Texting drivers deserve ?to be harshly punished

How many senseless deaths are enough? It's no secret that driving while texting is significantly more dangerous than drunken driving.

Car and Driver posted one of many studies on the subject. Persons scored as follows when prompted to brake by a flashing red light mounted in their car. Unimpaired: .54 seconds to brake; legally drunk: add 4 feet; reading e-mail: add 36 feet; sending a text: add 70 feet.

That's right, the texters took 66 feet more to stop than the drunks – over 16 times the excess distance reaction posted by the drunks.

The recent killing of a cyclist on Transit Road resulted in only minor charges against the texting driver who had two children in her car. If she had a .09 blood alcohol level, she would have faced murder and child endangerment felonies. This woman could have hit a cement truck just as easily as the cyclist.

Thousands have been killed by texters. We need swift and severe punishment for those who consciously choose to endanger, maim and kill innocent people for no good reason. Anti-texting laws need to address the serious implications of texting while driving with punishments equivalent to or harsher than drunken driving laws.

Mike McCoy



Legalizing abortion sent ?us in a downward spiral

Another mass murder has taken place. It fits a pattern – someone kills those who were, to him, nameless. He didn't know them. There has always been murder in the United States, but this pattern, nameless killing, is a recent thing. It began a few decades ago, the same time as another pattern.

Abortion, first legalized in Colorado, is the killing of those who have no names. Americans used to feel the same horror for abortion that we, for the moment, still feel for the other kind of nameless killing with guns.

As abortion got more common, Americans gradually lost their former feelings of horror about it. Perhaps the same will happen to our feelings about nameless shootings. They are getting more common, too.

Paul T. Dlugosz



Why is Hamburg Board keeping contract secret?

It appears that the Republican members of the Hamburg Town Board are following the lead of presidential candidate Mitt Romney when it comes to providing information to the people whom they represent or wish to represent.

Hamburg Republican board members refuse to release the contract regarding a settlement that resulted in the retirement of an assistant police chief. This refusal appears to be illegal, as stated by the state authority based upon the Freedom of Information Act and case law.

The cost of this settlement should be provided to the taxpayers of the town, since they are paying the bill. The Republican board members should be required to obey the law just as those who pay their salary are required to do.

While the law does not require Romney to make public all of his tax returns, it makes you wonder why he wants them to remain a secret.

As an attorney and a concerned citizen, I recommend anyone thinking of voting for someone who keeps secrets or refuses to live to the letter of the law to think again. Public office is a public trust, and the actions of Romney and his fellow Republicans at the town level are unacceptable.

Daniel J. Gorman

Orchard Park


Helmet is essential ?for every bicyclist

The recent article about bike helmets really struck a nerve with me. I have noticed this summer that the vast majority of cyclists are not wearing helmets and the risk they are taking is enormous.

One man stated in the article that he didn't wear one because if he got hit by a car, he would "get messed up anyway." Maybe he should talk to the mom whose son has been lying in Erie County Medical Center in a coma since May 29, because she didn't make him wear a helmet. Or he could speak to Mike Billoni, who was "messed up," but is alive after a long recovery, because of his helmet.

There is a big difference between some broken bones and a head injury. I remember a group of swimmers I would see regularly at the Jewish Community Center, all victims of head injury, some in wheelchairs, some using walkers, some with symptoms similar to cerebral palsy. This is the risk you take when you ride without a helmet.

As parents, we need to enforce the rules that keep our kids safe. We taught them to look both ways before crossing the street. We taught them about stranger danger. Now we need to make them understand what traumatic brain injury is, and that the helmet is their only protection when riding their bikes.

As parents, we need to set the example of safe riding by obeying traffic laws and always wearing a helmet. If you are riding with your kids without a helmet, you are putting yourself at risk and you can be sure that when that 6-year-old is 14, he won't be wearing a helmet, either.

Melanie Kaczmarek



People still have power ?to vote incumbents out

Certainly the National Rifle Association is powerful – we have millions of members who vote. If we don't like what you are doing, we vote you out. Silly me, I thought that's the way the system was supposed to work.

Gary Chamberlain



Winning an Olympic medal ?is amazing accomplishment

I love watching the Olympics and keeping track of medals won. It's amazing what the youth of all participating countries are capable of. I admire each and every one of them.

However, I wish the media and some athletes would stop downplaying winning a silver or bronze medal. It's the Olympics. A medal is a medal is a medal, be it gold, silver or bronze. All winners are celebrated and honored as they should be.

In my humble opinion, one should not be diminished by another. All should be considered equally honorable to win. The defeatist attitude and sorry looks for "losing" a gold medal and "settling" for a silver or bronze really tick me off.

It doesn't matter how many medals an athlete wins. Winning any medal should be considered an honor.

If everyone wants a gold medal, maybe the Olympic Committee should make all the medal wins gold, then we wouldn't have to listen to the media's fake disappointment for an athlete "losing" a gold medal.

Linda E. Riederer