Able-bodied drivers lack integrity when using handicapped spaces

Able-bodied drivers lack integrity when using handicapped spaces

As I have waited in the car for my wife while she shopped, I have observed often repeated instances of people pulling into “handicapped” parking spaces. Then an obviously healthy, able-bodied and often young person will dutifully hang the proper tag over the rear-view mirror, literally jump out of the vehicle and proceed to run across the parking lot. At times, I have then seen others, with those same tags, circle the area repeatedly, waiting for one of those spaces to come open. When they finally get one, I have seen them struggle to exit their vehicles and make their way into the store.

This goes far deeper than abuse of privilege. This is a heart-breaking lack of personal integrity and an arrogant disregard for the legitimate need of others. There would be little point in passing largely unenforceable laws to deal with this issue. As someone once said “The heart of the problem is the problem of the human heart.”

As I thought about this I was reminded of an incident I heard about many years ago. A judge in my home county had before him a young man who had been there less than six months before, both times for speed and reckless operation. Having decided that a fine was not going to get the point across, the judge decided that a six-week license suspension was in order. The young man inquired about work driving privileges. The judge replied that the suspension was to be total. Upset at the judges apparent lack of compassion for his predicament, the young man shouted at the judge “How would you like to walk everywhere the next six weeks?” Pushing himself back to reveal the wheelchair he was sitting in Judge Charles Eckert softly replied, “Son I’d love to.”

Those with handicapped people in their families to whom those tags legitimately belong should be far more, not much less, compassionate about this matter. I would make a wild guess that your loved one would also love to make that longer walk across the parking lot.

Mike Halchuck, Canfield

Student-loan debt harms economy

Majority Leader Harry Reid has admitted the Senate is unlikely to pass legislation to prevent the doubling of interest rates for student loans. This is bad news. A recent study by TransUnion, one of the three credit reporting agencies, reports that more than 50 percent of all student loans are either in deferral or default. And the default rate is increasing!

Higher default rates will affect our anemic housing recovery. Students who cannot afford to make loan payments will have their credit destroyed. Remember these loans are not forgivable under bankruptcy laws. A pipeline of future homeowners will slow to a trickle.

The credit stability of parents and grandparents are in play as well. Loans in the name of parent (s) or co-signed by students’ parents and grandparents often go into default. Life events can strike at anyone, anytime.

The consequences for mortgage lending are severe. Parents who wish to retire and sell their homes and move down will be unable to do so. Seniors living on fixed incomes who have a reverse mortgage may go into default for failure to pay tax or insurance bills.

Our economy is dependent upon relatively easy access to credit. A combined student loan default-second housing crisis will deal a death blow to the meager economic recovery already slowed by budget sequestration. Have we not learned our lesson from the Great Recession of 2008?

Robert L. Katula, Poland

After sensationalism, pain lingers

I witnessed something very sad today — it broke my heart. I sat in the hallway off of a court room in Trumbull County with my sister and her children, watching them struggle to prepare themselves to face the man who is responsible for their husband and father’s death.

The hearing was set for 1 p.m. My sister’s husband is Bob Lucarell. He was killed July 5, 2012, by a man who fell asleep at the wheel of his semi-truck, crossed the median on I-80 near the Girard exit and slammed into Bob’s pickup truck— killing him. On his way to work that afternoon, he kissed my sister, his wife of 40 years. The next time she saw him was in his casket.

The man who killed Bob, Richard Pacholski of North Carolina, has been charged with a misdemeanor. Even though he signed a confession admitting guilt, even though he admitted just hours before to someone that he was tired, even though other issues may or may not have contributed to his tiredness, this man, a professional driver, got behind the wheel of his 32,000 pound to 80,000 pound (approximate empty weight to approximate fully loaded weight) semi-truck and got on a freeway full of other vehicles that were full of people.

Besides the obvious, another sad thing about the day was — other than Bob’s family — no one was there. Not even the man responsible for his death. He, Mr. Pacholski, had another engagement. It seems that was more important than facing the family of the man whose life he took, more important than answering for his actions of July 5, 2012.

And not one member of the media was there. They were all there the day Bob was killed. I remember the news broadcasts, the fiery, smoky scenes and the stories in the newspapers. Yet none of them seem to care about the results of that day other than a man was killed.

This isn’t about truck drivers. I think most of them are good, hardworking people trying to earn a living. I am proud to that my father was a truck driver most of his life.

This is about people no longer caring once the sensationalized part of the story has been told. This is about a man named Bob Lucarell — a man who had a wife, children and grandchildren, he had a life. Bob touched a lot of lives; that was obvious by the over 1,000 people that came to his funeral. A lot of people cared when he died. Doesn’t anyone care now? Doesn’t anyone want to know the end of this awful story? The next court hearing is on Aug. 14 at Girard court.

Ellen Burke, North Jackson

Don’t be a slave to government

A lot of people think July 4 is only about having picnics, fireworks and a day off. We started losing our independence in 2008. We lose it when a President can do or say anything without Congress writing the law.

We lose it when nine justices of the Supreme Court can change how the country is going: having 60 million or more abortions since 1973, having young people confused and now same-sex marriages sought in every state. We have become a nation of corruption and lies with no fear of God.

The Bill of Rights was to protect us from abuse from the power of the government, not to be deprived of life and liberty for everyone even the unborn..

As stated in the U.S. Constitution the Creator gave our great nation blessings to be free. Now our government is working against all of us. We the people need to wake up before it is too late.

July 4 is called Independence Day. We are free people —not slaves to the government.

Lena Fox, New Middletown