusion it is not guns that are the problem, it is lberals and democrats. Please feel free to check my facts.

April 5, 2013
7:33 p.m.
justapto says...

wmarinic; at least we are having some humor here. Not so much enjoyment for those who get shot. I was in the military and I also had a civilian job where I had to help people who were in major accidents and subjects of violence to include kids killed accidently by guns. One 10 year old kid killed a another kid with a 12 gauge that the father left in the closet. Another kid got killed when his friend was playing with a hand gun found in a bedroom.
Too many guns, too easy for morons to get them, not enough control and education and no checking the IQ of purchases. Add in the kids in gangs and drug dealers.
The rest of us are victims.

April 5, 2013
8:05 p.m.
muggy says...

Well. We always could do what you're doing. Place our index fingers in our ears, and yell constantly, "blah, blah, blah. I can't hear you!" All the doors, security systems, and buzzers will not/do not/have not worked. I ask you to do the following test. Seriously. Go to any school back/side/front locked door. Dress nicely, be clean shaven, and smile friendly and wave at the first person that walks by. I guarantee you, GUARANTEE, they will open the door for you. Kids/staff in schools are sheep. They never think about the wolves waiting to attack. I implore you to read this great essay/speech: http://www.killology.com/sheep_dog.htm

April 5, 2013
11:25 p.m.
mrobarge says...

That's funny, Muggy, I was an education reporter for the better part of 20 years and I NEVER just had the door opened for me at ANY school unless they knew specifically who I was. I'll bet whichever school you are referring to would love for you to tell them the details of your story because from my experience, they are literally paranoid when it comes to security.

April 6, 2013
8:49 p.m.
Root_Beer says...

Mrobarge, you must just look bad, I service machinery and get let into schools all the time, the only problem I ever had getting in was when school was out of session and I was wearing a T shirt advertising beer. They made me go put my long sleeve work shirt on in August because it said beer on my T, no students in the building though. Oh and I bring a big ole bag of tools in that an M1A1 tank would fit in and it has never been searched on the way IN, only out!

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