U.S. must help end? bloodshed in Syria

I wish someone would explain to me how our government can watch, day after day, as Syrian children are killed and maimed, their houses strafed and bombed. Any of us who has had a child knows the sheer terror these little kids must feel and the helplessness of their parents to protect them.

You say we shouldn't interfere in the internal affairs of another country? Nonsense. We do it all the time, especially when our interests are served. I once heard someone say that we should never concern ourselves with other countries' problems. I disagree. If we have the ability to intervene and stop the suffering of others, we have a moral imperative to do so. Apparently, we, as a nation, just don't care enough.

Daily, President Bashar Assad is having his army destroy entire neighborhoods. Just imagine this happening in your community, hearing the bombs drop all day and night, knowing you may be next and watching your children sob and scream in terror. To sit by and essentially do nothing to help the people of Syria is nothing short of complicity, in my view.

Yes, we have our own problems here in the United States, but none of them compares to the daily obliteration of whole families by a madman dictator who now knows that no one, apparently, is going to stop him.

By the time Assad is overthrown, thousands of little kids will have been maimed and killed. How will we, as the "great" nation we claim to be, justify our doing nothing to protect them? Yes, please explain.

Christine Jacobson



Let Rice's death serve ?as a reminder to us all

As judgment day approaches, all we can hope for is that Alix Rice's preventable death will serve as a reminder to us all. Unfortunately, Dr. James Corasanti has set a precedent that has been repeated numerous times since he "walked" away from charges.

If only the young man from Lancaster had been able to afford a well-known attorney. But wait! At least he was man enough to admit what he had done.

We all make mistakes, but with any luck, we learn from them. It doesn't appear that Corasanti did.

Bonnie Johnson



Innovations are needed ?to stop youth violence

Recently, I attended a forum at Buffalo State College on how to stop the violence among youth. It intended to identify strategies to curb the violence in the City of Buffalo. Eleven individuals were on the panel. They included a district police chief, the U.S. attorney for Western New York, politicians, educators, a judge and front-line "soldiers" in the quest to curb violence.

Noticeably absent were young people, probable gang members, or anyone else who may or may have not committed violence in our community. The panelists spoke 100 minutes of a 120-minute "discussion."

The News reported the city is planning another of its "events" to get weapons off the street. I doubt if either event will curtail the violence. Why?

The unprecedented specter of violence permeating Buffalo and other cities requires innovative, not conventional, strategies. Stop the violence forums devoid of young people in general and those potentially committing the violence or who are directly impacted by that violence are not the answer.

Gun buy-back events will not get the guns actually used to commit murder, robbery and assault. To date the program has removed approximately 3,000 guns since 2007. Innovation: Survey young people involved in the criminal justice system to determine what would have deterred their criminality. Innovation: Offer a "jobs for guns" event. The more lethal the gun, say, assault weapon, the better the job offer vis-a-vis hourly wage. Notwithstanding murder and other violent crimes, offer limited immunity for guns used in unsolved crimes.

Violence is wreaking havoc in our community; conventional strategies will not stop it. Preventing violence requires innovations heretofore never tried. To critics of innovation, in the tradition of former Mayor Jimmy Griffin, have a beer and shut up.

Ron Stewart



Fair organizers made? poor choice on Nugent

It is beyond comprehension that those in charge saw fit to schedule hate-monger Ted Nugent to perform at the Erie County Fair. His profane rantings and violent threats toward President Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, while wielding machine guns, should have landed him in prison. Instead, fair organizers saw fit to give him a stage at a place where parents bring their young children. Shame on you, fair organizers! You will not be seeing me.

Joan Spillman



Calling Obama a socialist ?is misguided and unfair

Too many uninformed people throw around accusatory terms like "socialist" when referring to President Obama. They obviously do not understand what "socialism" is. Unlike communism, socialism is a system of government where only the major industries are controlled by the government.

For example, transportation, communication and health care. All other industries are privately owned. Most European countries and Canada are social democracies that follow some or most of what socialism describes. In many cases, the health care system is run by the government. The government owns the hospitals, hires the physicians and all of the health care personnel in the system and runs the health care insurance business. All have universal health care.

Obama's attempt to achieve universal health care is not "socialism" at all, any more than Medicare or Medicaid. The latter two are government health care insurance systems, but the hospitals and health care personnel are all private and the Affordable Care Act ("Obamacare") provides for private insurance and private providers, not the government, to cover everyone. This is actually a boon for private enterprise.

The only true "socialist" health care in the United States is in the military, where the personnel and hospitals are government controlled. But this system existed long before Obama became president.

Maybe these uninformed people should look up the term "oligarchy" and worry more about power in the hands of a few who pledge everything to lobbyists like Grover Norquist who have taken over our government.

The irony here is that after examination of Obama's first term, the truth is that with the House of Representatives' opposition moving so far to the extreme right, he has governed not even as a "liberal" but mostly as a moderate president in order to get anything accomplished. He certainly is not a socialist.

John W. Kowalski