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Drivers who strike and kill? cyclists should face charges

I object to the killing of bicyclists like Jim Coffed, run down by a dump truck on Walden Avenue in Lancaster on July 2, and two other recent deaths that were blamed on distracted driving. The news releases indicate no charges were pending against the drivers who killed the bicyclists.

I am a lifelong, avid bicyclist who was always reminded of the peril by auto drivers who appear to presume the bicyclist is a problem to drive over when convenient. Most post-accident interviews indicate the car driver just did not see the bicyclist.

These generally highly identifiable figures in motion wear bright colors and are about 7 feet high and 2 feet wide. The fact that they are not seen by these drivers puts any who are even near roadways in peril.

If the victims were shot, shoved off a bridge or bludgeoned, the killers would have been handcuffed and incarcerated pending the decisions of the authorities. But since they were bicyclists, the killers are released, evidently free to run down other bicyclists.

A few years ago, I read an article about a former crime figure who extolled what he called a foolproof method of assassination. This man explained that if you wanted to get away with murder in this country, you merely used your vehicle. At the very worst, you might have to survive a manslaughter trial. Never murder.

Let us put an end to the era that identifies the bicyclists as expendable and begin to treat them as human victims of criminal conduct. Killing people by whatever your weapon remains a killing of a human being. At least force the drivers through an inquiry of more intensity than a traffic officer sympathizing with their misfortune.

Art "Happy" Klein

Tonawanda

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Voters should be able? to prove their identity

I have to question The News editorial board's views on voter fraud. On July 14, it whined about those "repugnant" efforts of Republicans to require photo ID of all voters. On July 15, the front page "top-of-the-fold" story headlined an investigative report on "Getting away with jobbing the unemployment insurance program."

Dan Herbeck's piece reveals that "perhaps tens of thousands" of the 1.5 million New York State recipients were gaming the system. Even if there were 50,000 cheats, that's about 3.3 percent, accounting for an estimated $150 million in fraudulently obtained benefits. Deflating as that is to the rest of us who get up and go to work every day, at least those cheaters worked the 26 qualifying weeks.

I view voter fraud as far more serious and costly than employment insurance fraud in the long run. It is comforting to me that there is a 99-week, or less, cap on unemployment benefits. Not so with other gold-plated New York State and federally administered benefits.

I know of one major retailer that has elected to instruct its employees to not question holders of Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT) cards even when the person making the purchase is obviously not the person in the photo ID. On the scale of political correctness, it is just not worth the hassle these brazen thieves present, especially when that anti-abuse effort will result in a loss of sale.

Knowing that such abuse occurs, why should anyone trust the Bush administration Justice Department's assessment that voter fraud is not a problem, much less a view of a Democratic-tuned justice system?

I don't care what color a "citizen" is, if he is poor he should already have a photo ID EBT card. If he is not poor, then he ought to get an ID card. The News editorial board's viewpoint only serves to endorse what voter fraud there is. If you are truly a citizen, you ought to be proud to be able to prove it.

Kevin J. O'Connor

North Tonawanda

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Cowards in Congress ?just wring their hands

If Typhoid Mary was causing the death of 30,000 Americans every year, the CDC would be on full alert and the nation would be mobilized to fight this bacterial or viral scourge.

However, the gun lobby is so powerful that even when Gabby Giffords was nearly killed along with several constituents, all her congressional colleagues could do was wring their hands and wish her good luck in her recovery.

Last week in Aurora, Colo., a gunman with weapons of mass destruction opened fire in a theater showing the latest edition of the "Batman" movie, killing 12 and wounding 58 others. He was captured wearing a bulletproof vest and having at least three weapons.

The gun manufacturers are producing a product that is meant to kill. The restrictions on the ownership of semiautomatic weapons are so porous or unenforced that the wackiest of our citizens can obtain them to fulfill their "Rambo" fantasies.

Our political system is bought and paid for by powerful industrialists who want no restrictions on their ability to pollute or produce weapons of mass destruction. We know this because even when one of their own colleagues almost lost her life, Congress did nothing. This behavior defines cowardly.

Dick Czarnecki

Sanborn

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Bachmann's comments ?cross the line yet again

Beyond a shadow of a doubt, there is no question the political climate of today has become contentious on both sides of the aisle. There has been much talk on right-wing blogs, radio and television about President Obama and acts of treason.

These attacks have been trumped up by talking heads fully aware of the effect it has on their selective viewers/listeners. These are the folks still hoping for a fake birth certificate or proof the president is a closeted Muslim. They feed off the threat of FEMA camps and death panels. Apparently, all of this rhetoric is fair game regardless of the accuracy or its origins.

The tomato- and shoe-throwing attacks on Secretary of State Hillary Clinton while in Egypt were apparently fueled by the words of these same right-wing blowhards who have now claimed that Clinton aide Huma Abedin has ties to the Muslim Brotherhood.

It has been stated that angry protesters aimed their assault based on the words of Glenn Beck and, most disgracefully, Michelle Bachmann, a Republican representative from Minnesota.

Bachmann has distinguished herself on numerous occasions with outrageous and inaccurate claims against the president. This latest one is not only inaccurate and stupid, but potentially dangerous.

My question is, at what point do these outright lies become treason? Bachmann has been shamed by members of her own party for this latest attack. To his credit, John McCain came to the Senate floor to vigorously defend Abedin's loyalty and hard work.

In this frightening political climate, how long must average, often ill-informed citizens be subjected to outright lies by one side or the other before some legal action can be taken? Enough is enough!

Vincent P. Arnone

Wheatfield