Letters to the Editor for Feb. 18

Monday, February 18, 2013
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Societal fixation with cellphones can be harmful to one’s health

Is it just me, or is cell phone/smart phone use getting a little out of hand?

People everywhere have phone in hand, texting or talking away. They make sure these phones never leave their hands.

In the grocery store the other day, I was second in line at the register while a young woman was texting away, not paying attention to the cashier. Her items were all rung up, and the cashier was waiting for the woman to pay, so the people in line could proceed.

I spoke up and said, “maybe you could put that down and pay your bill,” and asked her if she knew how rude it was to be doing that. Of course she did not like that; and her husband didn’t either, I think. If I was not as big as I am, there may have been trouble.

Of course, I do not care what they thought of me, and when I turned around and looked at the other people in line, they had a look that they agreed with what I’d said. Even the cashier at the register agreed after the people had left.

I had another instance where I was in traffic approaching a red light and it suddenly turned green. I was only doing about 5 mph, and was keeping my eye on this girl walking down the sidewalk, approaching the crosswalk. She was texting away, not even looking where she was going, and she walked right out in front of my pick-up. I stomped on the brakes, barely missing her, and she proceeded to still cross right in front of me. I said something to her, and she just gave me a dirty look. And, yes, I do know in New York state that pedestrians have the right of way in a crosswalk, but she should have at least been paying attention.

It happens with kids riding bikes also. I’ve encountered some who are texting while riding — one hand on the handlebars, one on the phone. Not long ago, this kid swerved right out in my driving lane doing it. If I had been distracted, I would have hit him.

It’s the same at stores, people on their phones chatting away at the register. If they only were taught some manners, they would know it is a very rude thing to do.

Wait until you go back outside to use the damn phone; we don’t want to hear your conversation.

I honestly think that some people think they are “cool” to be constantly on their phones. It is not cool, trust me. Hang up!

Jeff Jones


Drone war nowhere near as heroic as battlefield

Re Feb. 14 AP article, “Pentagon creates new medal for troops involved in drone wars”: The outgoing defense secretary, Leon Panetta, just announced a new medal that will be awarded to drone operators and other cyber warfare operators that will be given a higher value than the Bronze Star medal.

This award will not require that the recipient put his or her life in physical danger or require other courageous acts. It will be called the Distinguished Warfare Medal.

To list this award above the Bronze Star is ludicrous and even obscene to the many recipients of the Bronze Star. If we are to go along with this logic, it will be just as reasonable to give a Purple Heart to these armchair warriors for any paper cuts or tunnel carpel syndrome they endure while moving their joy sticks during their drone operations.

While the drones have certainly proven effective in combat and I don’t begrudge awarding the best and most dedicated operators a medal, let’s keep some perspective here and position this medal below the Bronze Star — in fairness to the many servicemen who risked their life and limb and [may] never [have] received a Bronze Star for their actions.

Of course, a civilian whose “battles” are all in the office may have a hard time understanding this concept of fairness to our combat brothers and sisters who performed and suffered on the battlefield!

Stephen Anderson


McCarthy shouldn’t harass assessor to abandon dad

Re Feb. 13 article, “Assessor likely to lose residency fight”: I’m not excited with [Assessor] Tina Dimitriadis. Nor am I really upset. I did get a judgment on my taxes. I was unhappy it wasn’t what I wanted, but it was better than what I had. That doesn’t mean I can’t defend her when I see something I think is an injustice.

My mother-in-law lives with my wife and me. We understand Ms. Dimitriadis’ situation, and it’s not an easy one. However, having your job put on the line for being a caregiver is verging on discrimination.

I also understand Mayor Gary McCarthy’s desire to have his employees live in the city they affect and work in. Both are admirable stands.

But family always takes precedence (or at least it should). Why not a compromise? We need more give and compassion in these times. Let Ms. Dimitraidis be, as long as she’s doing an adequate job for the city, until her father is in assisted living or is no longer with her. Then give her one year to comply. How hard is that?

Like Ms. Dimitraidis or not, it’s only fair and just.

David M. Schoch


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February 18, 2013
9:04 a.m.
wmarincic says...

I have a job that is crucial to the bottom line of a local small business. When my wife was diagnosed with stage 4 cancer last March, my employer was right there telling me to take whatever time I needed and they would work with me, they even offered to hire someone temporarily while I dealt with my wifes cancer without me missing a single paycheck or bonus. My wife passed away in October after only 7 months but I will forever be thankful for such great employers. Unless you are the primary caregiver of a termiinal person you have no idea what it entails.

February 18, 2013
4:22 p.m.
Santino says...

@wmarincic, sorry about the loss of your wife. Nice to hear someone who has an employer that actually cares.

February 18, 2013
9:19 p.m.
Newsworthy says...

wmarincic, I am sincerely sorry to hear of your loss. A loving partner in life is a treasure that can never be forgotten.

February 18, 2013
9:26 p.m.
Newsworthy says...

Jeff, I totally agree. I have had to deal with customers who won't stop talking to complete a transaction and it is frustrating, rude and disrespectful. It seems people can't refrain from answering a phone or asking a caller to wait, or call back; that call is more important than whatever current situation they are experiencing. Trust me, from the cash register side, it's hard to resist the temptation to grab the phone from their hands and throw it on the floor!

February 18, 2013
10:26 p.m.
wmarincic says...

Thank you Santino and Newsworthy.

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