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EVERYBODY'S COLUMN

Zyglis' editorial cartoon further inflames emotions

I wish to express my displeasure with Adam Zyglis' editorial cartoon in the Jan. 11 News. I presume, too, that it is a reflection of The News' views since it appears to reflect its usual policy concerning the so-called right or far-right, though there is seldom any mention of a far-left.

E.J. Dionne's Jan. 11 column shows the one-sided view of The News' policy: "In honor of [Gabrielle] Giffords, the effort to drain the rhetorical swamps should be as nonpartisan as she was in her interview. It is wrong, at any point on the spectrum, she said, to 'incite people and inflame emotions.' "

It seems apparent that this is exactly the purpose of Zyglis' cartoon and, therefore, The News' intention also by publishing the cartoon. Any objective person who is familiar with the alleged assassin's history knows that there was no connection between his act of murder and Sarah Palin and the Republican Party. It is evident, though, that The News and the majority of the news media are determined to fabricate one.

Albert Huntz

Tonawanda

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Don't exploit tragedy for political purposes

The Jan. 11 editorial blaming the tragic shootings in Arizona on vitriol by the Republicans and Conservatives is a new low point for The News. It is perhaps the single-most biased, unprofessional, illogical editorial ever printed in The News. The editorial does exactly what it professes to condemn -- inflame and incite.

When this vitriol was being thrown at President George W. Bush and members of his administration, The News was silent. To take advantage of this tragedy for political purposes is absolutely shameless. Shame on The News.

Chuck Morlock

Hamburg

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Nation needs to address problem of mental illness

It is interesting that the pundits quickly state that we need to change the political culture. I agree. However, mental illness will exist even if the political climate changes. Let's have a discussion on increasing our efforts to cure mental illness. One in four people experiences a mental health problem. Few are violent, but many are tortured by unbearable symptoms. Affixing blame for this violent act on a "deranged" young man is only significant if we then say what is to be done about that. In a country full of riches, let's address this problem of mental illness.

Michele Brown

Executive Director

Compeer Buffalo

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Inflammatory rhetoric influences the unstable

The tragic shooting in Tucson, Ariz., may not be surprising. Perpetrators of hate speech and inflammatory rhetoric should be aware of the fragile uncertainty of troubled minds. Admonishing others to "target" political opponents; placing cross-hairs on a map; suggesting the implementation of Second Amendment rights -- with the obvious inference of taking up arms -- and; perhaps worst of all, the plea from a campaigning opponent to "help remove Gabrielle Giffords from office shoot a fully automatic M16" are all indications of the low level of responsibility that we are now seeing from established and prospective political representatives and advocates.

This horrific display of armed reaction to a peaceful gathering is the culmination of too much of the above, which coaxed a mentally troubled individual to make his own political point. Whether we like it or not, there are too many who believe he had that right. They have said so repeatedly in recent months, publicly and unashamedly. I hope they can realize their complicity in this heartbreaking affair.

I am watching to see which of our elected officials go beyond the ordinary platitudes of condolence and outwardly condemn inflammatory rhetoric and spite, and maybe apologize for any harm they may have brought about with their own vitriolic speech. This is the kind of change that people want to see. Without such a commitment, the people will once more be betrayed, none more so than those whose lives have been tragically shortened or altered for no good.

Brian Pawley

Williamsville

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Publication of cartoon showed poor judgment

I thought the editorial cartoon by Bill Day showing a target painted on the White House, supposedly by John Boehner and Mitch McConnell, was very offensive and inflammatory and served no journalistic purpose. It was humorless and ignorant and the timing of the printing days after the Arizona shootings showed very poor editorial judgment by The News.

Paul Fruehauf

Cassadaga

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DEC prohibits local laws banning hydrofracking

I could not help but shake my head in disbelief when I read The News article on Jan. 4 covering the Common Council hearing on a ban on hydrofracking for natural gas development within the city. Even if someone were proposing to hydrofrack in the city -- and no one would do so in an urban area like Buffalo which is, at best, at the edge of the Marcellus shale rock formation that contains natural gas -- the New York State Environmental Conservation Law expressly prohibits local laws or ordinances that ban or regulate natural gas production, including bans on hydrofracking.

Therefore, whether for or against producing natural gas from the Marcellus shale formation in New York State, the Council is tilting at windmills by considering such a ban. The DEC, which has the authority to regulate natural gas development, is currently finalizing its environmental impact statement governing such activities.

Dennis Harkawik

Buffalo

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We should promote use of waterfront year-round

Winter Trails Day, celebrated on Jan. 8, was a fine opportunity to show what is available on winter days in Buffalo. The parking lot at Tifft Nature Preserve was near capacity during the entire event, bringing people to the waterfront. The Small Boat Harbor was filled with those who enjoy ice fishing. I am sure many of the people at both of these locations would have enjoyed a nice lunch at Doug's Dive. Sadly that was not the case.

The road was open, the lot was plowed and the heat was on, judging from the smoke stack. How can we expect to draw outside investors to our community when we turn our back on a local restaurateur who was willing to give it a go? I sure hope NFTA Executive Director Kimberley Minkel can see the bigger picture and right this wrong. The closer we get to 24-hour, seven-day activity, the sooner we will reach the potential our waterfront has to offer for everyone and not a chosen few. We need to make the best use of what we have and build from there.

Patricia Pike

Kenmore

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