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Letters to the Editor - May 12

May 12, 2013

Police chief supports Zook in Pa. judicial race

To the editor:

As the chief of the Shippensburg (Pa.) Police Department and a retired state police sergeant with more than 40 years of combined experience, I write this endorsement. I have had the opportunity to work with many judges in several Pennsylvania counties. Each judge approached his duties in his or her own unique way. No one person is perfect in all they do — neither judge nor police officer. However, there are several qualities I look for in a judge.

1. A judge should impose sentences on a defendant according to the sentencing guidelines.

2. When a defendant has been given the opportunity to participate in one of the rehabilitation programs that could earn early release from prison, but fails to fulfill their part, that individual should then be required to fulfill their sentence and not get another bite of the apple.

3. A judge should show the prosecution as well as the defense the respect they deserve.     

I have had the opportunity to interact with Franklin County First Assistant District Attorney Jeremiah Zook and believe he is well-qualified and would fulfill these judicial qualities I expect of a judge. His proven experience in the courtroom will benefit all citizens as the next judge. His commitment to the law will be an asset to the 39th Judicial District.

Fred A. Scott
Shippensburg police chief


Speed cameras are nothing but revenue generators

To the editor:

On April 5, The Herald-Mail published a column by Art Callaham regarding school speed zone cameras. Art has no problem with these cameras and thinks that they are a swell idea; as do a lot of citizens who care to disregard our constitutional rights to be confronted by our accusers in a court of law, not confronted with a letter and a fine in the mail generated by a machine.

The U.S. Constitution was written by human beings whose intention was that the laws of the land would be interpreted and enforced by the citizens of the newly formed United States of America. No reasonable person can read the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution or the Federalist Papers and believe for even an instant that this country was founded on any principle that remotely resembles being allowed to be accused, tried and found guilty by a machine or any other form of technology.

The founders of our nation wrote about “We The People,” not “We The Machines,” of the United States of America. Machines and technology have their place in our society; however, that place is not governing us or enforcing our laws.

Anyone who believes that automated speed cameras and their cousins, the red light cameras, are anything other than revenue-raising profit centers for the government is wrong. And anyone who thinks that our government would operate these cameras at an economic loss is wrong. These cameras do not increase the safety of anyone; however, they do generate a lot of revenue, and therefore, we are doomed to see many more of them.

This type of activity would not exist in the America that I grew up in. And I often wonder how did we as a people stray so far from the principles of freedom and liberty that I grew up with?

Rodney Pearson Sr.
Keedysville


People create their own heaven and hell on Earth

To the editor:

At a ripe old age of 84 years, I ponder. Over the years, I have read many books and articles on the subject of religion. This promotes my thinking: Is God a matter of conscience? I do not believe in God or the devil in the same sense as others believe.

It is my belief that we create our own heaven and hell, here and now, with our treatment of others.

If a God exists, why would he permit the atrocious acts that one human being places on others? If we, with our treatment of others as well as ourselves, are positive, I believe we can be part of creating heaven. Many cultures have their Gods, i.e, rain, sun, storm, flood, etc.

Is this a crutch to lean on? If we believe in ourselves and our fellow man, in lieu of wondering if there is a God that is looking over them, it is like believing in Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny.

Tom Wilhelm
Hagerstown


Background check failure another sad act of Congress

To the editor:

It’s another sad commentary on our Congress when extended background checks for guns cannot be passed, even after one of their own was shot, school children and teachers were killed and movie-goers lost their lives — all with assault weapons.  Background checks were the least flammable part of the suggested gun control laws, but it appears that our legislators live in fear of the gun lobbyists and the NRA.

Although 90 percent of Americans polled wanted increased background investigations, our legislators chose to serve their own party lines, personal desires and fears with refusing to listen to their constituency. The shallow justification that the Second Amendment means unlimited gun rights is an argument that can’t be won. Written 222 years ago, it was not a protection for the proliferation of military-type assault weapons for the general public.

Our own local legislators support the “no compromise” stance of the NRA on new gun restrictions. I guess they work on the premise that the Old Testament “eye for eye” violence is justified rather than a more preventive approach. We can learn from the states that have already passed more rigorous gun legislation and start taking baby steps in that direction.

The Rev. Judith M. McLean
Waynesboro, Pa.


Speed cameras are against the American way

To the editor:

Commenting on the people supporting speed cameras — you are missing the main issue. Of course speed cameras work at slowing people down and are cost-efficient. But that does not make them right.

Cutting off the hands of thieves to cull stealing works. It would be cost-efficient to get rid of old, sick people. But this is not the American way. The American way is making sure that people have reasonable recourse legally to contest these fines. American law stipulates that people have a right to face their accuser in court. The camera and the police officer hiding behind a desk signing these fines do not know the circumstances behind the speeding.

I have received only one of these tickets — from December 2012. What the camera did not know was that under normal circumstances, I never would have been in the location or traveling the speed that I was. My mother was in a serious car accident in which her car was totaled. I was responding to that incident when the photo was taken. If a police officer had pulled me over, they may have let me go with a warning (I was going 37 in a 25), considering the circumstances. If they had ticketed me, the judge might have eliminated the ticket if I brought in proof of my circumstances. However, it was unreasonable for me to contest the ticket, because the fine is low enough ($35 if paid immediately) that I would lose more money taking a couple of hours off work and fuel cost to contest the fine, then if I just paid it. That is where the unreasonable recourse issue comes to bear.

If lawmakers are serious about speed camera tickets, raise the fines to $100, that way it will be worth people’s time to contest these tickets. But they won’t do that. They are too scared that the public outcry would blow up the entire program and end the flow of money.

Don C. Crosby
Williamsport


Evil reigns when we surrender to fear

To the editor:

I can’t help but think that the terrorist plot of Sept. 11, 2001, succeeded and continues to bear fruit, with the terror in Boston being the most recent example. Our whole nation cowers in response to fears both real and perceived. Are we allowing the few with evil intentions to redirect the course of this country? Let’s stop it ourselves.

What do we do?

“Do not be afraid of sudden terror, nor of trouble from the wicked when it comes; for the Lord will be your confidence.” (Proverbs 3:25-26)

Recall the days of the American Revolution. A ragtag group of citizen soldiers wrested control of this land from the world power of that day. Now once again, we are in a war for independence from the power of evil.

This war isn’t about bombs and guns. It’s about guts.

The cry and clamor for more security is costing us our freedom. The only way we can defend it is to dare to be free. We must not allow terrorists to terrorize us. Dare to not be scared.

As former President Franklin D. Roosevelt said, “There’s nothing to fear but fear itself.” Ponder that.

Our national motto is, “In God we trust.” And “God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.” (II Timothy 1:7) Our fire power is in how we dare to live our lives freely on the spiritual battlefield where fear is the weapon. How easily the fear of losing our lives stops us from living our lives. Evil reigns when we surrender to it.

“He who is in you is greater than He who is in the world.” (I John 4:4b)

The Rev. Dennis E. Whitmore, senior pastor
Hilltop Christian Fellowship, Clear Spring

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