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Letters to the Editor - March 1

March 01, 2013

Public officials need to engage with public

To the editor:

I consider myself to be a vigilant observer and passionate advocate of local government in Washington County. Information is an absolute necessity in our digital era. But an overwhelming communications problem is permeating every facet of county government, and citizens are growing increasingly agitated with our elected officials for failing to communicate pertinent details of the inner workings of our local government.

For example, I am disappointed that our public officials have failed to communicate the crux of the Hagerstown/Washington County Economic Development Commission’s finding insofar as garnering input from the community or, in the least, indicating the direction of the committee. During recent discussions between members of the Washington County Board of Education, Hagerstown City Council and Washington County’s five commissioners, we heard virtually no public remarks regarding the downtown Hagerstown site selection being sidestepped for the less urban Allegheny Energy building.

Perception is often an inconvenient reality, and the hanging perception penetrating Washington County is a categorical failure of communication. I’ve had several conversations with neighbors, business owners and concerned citizens about our local state of affairs, and the clockwork reaction is invariable; our local leaders are not responsive, leaving a lasting and often unintended impression that transparency is not a priority.

I would strongly encourage Washington County public officials to engage with us and use the emerging technologies of our generation to bolster civic activism and channel constituent opinion into the process of government. Town hall meetings, cafe and coffee shop chats, weekly constituent breakfasts and dinners, happy hours, etc., are just a few examples of civic engagement that our elected leaders could use to their advantage. I encourage all public officials in Washington County to use creative resources to engage and update the taxpayers on the process and progress of local government.

Ryan R. Miner
Hagerstown


Fear of tyranny leads many to buy guns

To the editor:

In response to the Feb. 21 letter, “It’s time for a serious ‘adult conversation’ about guns,” most law-abiding Americans know such sentiments are simply a ruse by liberal hypocrites. Of course, the folks I speak of are those politicians and Hollywood celebrities who want gun control, yet own guns themselves or are guarded by armed security. 

For example, most military installations do not have armed military to defend against a scenario like Fort Hood. The abundance of weapons one might suppose is readily available to our military at bases in the U.S. is actually secured in armories pending deployment or training exercises. Administrative and medical buildings on most posts are at the mercy of Department of Defense police.

The writer’s point about armed guards in schools being targets goes against the tenets of those who shoot the innocent in unprotected facilities, i.e., “gun free zones.” First, an “assault rifle” would not be effective at hundreds of yards. Second, the writer assumes the armed guard will be positioned at the front door outside the school. History proves that these killers will not take on a gun battle with the “good guys.” Most either give up or end their own lives, whether it be those at Columbine, Virginia Tech, Newtown or even former Los Angeles police officer Christopher Dorner. 

Another proof of cowardice, though suppressed by the liberal media, is the fact that the Aurora theater shooter chose a theater where guns were expressly not allowed. These mass murderers are not stupid.

Finally, the bigger issue is why so many people have guns, particularly since 2008. No, it is not about hunting, and self-defense is not even the primary reason. It is the concern that our nation will fall to tyranny. That might seem like a ridiculous fantasy to some, but for those of us who know our world history, we take our Second Amendment right very seriously.

Jim Rosko
Boonsboro


Prison system in this country is broken, plain and simple

To the editor:

Gov. O’Malley wants the death penalty repealed because “it is racially motivated & ineffective.” Lt. Gov. Brown offered the following statistics: 13 percent of the American population is black; 37 percent of the prison population is black; and 41 percent of inmates on death row are black.

It seems the Democrats always use race to advance an agenda or when they want an issue to go in their direction. Looking at Brown’s statistics, the majority of inmates in each category is not black. I have found that most politicians like to embellish their agenda with stuff they can’t support; it’s their voice of authority that we are supposed to accept.

As far as the death penalty being ineffective, consider how long it takes our judicial system to actually execute someone — 20-plus years in most cases. Career criminals aren’t afraid of the justice system in the United States. 

Our appeals system is so expansive that it’s the worst of all nations on the planet. When other nations convict a person, their punishment begins immediately. Our appeals system is nothing but a bunch of excuses an attorney can conjure up and how much can be thrown into the case to confuse the issue. Look how many in prison become their own lawyers and find ways to get a new trial. There is a biblical axiom: “When punishment is not carried out swiftly, the wicked continue to grow.” This is precisely why we have more people incarcerated in America than in any other nation — more than 2 million. Our prison system is a “country club” compared to other countries.

So don’t tell me the death penalty is racially motivated or ineffective. The system is broken, plain and simple. 

Edward Kendall
Hagerstown

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