Writing a parking ticket at a death scene is cold
On Sept. 9, I received a call that my mother had passed away in her home on Hilton Avenue in Youngstown.
I raced over there and parked in front of her house. Because her driveway was full, I parked, without thinking, on the wrong side of the street. On Nov. 16, 2001, my brother had committed suicide in that same house so parking in the right direction was not a priority to me.
After the ambulance and the funeral people had left, I went out to the car and there was a Youngstown police officer writing me a ticket. I explained that there had just been a death and that I wasn't thinking when I parked the car. This did not matter. He continued to write the ticket without even looking up. After he gave me the ticket he told me to just put $10 in the envelope or if I choose to fight it, I could call a number on the back of the ticket. He then drove away to find another criminal.
My mother had her car stolen three times from that same driveway and the last time, my brother followed the thieves to the East Side and found the car himself. Still, no Youngstown police.
I have been going to her house daily since Feb. 26 and have watched cars racing up and down and motorcycles zooming up and down and never have I seen an officer.
I would think that there is really something more important to do than writing a ticket at a death scene. If this is Youngstown's finest at work, no wonder there are so many crimes that never get answered.
I feel that this officer was rude and should be ashamed of his cold behavior.
What would they do? Pretty much the same
A recent series of books asks us to consider what action the great religious teachers might take faced with ethical choices confronting us today. "What Would Jesus Do?" was recently followed by "What Would Buddha Do?" and "What Would Mohammed Do?" Except for the commercial advantage of releasing a book directed to the followers of each religion, one book would have done quite nicely: "What Would Jesus, Buddha, and Mohammed Do?" because we know that Jesus, Buddha, and Mohammed all would have responded with compassion, humility, understanding, and equanimity. The core teachings of these three teachers are, unremarkably, quite similar -- you can check out the sources.
So, what would Jesus, Buddha, and Mohammed do in this age of terrorism and violence? Does anyone think they would respond to violence in an aggressive way? Would they hit back? Of course not. So why do we make aggression an option of response for ourselves? I'm sure that, with minimal reflection, we all know that a violent response to violence only adds another chapter to the cycle of violence, a cycle to which there is no end. There certainly is plenty of evidence for that in the world today, and the history books are full of examples from the past. The cycle not only continues, it grows and it gets worse. Cut off one head, and another hundred, or thousand, or million take its place.
Before taking an action with likely many long-term negative consequences, not to mention the possible deaths of who knows how many innocent people -- people just like you and me, people with parents and children, close friends, daily concerns and life aspirations -- we need to take a collective step back and ask, "What would Jesus, Buddha, and Mohammed do?"
People don't invest in areas that become dumps
It is time Youngstown city officials took serious notice of the deplorable condition of the neighborhoods and streets and their use as dumping grounds for garbage, tires, old cars, etc.
The past two years, we wrote to The Vindicator during their promotion to clean up the neighborhoods, our focus being the area between Truesdale and Garland avenues. The situation has worsened to the extent that old tires on the sidewalk are now impeding pedestrian traffic.
I believe Youngstown city codes exist to govern use of dumps -- apparently the city fathers and officials in charge choose to ignore enforcement of said codes. Soon, Youngstown will receive the dubious distinction of being the largest "city dump" in the state.
Unfortunately, the same scenario exists in most of the neighborhoods in Youngstown, discouraging investment in the city and contiguous areas.
Freedom shouldn't be first casualty of war
America's war on terrorism lacks an accurate definition of terrorism. The United Nations was not able to agree on a definition, although that is not so strange when we consider that some of the members are thought to be sponsors of terrorism, and they surely don't want to admit it by signing on to a definition which would condemn them.
I offer this definition: Terrorism is any act of violence against people and/or their property by individuals or groups which seek to weaken or destroy an open society and its freely elected government.
But, acts of violence are not terrorism if made against an oppressive government by people or groups seeking freedom, liberty, and human rights. Of course patience and persuasion are better first choices.
However, the suggested definition of violence which is not terrorism raises a vital question: What is an oppressive government? Is it the opposite of a government whose powers are carefully limited by a written constitution, and which respects its citizens' liberties and independence as its first priority at all times and with no exceptions?
As America fights its war against terrorism, our rights and freedoms should not be the first casualties. After all, isn't this what the terrorists want to achieve?
MILTON R. NORRIS
Manners mostly matter
When is someone at your paper going to give a lesson to your columnist, Mr. de Souza, on manners? This is in reference to his column of Sept. 15. His continual use of the nickname "Timmy" when referring to Mr. Ryan shows a disrespect to a candidate that is uncalled for.
Why doesn't he refer to Ms. Benjamin as "Annie"? Could it be that he may be a Republican? In the past he has done the same thing in reference to Mr. Traficant or Mr. Hanni. Maybe the "Vindy" (like the nickname?) should have a writer who could write the other view.
"Berty's" praise for Ms. Benjamin on securing a $3 million gift for YSU even though the state of Ohio faces a deficit is condoning a form of blackmail. I guess it's OK for her to sell her vote for money.