Gipson's integrity is unquestionable
The honesty and integrity of Buffalo Police Commissioner H. McCarthy Gipson have surfaced through the news media. I had the pleasure and honor of working the streets of Buffalo with the commissioner for over 30 years. Mac, as we all called him, was not only a great police officer, but a great person as well.
During the years I have known and worked with Mac, his honesty and integrity never were questioned. When it came to police work, it didn't matter what color you were or who you knew, he always did his job with the utmost professionalism. The people who are insinuating that he was involved in a coverup regarding the incident with Mayor Byron Brown should be ashamed of themselves. This is especially true of the lawmakers who approved his appointment.
The police commissioner's role involves much more than the investigation of a traffic incident. I feel an immediate apology is in order. Those of us who know him feel the questioning of his honesty and integrity is purely unfounded.
Paul R. Delano Sr.
Buffalo detective sergeant, retired
Story on man's death was highly insensitive
On Easter Sunday, I read the most insensitive, one-sided and unprofessional piece of "reporting" that I have ever encountered. It was the article concerning the unfortunate demise of a local businessman. I was both appalled and disgusted by this, but not shocked, since The News has done irresponsible reporting before. Our prayers and sympathies are for the devastated family that had to read this trash.
Abstinence-only programs omit critical information
The recently released federal report on the failure of abstinence-only education to demonstrate effectiveness in delaying teen sexual activity highlights the need to redirect taxpayer dollars into programs that really work. Realistic, scientifically accurate health education keeps our children safer; abstinence is just one part of good sex education. Abstinence-only programs, which the federal government currently funds, are a dangerous substitute for messages that actually help prevent HIV and unintended pregnancy.
Communities within Western New York continue to have some of the highest teen pregnancy rates in the state. Our children need and deserve comprehensive sex education. Let's stop wasting our limited resources on programs that just don't work. Real sex education saves lives and creates healthier communities.
Chief Executive Officer, Planned Parenthood of Western New York
Parents need to be held accountable
I've read the father's account of the deliberate shooting of pucks at him and his son by a 10-year-old boy, and heard a description of the boy's expletives regarding a suggestion that he direct them elsewhere. But where is the boy's mother in all this dialogue? All we've heard is that she called the police. Does anyone take responsibility anymore? The suggestion that the Pepsi Center police the rink is probably a good one, but why aren't parents responsible for their child's behavior? If they were held accountable, I wonder just how many incidents would occur.
Don't give killer so much attention
I am disgusted by the news coverage of the tragedy at Virginia Tech, especially the airing of Seung-Hui Cho's video. Brian Williams of "Nightly News" described the tape as rambling nonsense, but that didn't stop NBC from airing it continuously. Listening to the news reports left me sad and angry with the killer, but also angry with the media.
Of course the public needs to know about such tragedies, but describing the horrors of every other shooting only brings additional attention to violence. As every teacher knows, the week of April 20 -- the tragedy at Columbine -- is one of heightened tension in all schools.
Instead of focusing on the obviously disturbed Cho, why not shine the light on Liviu Librescu, the professor and Holocaust survivor who gave his life to protect his students? Or when covering the anniversary of Columbine, maybe the media could educate the public about "Rachel's Challenge," a program the Scott family created in memory of their daughter Rachel, which challenges students to create a "chain reaction" of kindness.
There is no doubt in my mind that the Virginia Tech massacre will not remain the most deadly school shooting in history. The media's spotlight will ensure that.
It's not Amtrak's fault when trains run late
In regard to the April 7 item, "Rails to ruin," let's set the record straight. Nine out of 10 times, late Amtrak trains in the Empire corridor are caused not by Amtrak, but by CSX. It owns the tracks and CSX freights often block the way and prevent Amtrak trains from running on time. The answer is dedicated tracks for Amtrak. Space exists for them where the old New York Central tracks were.
The Lake Shore Limited comes out of Chicago and often runs late because of delays between Chicago and Buffalo. Seasoned Amtrak travelers avoid that train and take eastbound trains originating in Niagara Falls, which usually are on time.
Amtrak operates under a seriously inadequate budget. President Bush wants to make further cuts for 2008, totaling 38 percent, in order to add military funding. Two bills are now before Congress that would reject such budget cuts and make further improvements in rail passenger service. I urge everybody who likes trains but hates delays to write their congressional representatives in support of Senate Bill 294 and House Resolution 1300.
Cheney is a big fan of the war in Iraq
What two words in the English language go together with "war" and "czar" better than "Dick" and "Cheney"? President Bush, stop the presses, call off the search committee and cancel that request to central casting; your war czar is the man sitting to your immediate right, the Honorable Richard "don't call be Bruce" Cheney. He's crass, autocratic and a huge fan of your war in Iraq.
Cheney has never seen combat or served in the miliary, but he has shot a man. He loves to be in charge, he adores the imperial presidency and he can be pretty darn cranky when he wants to. Since Bush is perfectly OK with abdicating his responsibilities as commander in chief, why not throw the ball to Cheney and let him run with it for awhile. At the very least, it'll pass some time, as we anxiously await the arrival of January 2009, which cannot get here soon enough.