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Everybody's Column

Encourage people to buy cars that will help planet

George Will has written a fine column concerning, among other things, the negative environmental impacts from the production of the gasoline/electric Toyota Prius hybrid vehicle. But I disagree with his suggestion the life of a Toyota will be only 109,000 miles, even if the expensive batteries in the Prius have to be replaced at those miles. Just changing batteries at that mileage and keeping a Prius drastically changes the vehicle life cost comparison with a Hummer.

I have owned and driven, for many hundreds of thousands of miles, six sub-compacts, one compact and, most recently, two Prius cars. I hope to replace my second Prius with a third since I am concerned with reducing our purchase of foreign oil for national security reasons. I am not an environmentalist.

If, as a matter of policy, the federal government wishes to award rebates to those whose purchase of cars truly helps clean our air and also reduces our dependence on foreign oil, then may I suggest it provide rebates only to purchasers of gasoline-only sub-compacts provided these vehicles, like my Prius, have ABS brakes, traction control and electronic stability control. Then people will be encouraged to buy the smallest cars that will help America and our planet.

Peter Marcus

Olean

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Child at Pepsi Center owes man an apology

First of all, I don't condone the behavior of Charles Schmidl, who put a 10-year-old child in a headlock at the Amherst Pepsi Center, according to accounts published in The News.

However, for just a moment, let's focus on the behavior of the child. He could have physically hurt Schmidl and his 5-year-old son by shooting pucks at them, yet he chose to continue despite being asked to stop. The child was harassing Schmidl and his son, swearing at them and taunting them. The child was putting the well-being of others at risk by his actions and seemed to have no remorse.

In my opinion, this child needed to be escorted off the ice rink, but it should have been done by one of his parents. Where were they when this was going on? Despite the level of rink supervision at the Pepsi Center, the primary supervisors of this child should be his parents.

The child should be held accountable and be ashamed for his actions. In my opinion, he owes Schmidl and his son an official, public apology along with a statement of why what he did was wrong. An opportunity to be able to help others though some volunteerism in the community might serve the 10-year-old well, along with some time to reflect on how his actions affect those around him.

Jennifer Patterson

Orchard Park

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How can NBC justify airing killer's video?

Last week, NBC announced the cancellation of the Don Imus program on MSNBC based on racist remarks he made about the Rutgers University women's basketball players. NBC released a statement that read, "What matters to us most is that the men and women of NBC Universal have confidence in the values we have set for this company."

Yesterday, I read that the Virginia Tech killer, Cho Seung-Hui, had mailed a video manifesto to NBC that essentially gave the mass killer "the last word."

NBC President Steve Capus called the material "hard-to-follow . . . disturbing, very disturbing -- very angry, profanity-laced." NBC didn't find it disturbing enough to decline its showing and promoted the material all night long on its various news programs.

Airing the video rantings and posed gun-toting photographs of a deceased mass killer to the families of the murdered victims and the rest of the world was permissible to NBC. Yet it removed a program where an aging shock jock made a racial comment. This seems, at best, hypocritical. NBC should re-evaluate its company morals.

Walter Reeves

West Seneca

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Remember the victims of the Iraq War, too

As we mourn the innocent lives of those who were killed or wounded in the shooting rampage at Virginia Tech, we must also remember the tens of thousands of innocent victims of the war in Iraq. We must bring to mind these innocent people who were also in the wrong place at the wrong time, and the people who are losing their lives or being seriously wounded every day in Iraq because of our insurgence.

Then we must remember that the hundreds of billions being drained by our defense budget from the people in this country are creating other victims. Tens of millions of our people are living in poverty, many in the shadows.

And hundreds of millions of people are in truly dire poverty throughout the world because this administration prefers a military solution to a humanitarian solution to the world's ills.

These priorities can change if we truly participate in our democracy by keeping our elected officials aware of the true priorities of our country by thoughtful e-mails, phone calls, faxes and letters.

Susan Stievater

Amherst

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Not all veterans are happy with care at local hospital

Recently, a few fellow veterans wrote promoting the good care they have been receiving at Veterans Hospital here in Buffalo. I, too, am a veteran who served for 13 years until I became ill. Sadly, I must dissent with the others on the quality of care received at the hospital over the last few years. When I became sick again in 2000, I encountered a care program that was very ineffective. It took five years for this facility to acknowledge I had a treatable medical condition. And the doctors arrived at this conclusion only after I had started to transition into the Kaleida Health network, where I remain today.

I expressed my dissatisfaction to the VA inspector general about the difficulties I had as I sought treatment in Buffalo. All I will say is that Veterans Affairs will go to great lengths to protect itself from the truth. There are a couple of good doctors in place there, I do not doubt this, but the maze of bureaucracy to get to them is, at best, difficult.

Mark B. Cheney

Buffalo

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How can the pope throw science out the window?

Last week in The News, there were several articles about Pope Benedict XVI's new book "Jesus of Nazareth." In his book, he criticized Darwin's theory of evolution. I do not understand how theologians can just throw science out the window. Darwin's theory has just as much "proof" as the Bible does.

The pope also criticized capitalism and Marxism. He talked about exploitation of the poor but denounced Marxism because it was Godless. Now that the pope has turned 80, maybe in his next book he can tell us where to find that utopia that he believes exists.

Kenneth C. Pitman

Alden

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