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EVERYBODY'S COLUMN

Health care editorial was disrespectful to readers

I was so surprised to read the editorial "The entitlement crisis" in The News, a newspaper I consider to be reasonable and responsible. The tone of this editorial was disrespectful, and the content full of inaccurate information and simplistic, mean-spirited rhetoric. The repeated use of the insulting and dismissive name "Obamacare" for the Affordable Care Act disrespects our president, our elected officials and all of the people in this country who rely on these "entitlements" -- a word that has come to be used most often in a pejorative way.

I am the first to insist on fiscal responsibility; we are out of control as a country. There are many ways to reduce the budget and encourage fiscal accountability without putting so much of the weight of economic recovery on the backs of our most vulnerable citizens -- the elderly, the poor, the sick and children. And the reason the Associated Press poll shows declining public support for the Affordable Care Act is due primarily to the inadequate and often biased information most people have about this legislation. The media have not done due diligence in presenting the facts about the act.

How many readers of The News or their family members have ever received Social Security, Medicare or Medicaid? Many. Why would The News print an editorial that is so disrespectful to readers? Why not provide a thoughtful piece on the complexities of balancing the budget, one that encourages our leaders to find sustainable, long-term solutions to the health care dilemma?

As a woman living with Stage IV breast cancer -- cancer that has spread throughout my body through no fault of mine -- I rely on Social Security and Medicare for survival and essential health care. Wouldn't the writer of this editorial want this safety net for himself, or for his mother, sister, friend, neighbor or wife?

Robin E. Connors

Dunkirk

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I'm blessed to be part of Catholic community

I intended to speak to our parish priest with these thoughts, but in light of some of the recent letters in The News, I chose this medium. I am grateful for my faith. (My choice, by the way.) I am blessed to be a part of my faith community. (Catholic, again by choice). I am grateful for those who work and worship with me and especially for those who skillfully and spiritually guide us along the way.

Patricia Ahrens

Hamburg

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People are hungering for a divine encounter

There have been several letters written lately concerning frustrations with the church. I wonder if people are aware of the fact that according to research done by William D. Hendricks, 53,000 devoted Christians are walking out of their churches weekly, not planning to return, because they want to be closer to God and the "church service" seems to be standing in the way? Most of those who departed are saying they are indeed closer to God.

There was a day when attending church meant having a face-to-face encounter with Christ. Those who had that experience told others and the church grew exponentially. That is how revivals happened. It is time to become more serious. We are in trouble as a nation and this is partly because the church is more and more imitating the world when God's presence is needed most. We must get back to leading by producing changed lives that the world could actually see. Not just by being louder and more visible. Otherwise we are merely one more busy program, one more religious argument, one more building on a street corner with a building program.

When the church as a whole is hemorrhaging members, isn't it time to get back to God as the reason to gather every week rather than just singing and clapping our hands? Our nation isn't in need of another entertaining event, one more experiment, while people are hungering for a divine encounter with God. As other people in this column have stated, it is time to get back to reading God's word. And when someone tells you that words therein mean the exact opposite of what you are reading, don't believe them.

Ron Wilson

East Amherst

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No one should profit from Cummings' death

There are few topics that would compel me to write to this column more than once on a particular subject. The Laura Cummings case is one that holds this distinction. This extreme case of familial dehumanization of one innocuous young woman would have to shake even the most hardened among us. The tales of physical and sexual abuse, as well as all other documented atrocities against Cummings, have left me with an indelible mark of pain.

Therefore, as an addendum to Donn Esmonde's thought-provoking column in the April 24 paper, I must address the lawsuit mentioned on behalf of Cummings' estate. I applaud attorney Terry Connors for his quest in seeking justice for Cummings, and holding accountable all of those whose misdeeds led to this avoidable tragedy. This could serve as the catalyst for implementing necessary changes, with more strict and stringent guidelines for Social Services to follow.

However, if anyone -- family members included -- benefits financially from Cummings' death, then I believe we will have witnessed the second travesty of justice regarding this case. No one is deserving to profit from this blood money, since so much more could have and should have been done.

Elizabeth D. Sikorski

West Seneca

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Some have no respect for laws and authority

Having grown up in the '60s, I have witnessed my share of police brutality, and certainly it is a disturbing injustice. But may I add that, having seen it, I've never had the desire to step on the wrong side of the law, either. The real problem here and now is that there literally is very little to no respect for the laws, the lawmakers or the law keepers in this society, and this trickles down to no respect for anyone.

I have spent 32 years on the streets of Buffalo as a bus driver, and I have witnessed the steady decline of human responsibility and respect on a daily basis. Despite new laws, steeper fines, zero tolerance and harsher penalties, there is a "no fear" attitude that rules the streets now more than ever before.

Quite frankly, perhaps Donn Esmonde's April 22 column about the NFTA police will serve to rattle someone enough to think twice before messing with a cop, regardless of who is right or wrong. Cops rush into the eye of the storm on a daily basis. Their patience is stretched beyond measure every day at crime scenes, accidents, senseless killings and the list goes on and on. I don't think I want to find out the hard way which police officer is going to snap on me.

Henry Chlebowski

Buffalo

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