The Soapbox: More guns don’t equal more safety

By John Cappelletti

I am a retired teacher who does not agree with President Trump’s proposal to equip teachers with guns and echoing the NRA’s position that “The only thing that will stop a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun.”

But if the government is going to equip teachers with guns to prevent tragedies like the one in Florida on Valentine’s Day 2018 which was the 18th gun-related incident on school grounds this year, it must equip workers in other professions to prevent more tragedies in places where large groups congregate.

For example, if you’ve seen “The Godfather,” you know that hospitals are not necessarily safe. Shouldn’t the government require all doctors and nurses to have a Glock at their hips? And since we’ve had shootings in churches, shouldn’t priests, ministers, rabbis and imams display small handguns around their necks like pendants? Workers in government buildings like the post office in Edmond, OK, should have guns as well as those who work in shopping centers, theaters and concert halls, restaurants and sporting events like the Super Bowl and the World Series. Maybe the players could carry guns as part of their uniform. Think Tom Brady. Then James Brady.

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Opinion: A plea from a child of the 60s

By former Assemblyman Steven Sanders

I am reminded that in the 1960s when I was a teenager growing up in Stuyvesant Town and attending the local public schools, it was largely student agitation and protests that helped bring an end to the Vietnam War. In so doing they brought down a president. After all, most of the 58,000 American deaths were of kids barely out of high school.

Tragic events and fate now summons this generation of students and the millennials to do what their parents and grandparents have not been able to do, to stop the insane gun proliferation and resulting carnage funded by the NRA, and fueled by billion-dollar gun manufacturers who keep pumping out more and more lethal firearms. After all, it is so many students who are the victims of mass school shootings, the latest a high school in Parkland, Florida.

The thing about idealistic youth is that they know no limits and don’t know what they are not supposed to be able to achieve. And it is in this naïveté where success is realized. Won against all odds. Won in spite of the naysayers and pundits who say it cannot be done. The sports analogy would be a 22- year-old Cassius Clay boxing for the World’s Heavyweight Championship against Sonny Liston the toughest prizefighter on the planet. Or the 1980 upstart U.S. Olympic hockey team comprised of kids facing off against the awesome unbeatable Russian national team in Lake Placid.

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Opinion: A letter from a mom

By Former Assemblyman Steven Sanders

Last week, after the umpteenth rejection by Congress to pass any restrictions on the sale of guns, President Obama acted with an executive order to restrict online and gun show sales of weapons without a sufficient background check of the persons attempting to purchase firearms in this manner. Naturally he was immediately attacked by the National Rifle Association (NRA) and candidates seeking the support of the NRA.

Donald Trump, in his efforts to pander to the gun lobby this week even said that his “first” action as President would be to eliminate all “gun free zones,” in America including the ones near and on school grounds! Of all the outrageous remarks he has made as a candidate for President, that one is probably the saddest of all.

I have written much about efforts to enact sensible restrictions on the sale and possession of dangerous and deadly firearms. I have spoken about the culture of guns ingrained in the American experience. I have strenuously criticized Congress and candidates who look the other way in the face of mass murders with high powered assault weapons. I have trotted out statistics which show that since the assassination of President Kennedy with a mail ordered rifle, 1.5 million people have died at the hands of persons with guns. That is more deaths than all the American servicemen and women who died during all American wars spanning 240 years… combined! And still the politicians look the other way and pretend that the Second Amendment is inviolate and cannot be tampered with, even if a gun could propel a nuclear device. This is utter madness. These arguments fall on politicians ears drowned out by the sound of campaign cash and political endorsement by the NRA.

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Opinion: Cowards in Congress

By Former Assemblyman Steven Sanders

It’s not as if they are stupid. It’s not as if they do not read the newspapers. But a significant number of powerful members of Congress have proven to be utterly unresponsive and impotent in the face of the gun carnage going on in American cities almost every week. Worse than that, they are craven.

They proved it again last week.

Repeated mass murders are being committed by deranged individuals with military grade assault weapons.

They are perpetrating these atrocities out of some twisted ideology, warped personal grudges, or delusions. And our leaders of Congress are nowhere to be found. They are AWOL. They denounce the criminals, pray for the victims and walk away. Then it’s back to business as usual, which means bowing to the self-serving gun lobby and its supporters who are making a fortune from the sale of firearms.

Last week more than a dozen innocent bystanders were gunned down in a San Bernadino office building for the disabled. They were male, female, black, white, Asian and Hispanic. Hundreds of bullets fired into a crowd in a matter of seconds do not discriminate. The week before, three persons were shot to death in a Planned Parenthood facility in Colorado. These massacres are accomplished with easily and legally bought high powered assault weapons, again and again!

And if there are evildoers coming into this country with the intent of committing murder and mayhem, why would we not want to prevent them from accessing the means to carry out these despicable acts of violence?

In the face of that question, the United States Senate just days ago voted down a proposed ban on the sale of weapons to persons on the FBI terrorist watch list. The NRA is cheering that action while more families are burying their dead.

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Politics & Tidbits: Nine lives

Steven Sanders

Steven Sanders

By Former Assemblyman Steven Sanders

In previous columns I wrote that massacres with guns would continue until the U.S. Congress found the courage and intelligence to enact meaningful gun ownership restrictions.

So who can be surprised that a college campus in Oregon was yet the latest site of a mass murder?

The person who committed that heinous crime last week did so with legally purchased weapons. This time nine lives were lost to another deranged gunman. Nine more young people who were in the wrong place at the wrong time. Nine families shattered, nine more funerals and countless more expressions of sorrow and sympathy from our leaders in Congress… and then nothing more, just a little road bump in the life of Congress.

It seems that the gun zealots and the misguided Second Amendment purists have the proverbial “nine lives.” Nothing seems to be horrific enough to kill off their ambitions to see even more guns proliferate our streets and communities and with no regulations.

If they were not moved to action three years ago when twenty toddlers were gunned down at the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, what hope is there that this latest tragedy or the next one or the one after that will cause a change of heart or spur our weak-kneed Congress to finally act?

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No end in sight to gun violence

By former Assemblyman Steven Sanders

More gun fire, more tears, more grieving, more funerals, more hand wringing and finger pointing… No action in Congress.

This time the shooting occurred on real life reality television as a deranged person murdered a reporter and her cameraman on live TV, and by design. He methodically (and easily) purchased a gun following the shooting massacre several months ago in a Church in Charleston, South Carolina and then proceeded to carefully plot his televised crime. Ironically this horror came on the very day that James Holmes received his life imprisonment sentence for his 2012 massacre of 12 people in a Colorado movie theater. That shooting occurred the same year as the mass murder of two dozen toddlers in a Newtown Connecticut pre-school ten days before Christmas.

These are the gun related deaths that make the front pages. But every day nearly 100 Americans die from gun violence. This stunning figure stands in stark contrast to every other industrialized nation which has enacted tough laws restricting the access to firearms in their countries.

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Letters to the editor, Aug. 27


Sick of rowdy drunks that barrel though ST

In the wee hours of Sunday morning, August 16, from about 4 a.m. until well past 5 a.m., a drunken brawl broke out among ten pub crawling twenty-somethings in front of Playground 10 and the Oval fountain and near 19 Stuyvesant Oval.

“He punched me. He punched me. He punched me,” screamed one drunk female victim again and again at the top of her lungs.

Eventually responding to the shouting and cursing in two different areas, two security officers meandered to the scene and tried their best at drunken crowd control. They were not very effective! The scene went on for a very long time and must have prematurely awakened much of the previously sleeping community.

This pub crawling activity occurs every weekend and holiday on our transitioning “college campus” and security and management and ownership (although now mentioning a line on being good neighbors in the list of suggestions for new tenants), has done nothing despite many and frequent complaints to act in a proactive, substantial manner. They need to stem the tide of drunken rowdy behavior by the twenty somethings that now rule the night.

Do we have a large enough security force on the night shift? Do they have the necessary mandate and willingness to enforce disturbing the peace rules and regulations? Does security have the training and ability to move these unruly tenants along or have them arrested? If you can’t do the job, call in the NYPD and set the tone for the next drunken lot to appear next weekend.

Perhaps some readers have missed out on this nightly occurrence of shouting, cursing, singing, chanting, hosting outdoor parties from 3:30 to 5 a.m. every weekend and holiday. Let’s set a precedent, make some arrests, evict some of these tenants and let’s take back our law-abiding, courteous tenant population.

Name withheld, ST

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Letters to the Editor, Jan. 17

Cheers for CompassRock

Cheers for CompassRock!
Or their diligence I shall speak!
They’ve repaired a village in a week.
The fliers and organized way they informed us gave a sense of peace and relief.
Our problems were numerous but not beyond belief.
And we really couldn’t make a fuss.
Lights in five, elevator and automatic gas in seven
Almost like being in a second heaven.
Heat and hot water in 10. Television in 21.
Boy, life was once again fun.
But landlines were always a stress.
They proved to be a mess.
The generators even stopped humming in the night.
Unfortunately still visible in the dawn daylight.
Another rarity to be found
Are tents in the playground.
Soon snow will come over the ground
And hide the destruction that did surround,
And spring will come back with its greens and flowers,
With its winds, breezes and frequent showers.
And all the bad things will be things of the past,
Because we know our misery doesn’t last.

N.J. Glaser, PCV

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