Don’t ignore corporate role in debate over guns
In the wake of con- tinuing and perhaps spiraling gun violence across the national landscape and public support for restraints against armament proliferation, various institutional resistance to such restraint prospers. Cited most often are the lobbying efforts of the National Rifle Association (NRA) and its embattled executive officer Wayne LaPierre. His decades-long domination of the NRA and his resistance to even peripheral reform has left Americans less safe, counter to his insistence otherwise. My take on the situation is that LaPierre may be a straw man in the debate.
Of concern to me is the big business and corporate role in the controversy. Gun and armament production and distribution is an immense international enterprise. Let me cite only the 15 largest domestic armament manufacturers.
This list includes Smith & Wesson, Ithaca Gun Company, Remington Outdoor (the Remington rifle), FNH USA (subsidiary of Fabrique Nationale Herstel), Kel-Tec Inc, Sturm Ruger & Co, Sig Sauer, O F Mossberg & Sons, Springfield Armory Inc, Beretta, Maverick Arms, Beemiller Inc., Saelio Inc., Keystone Sporting Arms and Arms Technology Inc. Internationally, there are 783 armament manufacturing companies.
Domestically, their goods are sold in retail outlets in most communities. And if you cannot acquire such hardware in a nearby store, you can always order a gun from Amazon.
These armament producers represent a multi-billion dollar business empire. Smith & Wesson, for instance, in 2017 sold $773 million in gun hardware. Because most countries strictly control who can own and possess gun weaponry, 91.2 percent of those 2017 sales were to domestic customers.
For this vast proliferation, gun control at the consumer level is not the answer to the gun and firearm problem.
Jim Villani, Youngstown
Nation’s EPA fails to protect US from harm
Are you aware that the Environmental Protection Agency will allow the use of sulfoxaflor, a pesticide, which lawsuits have alleged does environmental or human harm?
Honeybees are necessary to pollinate most of our fruits and vegetables. Sulfoxaflor can be a toxin to bees.
Our regulatory agencies are failing us and endangering our health. Think arsenic in our bottled water, antibiotics in our meat products, and the contents of a leading weed killer.
Something is wrong with the EPA’s mission statement. The EPA should reconsider what the “P” stands for in its acronym. It should not stand for poison.
Ruth P. Fletcher, New Bedford, Pa.
Latest racist tweets show ignorance of president
It is disappointing to me that 40 percent of Americans find nothing wrong with our president’s remarks about four congresswomen telling them to go back to the country they were born in. He didn’t know or care to know the truth, that only one was a naturalized citizen, as is Trump’s wife.
I knew he was under educated and a racist, but the remarks he makes seem to go down well with the people in the Republican-held Senate. Silence tells its own tale.
How any American is not affronted with his remarks, when they show he doesn’t know you can’t be elected to Congress if you aren’t an American?
It has nothing to do with if you are black, white, or brown; it has to do with right and wrong.
Our country is on the wrong track. We are following a man who is so pumped up with the power of his office he believes he can do anything he wants, and so far, he’s right. Where is the outrage from the Republican Party he now belongs to? What will history have to say about this country 10 years from now if we allow him and his party to continue to tear it apart?
He is dividing this nation with his remarks. All you have to do is watch what happens at one of his so- called rallies and hear the crowd chant whatever he wants repeated to him.
Did we learn nothing in WWII when the world had to stand up to a dictator bent on killing a certain part of the population? Read a history book. Talk to a survivor or serviceman who went to war to save our planet from hatred.
I call on all Americans to do the right thing, which is to point out his remarks are not just racist, but filled with hate toward anyone who does not agree with him and bow at his feet.
Wake up America before it’s too late.
Darlene Torday, Berlin Center
Need for new blood demands term limits
I only wish our Found- ing Fathers had thought about term limits for the Senate and House. Currently the office of the president is limited to two four-year terms. The vice-president unlimited four-year terms. House of Representatives unlimited two-year terms. The Senate is unlimited six-year terms.
The currently salary (2019) for rank-and-file members of the House and Senate is $174,000 per year. Leaders of the House and Senate are paid a higher salary. Senate leadership for the majority party is $193,400 and the same for the minority party leader. Speaker of the House receives $223,500. The majority and minority leaders receive $193,400. The Pension they receive cannot exceed 80 percent of his or her final salary.
Prior to 1984 neither Members of Congress nor any other federal civil service employee paid Social Security taxes, of course they were also not eligible to receive Social Security benefits. After Jan. 1, 1984, members of Congress were required to participate in Social Security regardless of when they first entered Congress.
Health insurance is another benefit that members of the House and Senate receive. Since all provisions of the Affordable Care Act or “Obamacare” took effect in 2014 members of Congress have been required to purchase health insurance plans offered through one of the Affordable Care Act approved exchanges in order to receive a government contribution toward their health coverage. On the average the government pays from 72 percent to 75 percent of the premiums.
Now you are probably wondering why I looked into these items. It is due to the fact that I believe in term limits but obviously those that are in the House and Senate do not. Why would they want to lose their benefits? Now I ask you did the workers at GM Lordstown and The Vindicator want to lose their benefits? We in non-governmental jobs do not have the luxury to keep our jobs and the benefits if the business closes or forced to lay people off.
New blood is not a bad idea. Often those who are in office forget that they represent the people in their districts and not themselves. They also know how to manipulate the system. We are in crisis with our government – we are divided and as Abraham Lincoln stated “A House Divided Against Itself cannot Stand.”
It is time for us to elect new blood and hopefully they will not be long termers as we need to set term limits.
Nancy Epstein, Boardman
Cemetery is a ‘disgrace’
I am 87 years old. I have family members buried in four cemeteries, and Calvary is the worst.
I had to bring a weed-wacker from home to clean off the stones.
They insist on flat stones, then let them sink or disappear under the overgrowth of grass.
I have 14 graves there, and had to clear them myself. Where is the “perpetual care”? Yes, it is a large cemetery, but they also have more employees than the smaller ones.
A lot of the stones there are for forgotten vets. I think it’s a disgrace.
Josephine Ciavarella, Mineral Ridge