Guns in church raise questions about us

Wednesday, April 23, 2014
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Guns in church raise questions about us

On March 23, the pastor of a Troy church enlisted the participation of a local assemblyman and an out-of-town evangelist in a service at which a rifle was awarded to the winner of the church’s auction. “... my peace I give unto you.. John 14:27” was displayed above the picture of the gun on the advertisement for the giveaway.

On the day the death of Jesus is remembered, I became aware of something many of us in the Capital Region might not have known: earlier, on Jan. 19, (Martin Luther King, Jr. Sunday), the pastor of a New York City church enlisted the participation of a skilled metal worker in a service in which a gun, like the one that killed King, was forged into a mattock, a farming tool that was then given to the city’s new mayor to use in planting basil for his pizza (

The relevant scriptural citation here is “...They shall beat their swords into plowshares . ... Isaiah 2:4.”

Security in today’s world is a complex matter, hardly reducible to the choice of what to do with a gun in a worship service. Still, it’s worth asking yourself, which of these two choices is most suggestive of the kind of world we want to live in?

Hugh Nevin


City PD mishandled Union hockey crowd

After watching the Union [College]/Minnesota hockey game, one of my first thoughts was, “How much trouble will the Schenectady Police Department get into tonight?” [April 16 Gazette]

Given their history of heavy-handedness in the way they handle people, this one should have been expected.

Time for the city to disband them and contract with the county for police services. Probably save money, too.

Don Vanderwarker


Informed voters get better candidates

Once again, the political season is gearing up, and soon the petitioners will be out gathering the needed signatures to get their candidates on the ballot. But what about those candidates? Who are they? Why do they want to run for office? What or who do they represent? All questions that need an answer.

I am eternally grateful for those who have come before me, some paying the ultimate price to secure and guaranty my wife and me our right to vote. In respect to them, I feel it is my duty to vote. But with that duty comes great responsibility. To know the candidates, incumbent and challenger, and make an informed decision about the right person to represent me and my community.

When I have asked people why they support a certain candidate, far too often the response is, “I don’t know,” or, “I guess they are doing a good job.” But when I dig deeper and ask about an incumbent’s voting record or how a candidate stands on important issues, I usually get a blank stare. It seems so many people are unhappy with their government and their representatives at all levels, but our incumbent re-election rate is sky high.

Pair that with an appalling voter turnout and you see what we get. Maybe if more of us registered to vote, vetted the candidates, checked on incumbents and made an informed decision, come Election Day, we can make a difference and change things for the better.

This is our future and the future we leave for our children.

Ron Draves


The writer is a former Glenville Town Board candidate. His wife is vice chair of the Glenville Democratic Committee.

SAFE Act provisions are unconstitutional

The Gazette’s April 13 editorial on the New York SAFE Act presumes, because the right to bear arms is not “unlimited,” that the ban on sale of certain firearms labeled “assault weapons” and magazines exceeding some arbitrary capacity limit is permissible, consistent with the Second Amendment of the Constitution.

This is in error, because the court has long held that firearms “in common usage” cannot be banned. There are, as your editorial stated, a million privately (and previously legally) possessed “assault weapons” in New York and many, many millions of similar firearms in the United States. It seems incredible that anyone would argue that these firearms are not in common use.

Further, by banning or significantly limiting the sale of property, any property legally possessed when the law was passed, the state has taken (devalued) property without compensation. Such a “taking” is prohibited by the Fourth Amendment.

With respect to the “straw man” searches for illegally held firearms, there is nothing in the SAFE Act that prohibits them. Police can and should, with a warrant, search a home for illegal and presumed dangerous property. If they can search for marijuana, they can search for “...weapons so dangerous not to register and regulate.” Thus, the “straw man” appears to be of the Gazette’s own construction.

The Gazette’s final argument, 63 percent of New York registered voters support the SAFE Act, is irrelevant except to politicians in Democratic districts. The Bill of Rights prevails over even a unanimous opinion among New York’s voters. Unless and until three-fourths of state legislatures approve a repeal of the Second Amendment, the New York SAFE Act is unconstitutional. Given the Supreme Court’s current construction and recent decisions, it will find the law to be unconstitutional. Until such time, it is the right and responsibility of patriotic citizens to oppose and ignore such legislation.

In the mid-19th century, fugitive slaves, captured in the north, were freed (sometimes with force) in the face of the fugitive slave act. More recently the freedom riders opposed and exposed the heresy of segregation. After all, in the ‘50s, segregation would have garnered even more approval (among registered voters in the South) than has the odious legislation enacted in New York.

Art Henningson


Movies have duty to curb youth smoking

If Hollywood is the ultimate litmus test when it comes to what is popular and the “in” thing, then we should be concerned about the effects that celebrity icons and their on-screen behavior have on our youth.

A few years back, the U.S. surgeon general warned that watching movies with characters who smoke causes kids to start smoking. As a result of his findings, one may think the movie industry would eliminate or decrease smoking imagery in youth-rated movies and become an ally in the effort to prevent youth smoking.

However, no consideration was given to voluntarily adopt a policy addressing smoking imagery in youth-rated movies. In fact, just the opposite occurred. It’s unconscionable to know that the movie industry moved full-steam ahead and increased the number of tobacco incidents in youth-rated movies by 98 percent, putting hundreds of thousands of youth at risk of addiction, disease and premature death.

Shame on the movie industry for chasing the mighty dollar rather than using their clout to make a positive impact on reducing youth smoking rates.

Amanda Kosich


The writer is the program assistant for Reality Check.

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April 23, 2014
9:54 a.m.
+0 votes
reader1 says...

VanderWalker - Yes the police hypnotized the students (a few of them) to throw bottles of beer at them.

April 24, 2014
7:06 a.m.
+1 votes
wmarincic says...

Don Vanderwarker. Let me see. The Mayor and City Council knew that there would be major partying after this game at Union and win or lose there would be issues of rowdiness. What does the city do; A) close off an area of the college with barricades and let Union Security handle it with the city police on standby. B) leave it wide open and let the Mayor whip the crowd into a frenzy on a police car PA and stand by while officers are injured by the full cans and bottles of beer being hurled at them. I would say as usual the Schenectady Police showed great restraint by only arresting five when 50 should have gone to jail that night.


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