Letters To The Editor 3/10/2019
Gun bill targets risk
Editor: In a July 2018 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report, Pennsylvania’s average firearm suicide rate over five years exceeded the national average.
Our state averages approximately 1,000 suicides annually. A study of mass shootings, from 2009 to 2016, reports that in 51 percent of those incidents, the attacker gave dangerous warning signs prior to the shootings. When a person is in crisis and considering suicide or gun violence, family members and law enforcement officers are often the first to see warning signs.
Pennsylvania has the opportunity to join 13 other states that have passed extreme risk protection order laws that provide a way to seek a court order to remove firearms temporarily from a family member if evidence shows he is a danger to himself or others.
While it may not be possible to prevent every tragic death from suicide and gun violence, there are common-sense measures to prevent many of them. Pennsylvania Senate Bill 90 is a reasonable response to what is often a temporary crisis, protecting the gun owner and third parties until a crisis is resolved. It preserves the gun owner’s right to recover his firearms once the crisis passes.
The legislation is in the Senate Judiciary Committee, where Sen. Lisa Baker, of Lehman Twp., is chairwoman. For the safety and security of Pennsylvania residents, I hope that Baker will support this bill and move it through her committee so that it can be voted on and approved by the full Senate.
Editor: It time again to praise the weather information specialists for spreading the news that impending doom was near with the most recent snow storm that wasn’t even on the map and still off the Pacific coast when the warnings began.
Now, I will admit, not all weather venues sounded the alarm as loud as the Weather Channel, for instance, but they all leaned toward keeping viewers tuned in to watch for the impending doom.
Can something be done regarding regulations about predicting weather? It’s not fake news, its just a form of basic terrorism. Folks run out and spend extra cash on food, fuel and other winter supplies that might never have been used otherwise and potentially tie up their money unnecessarily. Retail stores stock up on winter supplies that, if not sold, must be stored till next year. Businesses close or postpone business early for storms that never really come, government limits traffic on roads and other extreme measures are undertaken.
So, many people are affected not by the actual storm, but by their own poor judgment based on what the weather media tell them.
Now, if someone stood up in a crowded theater and yelled “fire” when a fire was not present, he would be cited by local authorities.
Advertisers should pull their commercials from these weather segments until the channels correct the way they format the weather news.
Editor: I disagreed with the tone of the March 6 Times-Tribune article on Keystone Mission.
I personally believe that Keystone Mission offers a ministry and service that very few people in our society offer. Staff at the facility help people whom most people are not willing to help. For that reason, it would be a tragedy if the mission is forced to shut down. Who would provide similar services to the homeless and poor in Scranton if there was no Keystone Mission? Surely, to just ignore the problem would not solve anything. In fact, it will make it worse. The homeless still will be there.
I have helped out in serving meals at the mission from time to time and always have been impressed with how thankful the people are for the service we give to them. I always have had a good feeling when I finish helping out there.
This does not mean that there are not challenges facing Keystone Mission. People might hang out outside. Staff members at the mission have no power over that. Certainly, the mission is greatly underfunded and needs an upgrade and cleaner facilities. However, the answer is not to close the mission down, but instead to make it better. I believe that we do Christ’s work when we support Keystone Mission.
THE REV. DAVID BARRETT
Socialism for rich
Editor: Ever since U.S. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez appeared Jan. 5 on the CBS News program “60 Minutes” and mentioned marginal tax rates of 70 percent for those with incomes over $10 million annually, Republicans have howled about socialism.
President Trump, in his State of the Union speech, vowed, “America will never be a socialist country,” and the GOP crowd went wild.
Most Democratic discussion concerning taxes comes from 2020 presidential
contenders and none have called for the kind of socialism where government controls the allocation of resources and controls the means of production. Polls show that Americans want what the rest of the world calls social democracy. That is a market economy with a strong social safety net to limit extreme hardship and progressive taxation to limit inequality, which impairs economic growth.
Actually, the United States is a hotbed of socialism and Trump himself is a perfect example. Trump-controlled businesses sought bankruptcy protection six times to shield him personally from consequences of bad business decisions, while employees and vendors were stiffed. That’s the epitome of socialism.
How about those banks that are too big to fail and their financial engineering? Some of them helped cause the Great Recession of 2007-2008 and the banks were bailed out by taxpayers. Some of the bankers even got bonuses from the bailout.
Then there is big agribusiness, with its subsidies and the really dumb idea of growing corn to use in gasoline as ethanol. That causes chicken feed and meat prices to go up and pig feed and hog prices to go up and cow feed and beef prices to go up. Don’t forget the oil depletion allowance for Big Oil and special dispensations for Big Pharma.
What we have in America now is socialism for the rich and capitalism for the rest. That’s not fair.
GEORGE J. MOTSAY, M.D.
UPPER MACUNGIE TWP.,