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Everybody's Column

Discrimination has reversed itself in the case of Olma

I have noticed what I will call the Olma Syndrome. Years ago in the South, if a white person accused a black person of a crime, the white public accepted it as fact and the black person was condemned. That was indeed a dark time for America. Thankfully, that is no longer the case. But now we have people like Gregory Olma, a white legislator, who was accused by two black women of uttering racial slurs. The next day, 100 picketers surrounded his house and black leaders called for his resignation. His political career was ruined. Recently he was exonerated in court.

What has happened to America when 100 people who did not witness the incident harass Olma, and black leaders without any corroboration believed the women and immediately called for his resignation? No investigation; just unsubstantiated condemnation.

It seems we are now in the Olma era. One black woman branded three innocent white Duke students as rapists and the students were immediately considered guilty.

Has America reversed roles? It was hideous when committed by whites. It is just as hideous when committed by blacks with liberal white participation. Where is the presumption of innocence, or is color once again the determinate factor?

Julian J. Sugarman



News deserves praise for handling dog story

I would like to commend The News for the way it chose to report the recent horrible dog attack on a toddler. It was not sensationalized, or put on the front page, as it was on all the newscasts for two days. It was nicely tucked away in the regional news. Our thoughts are with the family, who deserve privacy.

Also, congratulations to the seniors from Newfane who opened at Thursday at the Square. Their prank was harmless compared to the behavior some schools are experiencing. You go boys!

Susan Williams



This nation should go to universal health care

I believe it's about time that our government joins in with the rest of the civilized world and offers universal health care coverage. As a member of the working class who is under a wage freeze, I see how our system of health care coverage is destroying the ability of employers to manage costs. How many people have lost their jobs due to the inability of companies to balance the cost of health care and wages? Also, how productive can employees be if they are unable to receive adequate care due to lack of insurance or denial of benefits?

I am embarrassed that our great nation is unable to care for its own. How can we expect other countries to have confidence in our leadership when we can't even provide our own citizens with such a basic human right as access to health care when we have the means to do so? It's time to stop pretending that this problem doesn't exist. The majority of the population is only one catastrophic illness away from bankruptcy. So who pays for it in the long run? We all do!

Karen Leonard



Protestors understand the sacrifice of soldiers

I would like to respond to the July 10 letter from the U.S. Army veteran who served 10 months in Afghanistan. First of all, many "protesters" see a difference between the need for troops in Iraq and the need in Afghanistan.

Secondly, I want to inform the soldier about these "shortsighted protesters" who he believes do not recognize the sacrifice of the military men and women serving our country. These protesters include Veterans For Peace, Military Families Speak Out, Iraq Veterans Against the War and Gold Star Families For Peace, just to name a few. All of these organizations involve men and women affected by war. They include veterans from the Spanish Civil War, World War II, Korean War, Vietnam War, Persian Gulf War, Afghanistan and Iraq Wars. These people are a major force in the anti-war movement.

If the soldier believes it is the duty of military personnel to follow orders, then I believe as a civilian I should do whatever I can to see that it is worth their sacrifice. Please don't ask us to become a country that cannot question our leaders!

This letter is written with the utmost respect to all veterans.

Mary Beyer



Dealing with feral cats involves several steps

A recent letter regarding feral cats was misguided and oversimplified. The writer said the SPCA should take in all healthy feral cats, stating that they are a nuisance to the neighborhoods they inhabit. What she failed to mention is that the SPCA hasn't got enough room now for surrendered and rescued animals, not to mention feral ones.

She also ignored the obvious: what to do with these practically wild animals. Having firsthand experience with feral cats as an SPCA employee and volunteer, I can tell you that they are not adoptable and will in most cases shred the closest human being. Therefore, taking these cats would not only be completely pointless, but also a danger to the staff and volunteers.

On top of all this, the SPCA runs solely on private donations -- we receive no government funds. Few people who trap a feral animal will be willing to pay for all of the medical care it receives during its stay, making feral animals an economic drain on the shelter, as well as a waste of space and resources.

Feral animals breed at such a high rate that removing one cat from an area would only allow more to inhabit its territory. Trap/Neuter/Vaccinate/Release is the only way to keep the population down while concurrently fending off disease.

Margaret Keddie



Unaffiliated party voices are fairly weak

The newest political protest among disillusioned voters is voicing their disdain for party politics by proudly registering independent. Don't they realize that they are thereby forfeiting their fundamental voting right to the primary?

Only party affiliates can vote in the primaries, and those few who bother to do so are choosing the candidates for the general election. So the independents are more dependent than ever, and we party members are doubly enfranchised. The rest get to vote for our choices.

I suggest that true independence consists in choosing viable candidates to run in the primaries, backing them all the way, exercising the vote and getting out the voters. For presidential elections, we're at the mercy of the money, but grass-roots action can influence local, county and state. The system works as well as we make it.

Barbara D. Holender


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