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As usual, media’s anti-gun arguments failed to hold water

Sunday, September 29, 2013
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As usual, media’s anti-gun arguments failed to hold water

Recent editions of the Gazette contained opinion pieces separately alleging that inadequate gun control laws are responsible for the mass killings in Nairobi, murders in the United States, and the Washington Navy Yard tragedy.

The Gazette chose to publish only one short letter, “Which came first, guns or the massacre?[Sept. 24]”, which had any semblance of a response. Again, with respect to firearms, the Gazette continues to be a Johnny One-note.

The first [guest] editorial on Sept. 23, “What’s behind all the U.S. shootings,” [republished from a Dubai newspaper] challenged the “American conscience” to deal with gun violence. The writer ignored the absolute failure it documented in the security, law enforcement and mental health establishments to bring this man’s obvious problems to the appropriate persons’ attention.

As with the Fort Hood, Sandy Hook, Colorado and Washington Navy Yard shootings, many people saw, documented, commented upon, then ignored obvious signs of dangerous instability or evil intent. There is no danger of a penalty, no recriminations, apparently no criticisms associated with ignoring an approaching train wreck.

On Sept. 24, “Lessons from the Land of guns,” republished from the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, also noted the abject failure of the security establishment. It then admitted that “it is difficult to see whether better gun laws could have averted this tragedy.” The writer, however, then curiously concluded that the blame for the event falls on “lawmakers too spineless to balance the right to bear arms with the need to be secure.”

As [in the past], the liberal media’s response is to advocate the infringement of a constitutional right in the irrational hope that the same salve will abate the bloodshed.

Finally, on Sept. 24 [columnist] Richard Cohen channeled his “Grandpa” and the pinochle-playing “Founding Fathers.” He used this rare insight to assure us that the Founders left thousands of pages of written material on the Constitution to deceive us, and that their true intent was to facilitate a totalitarian state.

Then, the Founders suggested that the media launch a libelous attack on the National Rifle Association’s Wayne LaPierre. From my perspective, this attack has been under way for a decade.

This insult followed an attempt to make equivalent the al-Qaida attack in Nairobi, the gang violence in Chicago (which continues from the Roaring ‘20s) and the possession of firearms by law-abiding citizens and their advocate, the NRA.

Mr. Cohen’s delusional Grandpa equated as murderers the Taliban and NRA, but forgot that his generation, stripped of firearms, was herded into camps by their own government, and several million were exterminated.

All of these writers considering the interaction of individual rights and public safety fail to address the salient issue in this debate. There is a very similar conflict between the privacy of mental health records and personal security. The common thread between Columbine, Colorado, Sandy Hook, Fort Hood, Boston, and now the Washington Navy Yard murders is that obviously dangerous or disturbed (or both) people were ignored or tolerated until their behavior resulted in death.

All this leaves me channeling the bumper stickers on my namesake’s 1963 Chevrolet: “Guns don’t kill people, people kill people,” and the classic, “If guns are outlawed, only outlaws will have guns.”

Art Henningson

Rotterdam

Talkers must move off, not block, bike path

I have read with interest the Sept. 21 letter from Gina Robinson. She described a problem she encountered on the bike path running through our town.

The bike path is a multi-use path that is available for walkers, joggers, roller bladers and bicycle users. Since users are traveling at various speeds, everyone has to be mindful of the other users and display courtesy to those using the path.

That being said, I am a cycler who uses the path. Reading the letter, it sounds to me that the participants and the dogs spread themselves over the width of the path, which created a dangerous situation for others traversing the path in that location, as well as for the writer.

What should have happened is that the group should have moved off the path once they began their discussion. The path is not to be used for stopping to engage in conversation.

My experience on the path is that everyone using the path is careful, because bicycles can be moving at speeds of 15 mph or more. Walkers keep to the right and cyclists announce their approach on the left.

I have never witnessed a group standing stationary on the path, engaging in conversation. It is not an option for the people riding on the path to leave the path and go on the grass at path speeds. Someone very close to me did that one time and ended up breaking a rib and tearing her rotator cuff.

So, everyone should be aware when on the bike path and not do anything that might risk injury to others on the path. Anyone stopping for any reason should move off the path.

Richard Weiskopf

Niskayuna

GOP can’t kill Obamacare, but should try to delay it

The Republican efforts to exterminate Obamacare seem analogous to a medieval character that is remembered for jousting with windmills. As I recall, he never was victorious.

So seems the Republican attempt to terminate Obamacare. I recall during the passage of the ACA (Affordable Care Act), there was considerable bragging about the armor in the legislation against possible future Republican attacks. The bill included language that provided mandated funding.

[So] what happens when it is excluded from the current funding bill? It would appear to a casual observer that the legislation, with mandated funding, would be unaffected. Seems the Republicans might be “jousting with a windmill.”

I agree the legislation is not ready for prime time. The litany of deleterious unintended side effects is manifold. The politically motivated exemptions President Obama has afforded to his allies is decimating his approval ratings.

Both parties would benefit if implementation were delayed and the problems resolved. The Republican House would be wise to resubmit it with postponement legislation when the Senate, as it surely will, returns it without defunding the ACA.

It might pass with bipartisan approval.

Wallace Hughes

Charlton

Is woolly bear caterpillar a decent meteorologist?

This is my very favorite time of the year, warm days and cool nights. The trees are starting to turn and the geese are beginning to form up for their annual trip to a warmer climate.

This also is the time when the woolly bear caterpillar appears. Ever since I was a kid, folks said they were the predictor of the coming winter: the longer the orange strip, the longer the winter, I wonder if there is any truth to this old wives tale?

It is fun to find them. Their patterns are different each year, which leads me to believe they may know more than we do. I would be interested to find out if there is any truth to this woolly bear tale. Either way, the fall season in New York state is magnificent!

Marty Shanty

Charlton

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