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Everybody's Column

Making 'Over the Tavern' was a very wise decision

In his Jan. 16 column, Jeff Simon belittled the former artistic director of Studio Arena, Gavin Cameron-Webb, for making the decision to produce Tom Dudzick's engrossing play about Buffalo, "Over the Tavern," rather than Michael Frayn's play "Copenhagen," about an imaginary conversation between a physicist and his ex-student.

I have read "Copenhagen." It's a fine play and expertly written. But, given a choice, which of the two plays would people living in Western New York be more likely to see? Which resonates in the minds and hearts of the local audience? And which is likely to advance the name of Buffalo in other communities?

"Over the Tavern" has since been staged in theaters from Chicago to Fort Myers, Fla. "Copenhagen" has been staged in Manhattan, London and several other major cities. But what does it say about the culture of where we live?

Cameron-Webb took a chance on new plays written about this area. He gave opportunities to talented local actors and playwrights associated with Buffalo. He allowed Buffalo to have a voice in the theater. For this he should be criticized?

Joseph P. Ritz



Extra buses needed for special events

I was downtown on New Year's Eve for the ball drop at midnight. I am physically challenged and at times must use two canes for support and balance. The last No. 3 Grant Street bus leaves at 12:22 a.m. on the Sunday schedule. I almost missed it.

The Metro Rail had extra trips that night for the benefit of those who use Park and Ride. Why couldn't extra trips be added to the major bus routes for those of us who live in the city and do not choose to drive on such a potentially crazy night? I feel slighted. I would have enjoyed spending more time with my son and his girlfriend, but was not able to do so due to the lack of extra buses.

The Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority should add buses when it adds trains so we can have equal ridership.

Ed Lock Sr.



Cartoon was insulting to past victims of rape

Adam Zyglis' cartoon published on Jan. 18 was absolutely tasteless. Using past victims of rape whose predators haven't been found to blast the police force isn't funny. It's offensive, I'm sure, and a painful reminder to the families of all those who have been raped and murdered. Find some other way to chastise those in uniform.

Ann E. Weidman



Carter's actions show what a great man he is

I was appalled by the article in which former President Gerald Ford labeled President Jimmy Carter as a "disaster." The fact is Carter was a dove and avoided war with anyone. His actions after his presidency show that he is a great man. He continues to be a positive influence in trying to help our country gain its greatness again, as with Habitat for Humanity.

As a member of the Warren Commission, Ford was part of the coverup of the conspiracy surrounding President John Kennedy's assassination, and his reward was the presidency to save face with the Nixon debacle. Ford was a patsy, just like Lee Harvey Oswald, and did nothing to help our nation.

Let Ford rest in peace, but the fact is that if he wanted to make a mark on our world, he would have spoken out against this ill-advised war with Iraq while he was alive and advised President Bush that he is wrong to send our men and women in harm's way to further the "war machine" -- Halliburton and the oil profiteers who benefit from this stupid war.

As a registered Republican, I urge Bush to return our people from Iraq. Let's change the wording of "support our troops" to "return our troops." God Bless the United States.

Randy Ubriaco

Niagara Falls


All students should learn about veterans

I am writing in response to a Jan. 17 column by Cal Thomas. Evidently the New Jersey Legislature thinks teaching students in the public schools about veterans has no value in our society. What has value then, if not the contributions made by the men and women securing the freedoms so many take for granted?

Perhaps these legislators should take a day off, at taxpayer expense, and go on a field trip to Walter Reed Hospital, Arlington National Cemetery, the Vietnam Veterans Memorial and the local VA Hospital. That's where they will find value.

By the way, there are two more places where they will find American men and women with all the value in the world -- Iraq and Afghanistan. Their unanimous decision has placed a dagger in the heart of every veteran who has ever fought for this great country of ours. Thanks for nothing.

Jim Schaller

East Amherst


Deputy acted properly in unpredictable crisis

I have been in law enforcement for 25 years, am a Vietnam veteran and a state-certified police firearms instructor, and have many years of experience in dealing with the mentally ill. These people are viable, very unpredictable and don't respond to normal stimulants like a normal person would. Just because a suspect is a mental health patient doesn't justify police officers putting themselves at dangerous risk. A knife can be as deadly as any other weapon.

In 1992, Trooper Mark Coates of the South Carolina Highway Patrol was murdered after he had shot his attacker five times in the chest. His murderer survived.

Police officers are trained to shoot as many times as needed to defend themselves or a third person against the suspect's criminal actions. One bullet is not a rule. Pepper spray does not always work on people who have mental health issues, are intoxicated or using drugs. And many agencies are not equipped with Tasers.

I do not know of any one-bullet training in the military, unless you're trained as a sniper. In combat, I fired as many rounds at the enemy as my weapon would allow, reloaded and did it again.

Dennis R. Brennan

Chief, Peace Officer Training Academy



Story offers proof of teacher's legacy

I recently ran across The News article about my father, Patrick Beatts -- "Where are you now, Mr. Beatts?" It gave me a great deal of pleasure to see that, after all these years, he is still remembered so fondly by a former student from Park School. It would have made him very happy to have been able to read this article. Sadly, he passed away in 1985 from cancer. At his memorial service, one of his children said that, "As long as the people whose lives he touched still live, part of him is still with us." In many ways, this article proves that point.

Alan Beatts

San Francisco, Calif.

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