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Those who would convince others to kill are the enemy

A story often repeated to our military troops begins, "There are three kinds of people in this world -- sheep dogs, sheep and wolves." The heroes are the sheep dogs who protect the flock from wolves, willing to sacrifice their lives so sheep can live in peace.

The logic seems flawless if we accept the premise that there are only three kinds of people in the world; however, we know there are more. Included among them are liars, deceivers and manipulators who persuade loyal, brave and patriotic sheep dogs to do their bidding. Using selective history and emotional persuasion, deceitful people can describe and identify others as wolves and once the sheep dogs are persuaded, eradicating them is OK.

This story is taught in an effort to justify or persuade our troops that it's OK to kill. I can also imagine al-Qaida, the Taliban and every other "religious" army repeating the same story to its troops. All respond with resolve, willing to sacrifice their lives for their people.

Fooled into answering a bogus call for sheep dogs, I was wounded twice in the useless Vietnam War. Today, our veterans are being fooled again. Do wolves exist?

In 1967, Martin Luther King Jr. said the Hindu-Muslim-Christian-Jewish-Buddhist belief is summed up in the first epistle of Saint John: "Let us love one another for love is God. And every one that loveth is born of God and knoweth God. He that loveth not knoweth not God, for God is love."

On both sides of every dispute, the real wolves are the ones who persuade others it's OK to kill.

Fred Tomasello Jr.



Congress should ensure Treasury bonds are safe

This unnecessary fiasco in Congress has given investors new, unimaginable, fears. In the past, U.S. Treasury obligations were always the safest investment. Since the U.S. government controlled the supply of dollars and the bonds were payable in dollars, investors were always assured that they would be paid. The only risk was inflation; what purchasing power would the repaid dollars have? Now, it is questionable if there will be repayment.

Congress should pass a bill guaranteeing that Treasury bonds cannot default. In the event that the debt limit is approached, bond holders should have priority and receive all taxes collected. If tax revenue is not sufficient to pay the bonds that come due along with interest, the issuance of new debt should be automatic, but the payment of other government obligations, like the salaries of Congress, should not be paid. If investors were guaranteed that they would be paid before Congress and their cronies, you wouldn't need Standard & Poor's to tell you that Treasury bonds are safe.

Leonard J. Almquist, CPA



Gun control targets law-abiding citizens

I moved back to New York just over a year ago. During that year of re-establishing myself as a resident, I have become aware of just how many taxes and fees the state requires of its residents.

But now I feel I am being treated like a criminal. This came about when I inquired about owning and possessing a handgun. I am retired military with no criminal history and have owned and legally possessed handguns in many other states. The most I ever paid was $20 to apply for a pistol permit in North Carolina. In New York, I have to take a three-hour pistol permit class for $65, fill out a four-page application and pay another $20, then be fingerprinted, for another $100. My weapon is in North Carolina, so I have to arrange for it to be shipped from a dealer there to a dealer here, which will cost another $100-plus. All this so I can store my handgun in a safe in my house?

What ever happened to our Second Amendment rights? Anti-gun advocates apparently run our state. It appears to me all this gun control isn't really working, as I read almost daily of shootings in and around Western New York. This is all the more reason to make possessing a handgun by law-abiding citizens easier for protection of themselves, their families and property.

Patrick Jensen



Watson hits the mark with his Obama analysis

Kudos to Rod Watson for his recent column on us all paying for the deficit deal. President Obama is just not a leader -- he keeps caving in to all interests, and he is more of a "mediator" than a president. Our elected officials seem more concerned with fringe groups like the tea party. It used to be the majority rules, but in a democracy, the minority has the right to express its opinions. Now it seems that the minority rules, because the majority just cares about getting re-elected and the middle class is of no use except come election time. Growing up, I remember three words that described our country: "We, the People." It has now been replaced with: "We, the Corporations."

Mark R. Jones



Fewer resident hours could spell trouble

I read with great interest the Aug. 7 Viewpoints article titled "Limiting resident physicians' work hours will save lives." I am a mid-50s physician who was trained in the 100-plus hours-per-week model and I wonder when overtired residents make mistakes that the real fault lies in supervision. I remember being able to call an attending physician at home for advice, as well as my chief resident, who was in-house with me. Though I did the "grunt" work and was the eyes and ears of my surgical team overnight, I always felt free to call senior and chief residents when stumped or confused. I was always advised to take notes so I wouldn't forget critical lab values or verbal instructions from my superiors. And though I saw death during residency, I have always believed they got my and my team's best efforts.

I say this while the University at Buffalo School of Medicine has a policy of 60 hours per week in the hospital -- less than the mandated 80 hours -- so that the residents can read and study. On many occasions I've heard from the residents themselves that they use this as "personal" time -- in one case to join a co-ed volleyball team. Now I see nothing wrong with an easier lifestyle, except when I look at my present practice. On average, anesthesiologists work about 60 hours per week, even if they're 65 years old. If I hadn't been trained to think on my feet working 100 hours per week, I don't know how I'd act at 2 a.m. when called back into work. Today, I'm confident that I have the awareness as well as the knowledge to handle emergent surgery at any time of day or night.

Though I know it is common for the "older" generation to knock the younger generation, I wonder if, when my time comes for emergent care in the middle of the night, I will have someone who was told and believes that he or she can't handle it.

Paul B. Karas, M.D.


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