A culture that celebrates murder

A culture that celebrates murder

The attempt to murder me and my family last week failed. Many times we had waited at the bus stop in Jerusalem where the terrorist left his bomb, but fortunately we were not there when it exploded.

Mary Jean Gardner was not so lucky. She is the 59-year old British woman who perished there. She was a Christian, not a Jew, but that only slightly diminished the celebration that broke out in Gaza over the murder. Both the Islamic Jihad and Hamas praised the bombing, calling it a “natural response to Israeli crimes.” Mary Jean was a spinster whose work was translating the Bible into Togo. How her murder can be characterized as a natural response, rather than a barbaric crime, is a mystery to civilized people everywhere, but apparently not to the celebrants in Gaza.

While Mary Jean was a random victim, the Fogel family was targeted for death. As they slumbered on the Sabbath eve, their killers slipped into their house. Father and mother were slain in their beds. The murderers then stabbed 10-year old Yoav and 4-year old Elad, whose blood soaked into the stuffed animals that lay next to them in their little beds. Finally, the killers hacked to death little baby girl Hadas, just three months old. A few days earlier, she had learned how to raise her head and smile.

Other children in the region had a happier fate than the Fogel children. The next day in Gaza, Palestinians celebrated the murders in the streets. They handed out candy to the children, so that they could learn the sweetness of murdering Jews. Such is the culture of the people for whom Israelis are urged to take risks for peace.

Eric Chevlen MD, Liberty Township

Setting the record straight

We have been wITnessing the attacks on the public sector union contracts and the coordinated attempts throughout America to create right-to-work states out of historically union states. We all know, too well, that fewer jobs mean less tax dollars to the states.

The initial cry was that union workers were not paying their fair share to the pension and hospitalization plans. Once they agreed to the governor’s proposal to correct that, the states changed the rules again. Now they want to gut the entire bargained contracts of any and all items that are pertinent to administrating a contract. All of the above to be done with no negotiating, but simply by legislating it out. Another hang-up was they want union members to vote on an annual basis, whether or not to belong to the union. We wonder out loud if the same politicians are willing to extend that same courtesy to the taxpayers, voting for or against them on that same annual basis? Sure sounds fair to me. The main reason for wanting this, they say, is because union members’ dues money is being used in elections to help to elect their friends and defeat their enemies. I thought that was the American way, or is it only OK for the wealthy to contribute to their friends in any fashion that they can?

Everyone understands that we, as a country, are in a big economic mess and that we must find ways and means to dig ourselves out, but we all know too well that less wages and fewer jobs only compound the problem. Believe it or not, the workers are the same people who are not only the consumers, but also the taxpayers who elect politicians.

I have had the privilege of being a union representative for close to 50 years, representing one of the hardest hit industries in America, that being the newspaper industry. Time and time again we, along with the pressmen’s union and the newspaper guild, have addressed the needs of the industry. We do it the old fashioned way, through collective bargaining.

The blatant attempt to try to divide the public sector union members from the private sector union members, and ultimately both from non-union workers has failed, because, contrary to what some believe, American workers are smarter than that. We all understand that the mere presence of a union is what creates the standard for wages, hours, working conditions that all Americans enjoy.

The attempt to change collective bargaining into collective begging is a joke and will be challenged with any and all means available.

Carmen E. Parise, Cleveland

The writer is business representative, Newspaper and Magazine Workers Union, Teamsters Local 473.

SB 5 is designed to help Ohio

After reading David Skol nick’s column I have one question for him and Mr. Betras: Why are they politicizing SB5? It’s a bill for helping our state get out of debt. Don’t they want that? Or is this a case of “not in my backyard?” It doesn’t matter to me who’s in office when this was introduced, as long as it was introduced.

We are in desperate straits in this country. Something needs to be done now.

Citizens of Mahoning and Trumbull counties, quit complaining and stop being so selfish. For once in your life think of someone else besides yourself.

Margaret Henning, Youngstown

Give teachers their due

I am writing in defense of the schoolteachers who are getting bashed in the media or in letters to The Vindicator by the likes of March 6 letter writer, who haven’t a clue what teachers (or the police and firemen) deal with in their jobs.

I am not a teacher, but I was a substitute teacher for a few years, so I have some knowledge of what they deal with on a daily basis in their jobs. They do not work only 61/2 hours a day — more like 9 or 10 hours. They get to the school an hour before our children and stay an hour or more after they leave. They take work home with them to read and/or grade papers. They work on the weekend planning the next week’s curriculum.

And they spend their own money on much of the supplies used in their classrooms because the school can’t afford it or isn’t allowed to purchase it. They work a week or two after school is out in June, and go back in early August — not a three-month vacation as is commonly thought. And many spend that time off, or their “holiday” time in continuing education classes they are required to take to keep their teaching licenses current.

Frankly, we don’t pay them enough. They are not only teachers, they are counselors, parents, police and psychologists, rolled into one. Let’s start appreciating them.

Julie Lynch, North Lima

No. 1 in killing is not an honor

The nearly monthly drum- beat marching Ohio’s 157 death-row prisoners to today’s gallows goes on. Ohio is challenging Texas for status as the nation’s top executioner. Wouldn’t it be better to leave interstate competition for No. 1 status to the basketball court or football field?

U.S. Supreme Court Justices Blackmun and Stevens, who once supported the death penalty, turned against it, as has Ohio Supreme Court Justice Paul Pfeifer. Years ago he helped draft our state’s “go ahead and kill them” statute. He now judges that legal option has gotten out of hand. Our former state prisons director has reached the same conclusion. Last year Ohio executed eight people, more than it has since 1949.

Among other things, sustaining this drumbeat of death is more expensive than the alternative that 16 states have now adopted — life imprisonment without the possibility of parole. As Gov. Kasich and our legislature look for ways to balance our budget, wouldn’t it be better to save on the machinery of death than on education?

Ohio’s Catholic bishops, including our own Bishop Murry, stand opposed to Ohio’s policy and practice. As Matthew Mangino wrote in the Feb. 6 Vindicator, when left to the politicians “capital punishment is more a campaign prop than a meaningful tool of the criminal justice system.” Approaching the issue on a moral and fiscal basis may persuade Ohio citizens that this is a competition where we don’t care to be No. 1, or even No. 2.

Father Bob Bonnot, Struthers

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