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Everybody's Column

Making false 911 calls should be a felony offense

There has been a point that has been overlooked in the media coverage of the thousands of false calls to Buffalo's 911 system. That is the overwhelming danger that first responders and citizens are exposed to because of this nuisance.

Any time an emergency vehicle turns its lights and sirens on, its chances of being involved in an accident are increased. That puts these individuals directly in harm's way, not to mention the public as well.

And what about the legitimate person in desperate need of an emergency response? Will police, fire and emergency medical services be able to answer the call when a real emergency is taking place? First responders will always be discouraged by false calls but, more than anything, they will always be concerned that they won't be able to help someone who truly needs their services.

False calls should be a felony offense. They risk the lives of our citizens and the brave men and women whose job it is to keep our streets and neighborhoods safe.

Cliff Smith

Operations Manager Rural/Metro Medical Services


Cartoons are being published because issue is newsworthy

Leonard Pitts, as usual, has brought much light and heat to the controversy surrounding publication of cartoons satirizing the Prophet Muhammad. However, he is wrong to claim in his March 8 column that "there's no purpose in publishing them save provocation for provocation's sake."

It is amazing how few news writers, journalists and columnists have missed the point that this is all news, and newsworthy. The editors of Free Inquiry agreed to publish the cartoons with this in mind. It is one thing to argue that some newspapers published them to intentionally anger Muslims. However, is it not true that the public has a right to know what the controversy is all about?

Sometimes the news offends. Photos of lynchings, charred human remains of victims of accidents or wars and other grotesque scenes are offensive to many. The shocking photo of the murdered Emmett Till in the 1950s was too much for many to bear. However, courageous and responsible journalists must feel obligated to respect the public's right to know. There can be no truly free press without the right to fully report "offensive" news stories.

Norm R. Allen Jr.

Deputy Editor, Free Inquiry



Reprinting Danish cartoons of Muhammad is a bad idea

I read, but couldn't believe, that Free Inquiry magazine in Amherst is going to publish some of the Danish cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad. How gallant the editors are -- they will not be intimidated by fear and have the right to free expression. Well, that's all well and good. That's OK in this country, where everything is a joke and God is replaced by cops in our schools.

But there are some places in this world where people take their religion very seriously. If there is bloodshed and death with the new posting of these cartoons, the editors should be held accountable. In fact, I suggest they take a few hundred copies of their magazine and sell them on a street corner in Iraq. I'm sure they would get a real taste of what is happening in this world.

Ken Zuchlewski



Waterfront development comes too late for many

I think a cemetery should be added to the new master plan for waterfront development. This is to ensure that those of us who have been waiting a quarter of a century or more will someday get some use out of the harborfront.

Lorna Lippes



Catholic Diocese's plan aims to improve ministry

In reference to Mary Kunz Goldman's March 6 column, I suggest that she and Common Council President David Franczyk read the document "Journey in Faith and Grace" published by the Buffalo Catholic Diocese. The process is not about downsizing. It is about improved ministry.

The purpose of the Catholic Church is to help people grow in holiness, not plant gardens or clean up neighborhoods. Whether Franczyk wants to hear it or not, the Church is not about buildings. It is about people.

Goldman's reference to Mother Teresa was absurd. Mother Teresa had nothing to begin with, so how could she downsize? When she did get money, she helped the dying on the streets of India and elsewhere. She did not build churches or plant gardens.

Furthermore, the author of a March 6 letter suggested that Father Baker would turn over in his grave if he knew people in the church were being paid for their services. Does she think those who worked for Father Baker were not paid?

Monsignor John W. Madsen

Pastor, St. Barnabas Church



Mom who abandoned girl must be held accountable

In response to the comments made about the woman who left her 2-year-old daughter in the bathroom at Sisters Hospital, yes, it should get media attention and she should be treated like a criminal. Why should the handling of this case make other people nervous to approach a safe way to hand over their child if necessary? It would not be criminal to put your child in the hands of someone who would keep her safe, rather than abandoning her alone, probably frightened and wondering.

It sickens me to hear people have sympathy for this person they are portraying to be a poor young mother. What if that child was picked up by a killer or molester? If something terrible happened to that child after she was left like a puppy, would all these people still be saying "that poor mother"?

Lisa Burgos



South Dakota merits praise for trying to stop abortion

In her March 8 column, Molly Ivins scoffs at South Dakota's decision to make abortion illegal. I applaud it! Finally, the first state has taken steps to stop the insanity in this country. Society is weakened and the moral fabric of humanity torn when we pass laws that devalue human life. We must do everything possible to make a commitment to preserve the dignity and sacredness of life in all its stages.

Unfortunately, Ivins and many others in the media and political arena tend to marginalize the issue by exploiting the exception to the rule; the one that pulls on our heart strings. The argument is not about men making decisions about a woman's right to choose, it's about making the right decision before an innocent life is conceived.

Is our country stronger, safer and better since abortion became legal? I guess that is a decision we all have to make, but I'm thinking of moving to South Dakota.

Dawn Curazzato



Politicians at all levels are failing us miserably

I cannot believe all the political bickering and indiscriminate decision making at all levels of government -- local, state and federal. Facts and fact-finding are nonexistent and the truth is rarely believed. We have got to get rid of this head-in-the-sand society. Why can't we outsource these positions somehow and hire and fire people based on merit? There has got to be a better way to reach a level of competency to make sensible progress during our lifetime.

Bill Helfrich

Orchard Park

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