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Letters to the Editor - Feb. 17

February 17, 2013

O’Malley hasn’t been good for Maryland

To the editor:

I believe the morale in this country is at the lowest most of us have seen in our lives. Gov. O’Malley wants to abolish the death penalty to protect convicted killers and give them something our homeless pray for: food, housing, medical coverage and education.

I challenge the governor to tell the families of the firemen recently killed by a convicted murderer whom our justice system released that the death penalty will not work. If there is a shred of doubt, we should never execute; however, in the cases of our policemen and security officers, execution must be swift and with no appeals. How expensive can this be? Did the officers and families get appeals?

Some say the death penalty is no deterrent to crime, and they might be correct; however, it will eliminate a convicted killer from getting out and killing again. If the killer in Sandy Hook had lived, should we have housed and fed him in exchange for murdering children? 

O’Malley wants to license private gun ownership. This is so very political that it stinks. And it is, in effect, another tax. We license cars, but does this stop drunken drivers from killing thousands of children and adults?

It seems O’Malley thinks this might be his stepping stone to higher office. I very much doubt he has the children’s welfare in mind.

Our justice system needs overhauled, and criminals’ rights should be revoked before our rights. No one should be released on a technicality.

We have a national database for sex offenders, so why can’t we do the same for the mentally ill as a part of a good background check?

There are other people in Maryland outside of the large cities, and I can only hope they get it right the next time O’Malley runs for any office.

Ellis Snyder
Clear Spring


Gun ownership rate not indicative of homicide rate 

To the editor:

Several reports on gun ownership around the world clearly refute the assertion that the abundance of guns in the United States leads to a high rate of firearm homicides.

Americans are the biggest gun owners by far, with an estimated 270 million civilian firearms, in addition to those used by law enforcement and the military. That’s according to the Small Arms Survey of 178 nations conducted by the Switzerland-based Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies.

In sheer numbers of civilian firearms, the No. 2 nation is India (46 million), followed by China (40 million), Germany (25 million), Pakistan (18 million) and Mexico (15 million).

The United States also leads in gun ownership rate, with about 88 firearms per 100 people, according to the most recent Small Arms Survey compiled in 2007.

That is far ahead of No. 2 Yemen, which has 55 firearms per 100 people. Switzerland is third (46), followed by Finland (45), Serbia (38), Cyprus (36), Saudi Arabia (35) and Iraq (34).

But when it comes to the firearm homicide rate, the United States doesn’t even make the top 25. According to figures collected by the United Nations’ Office on Drugs and Crime through its annual crime survey, 9,960 Americans were victims of a firearm homicide in 2010, the most recent year available. That translates to a rate of 3.2 firearm homicides per 100,000 population, only the 27th-highest rate in the world.

The highest rate is in Honduras (68 homicides per 100,000), followed by El Salvador (40), Jamaica (39), Venezuela (39), Guatemala (35) and Colombia (27).

For America’s neighbors, the rate in Mexico is 10 per 100,000, and in Canada, 0.5 per 100,000.

It is interesting to note that not only does the United States have a relatively low homicide rate compared to its gun ownership rate, but Switzerland, which ranks third in civilian gun ownership rate, has only the 46th-highest homicide rate, and Finland, with the fourth-highest ownership rate, is 63rd on the list.

Herman Long
Hagerstown


Highway improvements should boost safety, jobs

To the editor:

The Greater Chambersburg Chamber of Commerce supports Gov. Corbett’s decision to improve transportation in Pennsylvania. Business organizations across the state have been eagerly waiting for a funding solution that will make Pennsylvania an attractive place to live and conduct business.

There are numerous reasons why a transportation funding solution is especially close to the heart of Franklin County. One is our location along the Interstate 81 corridor. Because we are within 100 miles of Baltimore and Washington, D.C., and within a short distance of many other cities in the Northeast, our infrastructure is regularly used for movement of goods to these places. We have a strong trucking and distribution industry in our county, and heavily traveled roads and bridges.

From a business standpoint, inadequately maintained roads and bridges create unnecessary traffic detours that delay the delivery of goods, also increasing the cost to transport these goods.

Although highways and bridges are the most obvious areas in need of maintenance, they are part of an overall comprehensive package needed to improve the economy and quality of life of all Pennsylvanians. Transportation improvements will reinvigorate the ailing construction sector and create jobs — and seed critical local and regional economic development projects. Our entire population depends upon transportation, and it is key to Franklin County’s economic health.

In addition, the safety of our communities is at risk when we stand back and let our roads and bridges age without the necessary funding for maintenance. We have a duty to keep our community safe and not wait until a crisis occurs to react.

We look forward to seeing what is in store for Franklin County and the rest of Pennsylvania in the future of transportation, and its effect on our economic growth and prosperity.

David G. Sciamanna, president
Greater Chambersburg Chamber of Commerce


Don’t let greed send post office down the tubes

To the editor:

On Thursday, Feb. 7, there was story in The Herald-Mail about the post office cutting Saturday delivery. The story just asked how people felt about it, but did not explain why this  happened.

The post office is not run by taxpayers’ money. I repeat: The post office is not run by taxpayers’ money.

The reason the post office lost more than $15 billion last year is because of Congress. Yes, because of Congress. In late 2006, the lame-duck Republican-controlled Congress passed a bill that forced the post office to pay 75 years of retirement funding to the U.S. Treasury in 10 years.

Could your companies do that? No company could. I believe the GOP’s plan is to drop the post office and privatize mail delivery. What other reason would there be to do this crazy thing? That is the reason the post office is losing money.

Don’t let this great institution go down the tubes because of greed. I really don’t think a package delivery service wants to go up South Mountain or down in all the rural areas to deliver one letter to a person 2 to 3 miles down a dirt lane on a Saturday.

Rodney A. Guessford
Hagerstown


Senior Idol contest is a wonderful event

To the editor:

I was the first Senior Idol winner in 2009, and these programs get bigger and better every year. I was 87 when I won it, when it was held at the Commission on Aging on West Franklin Street. There were eight contestants and 60 people in the audience.

This year, there were 13 contestants and 225 in the audience at Bridge of Life Church on South Potomac Street. The programs are interesting and good entertainment, with men and women 60 years of age and older singing a mix of good music. There are three judges who choose a winner and a runner-up. All contestants were really good. To be a judge is a very challenging task, I would think.

Anyway, a good time was had by all who attended the program. Try to attend next year. It’s great entertainment. You will love it.

Jack Myers
Hagerstown





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