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EVERYBODY'S COLUMN / Letters from our readers

Editorial was offensive to many in community

The News has stooped to the level of attacking tens of thousands of its own readers, advertisers, employees and business associates. On Jan. 11, I opened The News to find an editorial and an Adam Zyglis cartoon assigning blame for the Arizona massacre to a number of conservative politicians, media personalities and Fox News. I have considered numerous editorials and cartoons throughout the years disagreeable, overly partisan, misinformed, biased or wrong. I don't remember any of them falling to this level of indecency. It makes me doubt that The News even recognizes a sizable portion of our community is made up of either conservatives or people sympathetic to various elements of the conservative agenda.

The News' position on conservatism questions not only the political judgment of these people, but their decency, their good nature and their humanity. Is this how the liberals at The News think of people who disagree with their political agenda? Is this The News' idea of creating a civil discourse between political opponents?

I have been reading politics and opinion in The News for many years, not because I agree with every point of view, but because The News had always been civil. I can no longer count on that. I'll have to look elsewhere for reasonable political opinion.

Terrence Henry

Williamsville

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News is promoting anger and rhetoric

I was shocked, but not surprised, by the Jan. 11 editorial page. The News sought to score political points with the tragedy in Arizona. Its attempt to mitigate rhetoric from the left and assign blame to the right wing is a travesty of journalism even on the editorial page. Considering that cartoonists, MSNBC commentators and guests have often wished violent deaths for President George W. Bush and other conservative figures, used a sexually vulgar term not only for politicians but for everyday people just out on the streets exercising their rights, and never ceased to use Nazi images for the former president, The News' blinders seem to be working perfectly.

Personally in the Buffalo area, I have been given the finger, cursed at and have witnessed little kids being bombarded with f-bombs just for speaking out on the right to life. I would agree with a fair editorial about the need to tone down the rhetoric, but not one in which you character assassinate the right. This is the type of journalism that actually promotes anger and rhetoric. From my point of view, the vulgar rhetoric and the actual violence stems more from the left.

The Rev. Peter M. Calabrese

Associate Director, National Shrine Basilica of Our Lady of Fatima, Youngstown

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Finger pointing only deepens the division

Why is The News so biased against those who see through the veil of deception that has clouded our country with high taxes, unemployment and debt through this administration? Blaming conservatives and Republicans and yes, even Carl Paladino, for a mentally unstable young man just so you can push the button for more gun control and government intervention is wrong.

Let's look at this for what it is. An education system that failed. Parents frightened to discipline their children for fear Big Brother will reprimand them. There were warning signs all over the place that this young man was not right. As a conservative Republican, I take umbrage with The News trying to lump insanity under my umbrella when I see irresponsible leadership in the liberal Democrat agenda.

This sadness should have been an opportunity for The News to help bridge a tragic time in our country, instead of further deepen the division by ludicrous finger pointing.

Joanne Zabielski

Hamburg

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Nation should never stifle political views

If ever I read an editorial that was written with "overheated" comment, it was the editorial titled, "Time to stop," in the Jan. 11 News. To blame the actions of a killer on radio and TV political commentary seems to be a flagrant attempt to stifle certain commentators and the American people as a whole, when they find the gall to question the decisions of our government. Are we as American citizens to accept any decree that comes out of Washington, D.C., without question, no matter how damaging it could be to our country?

If The News has such a bias against the commentators mentioned, then tell us where we are to go to hear about the goof-ups, discrepancies, secret deals and frauds perpetrated by those in power. If these commentators are wrong, then prove them wrong. Germany in the '30s and '40s could have used opposing political commentators like these to stop the Nazi misery that Hitler imposed on the world. How far would he have gotten if there had been free speech on the airways offered by the likes of the people The News would like to stifle? Jared Loughner is a sick individual, an anti-social psychopath, provoked to senseless violence for reasons known only to him.

Norman Machynski

Cheektowaga

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Stop linking victory to weapons, violence

Has the far right gone completely insane? The debate over the rampage in Arizona has resulted in comments being thrown across the aisle in both directions; the victims of this horrible tragedy seem to be of lesser importance than trying to place blame. One thing we must all agree on is that starting right now, words linking victory in an election to any type of weapons or violence should never be used.

The brilliant Sharron Angle, when criticized for inflammatory speech in her loss in the Nevada senatorial election, uttered the following quote: "If this Congress keeps going the way it is, people are really looking toward those Second Amendment remedies."

I'm surprised she didn't mention that those Second Amendment rights should be preceded by insuring the accuracy of those surveyor's marks.

Larry Karmel

Orchard Park

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How will we prevent more tragic killings?

Don't tell me that the rhetoric from the left and the right, when it comes to "Second Amendment remedies," is equal, as suggested by The News. It is the political right that finds boogie men in all progressives and places cross-hairs on their future. It is the political right that sits in silence as legal medical service providers are murdered or 30,000 fellow citizens a year are killed by guns and 200,000 are wounded.

Any attempt at proper registration of firearms or controls on the need for the caliber of weapons or the character of the people who buy them is met with total resistance by the NRA and its lobbyists. Any notion of repeal to the Second Amendment is met with defiance, threat or secession from the lunatic right. Meanwhile, the rest of us watch as they wear their holstered guns at political rallies, hunt with AK-47s and sit on their hands as more and more students are murdered in classrooms and Americans are massacred at work or in the streets.

Once again, the burning question exists. How will we, as a nation, prevent the next one? For as night follows day, there certainly will be another.

Leonard Gross

East Amherst

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Deranged man appears to have acted on his own

In Tucson the shots rang out, six people were killed, 14 were wounded and the speculation ran rampant. Why would someone do this? The sheriff knew, immediately blaming it on "the vitriol that comes out of certain mouths about tearing down the government." Of course this was just the start of the parade of voices eagerly waiting to assign blame. It was the right-wing talk show hosts like Rush Limbaugh. It was the metaphors extrapolated from the gun culture or the availability of guns in general.

Current and has-been politicians were allowed to lick their political wounds by blaming gutter politics. Rep. Bobby Rush from Chicago even went so far as to say that political leaders who supported President Obama could be in particular danger. And as the full picture comes into view, what appears to be the culprit? Just a lone, deranged individual with a twisted interpretation of reality. Such is the danger of trying to make sense of something so senseless. Were the actions of that gunman any more irrational than some of the reactions we heard afterward? We all want answers. Unfortunately, the hard truth is, sometimes there just aren't any.

Bob Pfeiffer

Buffalo

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Russian hockey team set a poor example

Russia's junior hockey team took Gold in the championship game, but is that reason to get drunk and out of control? While some may say, "they're just kids celebrating a big win," others would argue that this celebration comes with more consequences than just harmless fun.

Alcohol is used by millions to celebrate the good times and drown out the bad times. Most of the junior players, who are under the legal drinking age in the United States, were at a hotel getting hammered after the big win.

The consequence of not being able to fly home the next day (their Christmas) may seem minimal, but there are more legal and social consequences than just a delayed trip home. If the players were in fact underage, this may pose legal troubles for the Adams Mark Hotel, where the team was drinking. It also raises the question: Is this winning team demonstrating a poor example to its young fans?

Young fans around the world were shocked at their remarkable comeback and had eyes on the winning team. When these fans see their role models consuming such large quantities of alcohol and getting severely ill in airport restrooms, it doesn't exactly set a good example. The airline was right to not allow the team on the flight.

Megan Kunecki

Community Educator, Erie County

Council for the Prevention of Alcohol and Substance Abuse

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Buffalo did a great job with hockey tournament

From a Canadian hockey fan who visited Buffalo three times for games during the world junior tournament, please know that your city did a great job. In no particular order:

1.) Many of us came down for the game, some beer and wings (OK, lots of beer and wings) and went home. Many people still had to work, and/or had family holiday obligations. Our short stays are a reflection of the time and days of games, not of Buffalo.

2.) We never knew anything about "Fan Fest" until reading about it later in the paper. I'm sure it was/could have been a great event. But the reality is we came for hockey, beer and wings. The pubs close to the arena and the tent were great fun, and there was little need to wander even a couple of blocks anyway.

3.) We hope we were all polite and respectful. If some of us forgot our manners, we apologize. And if you can tell us who they are, we will confiscate their Canada jersey.

4.) Obviously, we wanted gold, but the Russians stepped up and beat our kids at our own game. Good for them. Team USA had a far better team than it showed; the difference for them was lack of fan support. We love the Sabres, too, but get behind your junior hockey and soon you will be traveling for hockey, beer and local delicacies. (Yes, Buffalo wings are a delicacy. Have you ever had Toronto wings? Didn't think so.)

Thanks for a great tournament, Buffalo. You get our vote the next time Hockey USA is looking for a host city.

Neil Burrows

Terrace, British Columbia

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There's not much to do around HSBC Arena

When I heard Emerson Etem's comments about Buffalo, I could only agree with him. I have no idea what downtown Medicine Hat looks like, but if it has a central core of shops and restaurants, he's probably right. For any hockey fans who made arrangements to stay near the arena, options were limited as far as walking around and sightseeing.

When I visit another city, I'm interested in getting outside my hotel, walking to shops and restaurants. Tourists looking to do the same probably would have been happy with the Elmwood Strip, but many did not have their own transportation and did not venture that far from the arena. I would love to see our waterfront developed with shopping and restaurants so we don't have to go through this every time a large group of people visit our city.

I volunteered at the tournament and found our visitors to be personable and ready to have a good time rather than grumbling about our weather. Since most of the visitors were Canadians, their winter is about the same as ours. The big difference for them was on the off days with no games, there just wasn't much to do within the confines of downtown.

Anne Duffy

Buffalo

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Collins has no clue what it's like for poor

After reading the article in the Jan. 12 paper, I had to write. I don't know where County Executive Chris Collins gets his information, but all poor families cannot afford eyeglasses or dentists. If you are on welfare or one of the working poor or lower middle class, glasses and dental work are the last items you can afford. Most glasses cost more than $100, and a dental cleaning runs around $100.

While I agree that Medicaid needs to be reformed, taking away benefits for glasses and dental treatment is wrong. Health care should be a right of all Americans. There are other areas the county can cut, like paying for travel to and from doctor's appointments.

By the way, I am not receiving any welfare benefits but I did more than 20 years ago when I was a single mother. So I know what the poor and working poor can afford, and glasses and dental visits are not included.

I suggest Collins try living on welfare benefits or minimum wage and then he will see that not all poor families can afford glasses or dental care. It's obvious from his comments that the wealthy have no idea what it is like. Health care should not be just for the wealthy but available to all.

Andrea L. Kuryak

Lackawanna

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Reform Medicaid, but don't cut benefits

Our family is using Medicaid for which it was intended: a short-term crutch while a life-threatening illness disables my husband. Money is tight enough having to live off Social Security disability benefits and the kindness of family and friends, but now County Executive Chris Collins wants to take away from the program. Our situation is one of the reasons the program was formed. Instead of reducing benefits for those who truly need it, why not reform the system? Reducing benefits is just a Band-Aid and not the solution. Remove the people who use it as a way of life. That is the solution.

Joy Carr

Depew

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Collins out of touch with the real world

Chris Collins states that "There isn't a single family that cannot provide eyeglasses." Oh how out of touch with reality our county executive is. He must be off in Collinsland somewhere and not in the nation's third poorest city. Ignorance is truly bliss.

Mary Kohl

Williamsville

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Palin is deserving of fall from grace

It started with Marilyn Monroe, maybe earlier. But be assured, all pop culture media darlings -- whether in the entertainment industry, politics or sports -- whose careers are made and/or prolonged by the media, also inevitably find that their downfall is also fueled by that same media. As in Monroe's case, the downfall is often unfair, prolonged and tragic.

The soon-to-be-latest media victim is the one and only Sarah Palin. Never has a media darling been on the cusp of world power as she was. The sad events of Tucson have handed her a ticket to nowhere. This fall from grace will not be unfair, or prolonged, or tragic. The Sarah PAC target poster, which may prove to be the worst idea ever in a political campaign, especially since its sponsor was not running for an office at the time it was distributed, has seen to that, regardless of its actual level of impact on the Tucson shooter.

Unlike Monroe, who was by all accounts a sympathetic victim to her fame, Palin is an ironic and deserving victim to her lust for the limelight, relevance, credibility and good old-fashioned money. At the end of her crash, which is happening as I write, she will land out of the limelight, be eventually, if not already, irrelevant in any arena, and not ever have been considered as a credible candidate for the presidency. She will, however, have her money.

Dann Wulf

Orchard Park

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Looks like Palin needs another history lesson

As a Jew, I find it repugnant that Sarah Palin misused the term "blood libel" to describe the way many journalists and pundits covered the Tucson violence. The term refers only to falsely accusing Jews of murdering children to obtain blood for use in making matzos for Passover. It is wrong for anyone to use "blood libel" in any other way. Palin needs another history lesson.

Errol Daniels

East Amherst

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