Syrians need our help ?against brutal regime

I wish every one of you a happy holiday season. As for me, I cannot celebrate the new year because many of our brothers, sisters and children are being killed by the murderer Bashar Assad and his regime. Today, the conflict in Syria is the worst conflict in the world in its toll on humanity. The world and the United Nations failed again to protect civilians, as they did in the Holocaust, Bosnia, Rwanda, Cambodia and many other conflicts.

As you celebrate your holidays with your family, remember the Syrian children who lost their parents. As you enjoy heated houses in this cold weather, remember the many Syrian children who died from cold weather living in the refugee camps. As you celebrate with nice meals, remember the hundreds of women and children who were killed standing in lines for hours at the bakery store to get a little bread when Assad's airplanes bombed them. As you listen to Christmas music, remember that your fellow human beings in Syria are hearing the sound of bombs. As you hug your children and give them goodnight kisses, remember the Syrian children who have no parents to hug and kiss them because they were killed by the Assad regime.

Please pray for peace in Syria and think what you can do to stop the killing.

Othman Shibly, D.D.S.



There's nothing funny? about violence, fighting

Doesn't anyone at the paper even read beforehand what is printed?

From Jeff Simon in the Dec. 21 Gusto: "Nothing is more satisfying on Dec. 26 than going to the movies and seeing something where people are beating the stuffing out of each other, for reasons either good or bad."

Really? Even before the Connecticut murders, this would have been offensive.

"In one very funny scene, Jack is thwacked in the back of the head by a baseball bat … wakes up and finishes them off by bashing the back of one idiot's head into the face of the other."

How is this funny? Do we excuse it by saying, "Oh, it's an adult movie and doesn't harm anyone"?

These comments aren't funny or clever. And they certainly aren't acceptable unless you believe violence is acceptable.

Audrey Mang



NRA's solution would ?cause more mayhem

If I were still an NRA member before its recent press conference, I would not be after. In fact, I had given up my membership quite some time ago. The Neanderthal mentality of the pro-gun group ignores the data collected on the psychology of the criminal mind. Armed guards at Sandy Hook would not have been a deterrence to a mentally deranged and irrational shooter only intent on causing mayhem and self-destruction. The NRA's gun-totin' mentality would only turn our schools into battlegrounds. The notion that you can only stop a bad guy with a gun with a good guy with a gun is how the NRA justifies its gun mentality. Its failure to admit culpability in creating the contemporary gun-violence culture and to pass the blame along to video games and violence-glorifying movies is blind defiance to reality.

It's indeed fortunate that our Founding Fathers created the Constitution as a living document, able to adapt to the times. The Second Amendment was written when flintlocks and muskets were the guns of the day. The tyrannical governments the founders feared then were an ocean away in Europe. We have no need to fear tyranny today. It's time to lend a common-sense interpretation to the Second Amendment.

I'm a gun owner and support the recreational use of guns for sporting purposes. We also have the right to protect our homes. But I do not support private ownership of guns and accessories solely designed as anti-personnel weapons. This is where the NRA has it wrong. I'm also a retired teacher, so I have an insider perspective. Turning our schools into armed bastions is a recipe for more disaster, since the shooter can create an even more grandiose spectacle.

John Huttenlocker

North Tonawanda


We must cut red tape? to help dairy farmers

Conservation Chairman Larry Beahan of the Sierra Club Niagara Group, in his Another Voice column of Dec. 24, complained of Gov. Andrew Cuomo wishing to reduce regulation costs. I am sure the governor is correct in attempting to ease the struggles of our dairy farming community by cutting some of the red tape that farming has become involved in. The costs and strangling regulations that are depressing the dairy business should be eased.

If the entire Sierra Club had the attitude that Beahan expresses (I doubt that), it wouldn't be long before our dairy farms would disappear entirely.

As for his comments on hydrofracking in New York, I would rather let the experts and the Department of Environmental Conservation make the decisions. So far, I feel they have approached the matter with caution.

I note that Beahan is also an expert on climate change, as he states unequivocally that Hurricane Sandy was caused by global warming. We all have our own opinions. My own is that Western New York needs an economic boost rather than more repressive rules.

Harold Almquist



Niagara Cerebral Palsy? provides excellent care

While extremely disappointed by the recent jury award to a severely disabled resident who has lived in one of our residential care facilities for 26 years, what is more disappointing is the portrayal of our organization, which has served the community for almost 60 years. During this time thousands of developmentally disabled individuals have been provided compassionate care by our extremely dedicated and committed staff.

First and foremost, every concern raised about the treatment of a person who lives in one of our residential homes and, for that matter, any developmentally disabled person who utilizes our programs and services is taken very seriously. Allegations of wrongdoing, whether physical or verbal, simply are not tolerated.

There will always be disgruntled workers who do not have the tolerance or capacity to provide the compassionate care expected of them. Those who work to support the developmentally disabled find it to be extremely rewarding. While it can be very difficult work, we as a society owe the developmentally disabled the most compassionate care we can offer, and our extremely dedicated employees at Niagara Cerebral Palsy provide this care every day.

As we continue to explore our legal options as a result of the jury's decision, we will continue to be resolute in providing the compassionate care that our agency has worked hard to achieve and is well known for throughout Niagara County for 60 years.

Robert M. DiFrancesco

President, board of directors

Niagara Cerebral Palsy