Enforce current gun laws instead of adding new ones
After reading the Another Voice by Derek P. Champagne about microstamping semiautomatic handguns, I felt compelled to write my first ever letter to the editor. Microstamping is just another piece of flawed legislation intended to drive up the cost of gun ownership. There is no scientific data to support the claims being made by the anti-gun groups.
I know in my heart that, if seated on a jury, I could never give a guilty verdict based on this legislation. As a target shooter, when I am finished on the range, my spent casings get swept up and thrown into a bucket with others. Who's to say that some unscrupulous individual won't take those casings (with the stamp from my gun), commit a crime and throw those casings around the crime scene? This legislation then puts me at that crime scene, committing that crime, when in fact I could be most anywhere else. While this sounds a bit far-fetched, it is a possibility.
One needs only to look at the ballistic fingerprinting legislation to see how the new technology is helping law enforcement. After 10 years at approximately $1 million per year, there has yet to be a conviction due to ballistic fingerprinting. All a criminal has to do is run a file down the barrel of a gun, and that changes the whole fingerprint of the firearm. I am not a genius, but I think I can find better uses for that wasted money.
The same can be said about high-capacity magazines. Some people claim they are unnecessary. Well, using that logic, we should outlaw cars that can go faster than 70 mph, because they are unnecessary. May I suggest that we pursue better enforcement of current laws rather than go after law-abiding gun owners? Now that's one thing I am in support of.
Terms of marriage have varied greatly over time
The recent letter claiming that all civilizations have espoused marriage between men and women is true to a point. However, the terms of marriage have varied greatly. In our Jewish/Christian tradition, polygamy was accepted. Not to mention concubines.
Furthermore, the commandment against adultery meant that a married woman could not have sex with anyone other than her husband. If she did, she was killed. This was, in effect, an act of abortion because she may have been impregnated by a man other than her husband, and a male child born to her from this union could have been in line to inherit her husband's wealth. Her death eliminated this possibility. By way of contrast, if a man's concubine was caught having sex with another man, she was beaten and he was fined!
The Rev. John A. Buerk
School budget votes are no longer useful
Now that the dust has settled over the school budget votes, let's see what really happened. It's evident that voting on school budgets is an anachronism whose usefulness has long passed. I am referring to voting "no" on the basic budget when you're voting on a minuscule amount of the total budget. In fact, voting "no" wouldn't save taxpayers much.
Case in point is the Iroquois School District, where the budget was defeated by about 100 votes. That forced the district to opt for a contingency budget, meaning the "draconian" cut of about $119,000 from the proposed $41.9 million. This means reducing the school budget by 0.2 percent, which represents a negligible decrease in the tax rate. On a school tax of $2,000, a 0.2 percent decrease is a saving of $4 per year! Adding in the fact that property taxes can be itemized on Schedule A, the net savings for those who itemize is less than $3 per year. In a contingency case, as per state law, equipment-related expenses will be axed first, followed by materials and supplies, as long as they are not health-related. What does this cut of $119,000 mean to the average Iroquois taxpayer? He will save a few bucks.
The larger impact of this "no" vote is that community civic, cultural and sports groups will have to pay in order to use school facilities for their meetings and activities. I venture to guess some of the "no" voters know someone in those groups who will now have to have more fundraising events in order to be able to use the school grounds and buildings for their purposes. If this isn't pure foolishness, I don't know what is.
Many states do not allow voting on school budgets. In fact, in Buffalo, no such vote is allowed. Of course, school elections are necessary to select trustees. I am merely suggesting doing away with voting on a $119,000 budget, as was the case in Iroquois.
Leave Indians alone and let people gamble
I read with interest the Another Voice by Sam Magavern on gambling and the Buffalo Creek Casino. Seeing as Magavern is co-director of the Partnership for the Public Good and a member of Citizens for a Better Buffalo -- both impressive names, whatever they are -- I am going to presume that he is biased. But it appears his bias is not against gambling at casinos, he is singularly against the Indians' casinos.
Nowhere in his commentary did he mention the gambling casino at the Hamburg Fairgrounds that is operated by the state of New York. Is that casino acceptable to Magavern and his groups, but the Indian casino is not?
I, for one, am getting fed up with the government and local do-gooders telling me what I can do with what I have. Whether it's health care I'm forced to buy, light bulbs I have to use to save the environment or going without salt on my food, leave me alone. I'd like to make a suggestion to Magavern, too -- leave the Indians alone.
Marriage Equality Act is a human rights issue
The delay in the Senate consideration of the Marriage Equality Act has focused the national spotlight on New York State and its Legislature. Although it appears that there is substantial legislative horse-trading on other issues in order to bring this bill to a vote, the question remains if our representatives have the courage and conscience to do the right thing.
This is not a gay rights issue, but a human rights issue. We await the outcome, and the headline: New York State -- Pride or Prejudice?
Thoughtful My View sparked an epiphany
I was inspired by Steve Banko's My View retrospective on June 17. "Dad's love of family is clear to me now" really set off a sympathetic vibration that helped me to recall some painful past in a much different paradigm. His last paragraph sparked my "epiphany," and I am grateful to him for that. "One Never Knows, Do One?" -- a Fats Waller introspective.