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Moral concerns suggest banning youth football; take guns away from US agencies; illegal immigrants debate; bypass meat to save water supply

Published: Sun, August 10, 2014 @ 12:00 a.m.

Moral concerns suggest that we consider banning youth football

Kudos to The Vindicator for its heads-up series on concussions, but disappointment at your July 28 editorial. You failed to address the moral dimension of “the life-threatening dangers of rough-and-tumble sports” which “can no longer be callously tossed to the sidelines as just a hazard of the game.” Until the dangers of these games to our children can be eliminated, the games should be radically changed, immediately, or stopped.

Are “games’’ in which we set persons against one another in activities that pose “life-threatening dangers” moral activities? Are not such games, in stadiums or arenas and broadcast on television for us to watch and applaud, contemporary versions of ancient gladiatorial contests which we consider to have been barbaric?

Jack Loew put it bluntly in his comments about professional boxing: “In this sport our job is to teach a guy to hit this guy in the head and knock them out. It’s terrible to say it like this, but it is, and that’s what boxing is about.”

That’s also nearly what tackle football is about: knocking the other guys out by hitting them harder than they hit you — on the line, in the backfield, on runs, on pass receptions and kick-off returns.

I stopped watching boxing in the days of Ray “Boom Boom” Mancini. I finally stopped watching football last year as the Super Bowl approached — America’s great day in the Colosseum. I concluded that both are about watching people engaged in life-threateningly dangerous activities without doing anything to stop it, participating in it as a spectator.

I love the grace, strategy, athleticism and at times balletic beauty of football, but at its core the game is about hitting other people, throwing them to the ground, stopping them cold. It’s life-threatening dangerous. It’s immoral. We should not engage our children, from kindergarten up in violence or ourselves in passively or cheeringly watching them engage in it.

Sports Illustrated writer and NPR commentator Frank Deford put the case regarding football bluntly: “Outlaw tackle football for young boys. If I have to say more, you don’t have a brain and you wish the same for your son.”

Parents surely don’t want that for their children, but they expose their children to that danger. Is that responsible? Is it moral? Our children need to be protected from the “life-threatening dangers of rough-and-tumble sports,” whatever the “game.” That involves more than finely distinguishing tackling from hitting. It requires more than team strategy. It requires more than a law. It requires moral judgment.

Father Bob Bonnot, Struthers

Father Bob Bonnot is pastor of Christ Our Savior Parish in Struthers.

Take guns away from US agencies

I urge members of Congress to co-sponsor House Resolution 4934, the Regulatory Agency Demilitarization Act. It’s time to take submachine guns from bureaucrats.

Arming regulatory agencies is going way too far. It is over the line. Such agencies do not need to be armed. Under bad leadership, this would bring us so much closer to a police state, not the democracy that we are trying our best to develop here in the USA.

Mary Krupa, Youngstown

It’s time to shout out for tougher laws on immigration to the US

Since the president does not have the skills to formulate and go public with an immigration reform bill, I will. All individuals who are illegally in this country have 90 days after the bill is signed to properly register and acquire a counterfeit-proof photo ID that includes a fingerprint for the country’s and their protection.

Also included would be a valid Social Security number and ICE barcode. Individuals without this ID will be taken immediately into custody for deportation and are to be reported by all employers under penalty of a $100,000 fine.

No ID is prima fascia evidence of the law violation, and under this law no hearing is required — just a one-way plane ticket with escort to seat and observed takeoff.

All illegals now are included in a separate list of “on track” citizens with the requirement to be proficient in the English language, in that this new law will make English, this country’s founding fathers’ intent, the “official” language.

On a daily basis all illegals caught violating the border will be immediately deported to Mexico for further handling and disposition by Mexican authorities.

In the case of other country’s minors with or without parents, they will be returned immediately to their home country with a voucher to established private aid programs to help their re-integration with their family and community.

All state and local police will be able to check for IDs at will but not abusively and with good cause.

I further do not understand why the legal community is not more outraged by the illegals since they are a continuing insult. It’s time to shout out in support of a tougher immigration law; speak up, please.

Daniel Victor Bienko, Canfield

New twist on definition of ‘illegals’

With all of the illegaL aliens coming into this country, we now find out there is a new explanation for the word illegal, and it goes like this.

When they come to this country across the border they are ill and expect to be legalized when they get here. They are ill physically because of the conditions in their country of origin or mentally because of the stress in their lives.

They know they can come here any way they want to and will be taken care of by U.S. tax dollars with free food, free medical care and a free place to live one way or another.

They know there is really no border to keep them out, so get out of the way. They just hope the U.S. doesn’t open its borders to everyone.

They don’t want America to be overburdened so then the U.S. just might secure its borders and even make many border crossers truly illegal, and send them back to where they came from.

Rea Buttermore, Boardman

Americans can help prevent new water crisis by giving up meat

Last weekend the drinking water of 400,000 Toledo residents was fouled. With unfettered growth of animal agriculture and ineffective discharge regulations, it will happen again.

The problem has become pervasive. Waste from chicken farms has rendered oceans off the East Coast unfit for fishing. Waste from Midwest cattle ranches carried by Mississippi River has created a permanent “dead zone” in the Gulf of Mexico larger than that of the infamous 2010 BP oil spill.

Animal agriculture dumps more pollution to our waterways than all other human activities combined. Principal pollutants are animal manure, fertilizers, as well as soil particles, organic debris, and pesticides from feed cropland.

Manure and fertilizers promote growth of toxic algae that poison drinking water supplies. Organic matter feeds microorganisms that deplete oxygen and kill fish.

Effective regulations to limit dumping of animal waste into water supplies have been blocked by the meat industry.

Fortunately, every one of us has the power to stop this outrage three times a day by saying “no” to polluting meat and dairy products. Our local supermarket offers ample alternatives. Entering “live vegan” in a search engine provides useful recipes and transition tips.

Peter Zack, Youngstown


1lajoci(538 comments)posted 9 months, 2 weeks ago

A nice array of thoughtful, and thought-provoking, letters today. Nice job, selection committee!

My thoughts:

1. Father Bonnot has a point. I might add that many innovations aimed at "improving" the game of football (artificial turf; more protective, and, therefore, heavier helmets; the campaign to render players bigger/faster/stronger) have had the UNintended consequence of making it more dangerous. Add to this the fact that we may have outlived the original context that made football a meaningful game -- the fact that it was born and thrived among the laboring classes of eastern Ohio and western Pennsylvania, home of the miners and mill-hunks who were used to the rough-and-tumble of collision sports (played helmetless and with a dearth of padding, on slow, grass fields that were mostly mud by the end of the season). The "game" has surely changed, but I'm not sure it's for the better.

2. Mary Krupa and other anti-government Republicans need to remember that a lot of those laws Republicans condemn as being “duplicative, costly, heavy handed [and] dangerous…” were created, supported and signed into law by Republicans themselves! Of course back then Republicans were arguing that the USA Patriot Act, the department of homeland security, the NSA, TSA etc were created to protect the American people and that arming them, as well as other agencies, only furthered that ability. And now they characterize the situation as bureaucrats run-amok, once again playing both ends against the middle. It never ends.

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2lajoci(538 comments)posted 9 months, 2 weeks ago

3. Sounds as though Mr. Bienko wants every man, woman, and child in this country to have an official photo/fingerprint/barcode ID, or face immediate deportation. Otherwise, how do you know who to "stop and frisk?"

In reality, Mr. Bienko's "plan" is not a "plan" at all, but, rather, and kind of half-baked, knee-jerk reaction to the outrage he sees stoked day-in and day-out, 24/7, on Faux, proving that he does not, in fact, have the "skills" (or even the common sense) to formulate an immigration policy, but only the skills to rant and rave and vent his outrage.

4. Rea's letter is mostly incoherent gibberish cobbled together from the zenophobic right-wingnut outrage industry.

5. I agree with Mr. Zack. We have a problem, and it is us. We are poisoning ourselves as a result of our appetites. Something needs to be done.

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3redeye1(4986 comments)posted 9 months, 2 weeks ago

Ijacoff You are the one who's nuts. You see both sides voted for the pat act and you only blame the GOP .You leftwing fools are the ones to blame for all of the laws we now have. Secondly the lazy vacationing arse you people voted for is so incompetent its unreal. I would love to see how the community that he was suppose to be organizing is really doing. My bet is terrible. !!! But once again you use the leftwing idea "Blame others for our mistakes". But I will say one other thing, I bet you sit by your door waiting on the next freebie he will be sending you

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4dontbeafool(1340 comments)posted 9 months, 2 weeks ago

Father Bob's statements are a little over the top if you ask me. Football is immoral? Come on. Half of what is wrong with this country is that we baby these kids way too much as it is. Put them on the field (if they want to and have the passion for the game) and teach them about sportsmanship, hard work, sweat, and team work. Nothing wrong with that. A more noble cause for Father Bob would be to start a movement against fellow clergymen and leaders of the church who time and time molest and take away the innocence of a young child. Let that be your soapbox Father, not a game that kids choose and want to play.

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5steivo(540 comments)posted 9 months, 2 weeks ago

Mary Krupa,
Why on earth should the thugs have automatic weapons and the police should not? What are you looking for a fair fight between the thugs and the police?

Daniel Bienko,
You are absolutely right, but the Liar will do nothing that will restrict the number of new Democratic voters coming into the country.

Rea Buttermore,
The problem is that the dumocrats love freeloaders especially if they themselves are part of the 47% who pay no income taxes.

Peter Zack,
That will be the day when I let some government bureaucrat tell me what to eat. I read a letter just the other day by one of the left wing loonies who said we should stop eating fish because we are hurting the fish's feelings. I could just see the law now, you can't eat meat unless you purchase meat (carbon) credits so that all the limousine liberals could continue eating what ever they wanted.

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6Millerh113(169 comments)posted 9 months, 2 weeks ago

Rev. Bonnot may be right about the immorality of football, but prohibiting the game? You might as well ask the wind to stop blowing or the snow to cease falling. Football has replaced that nice, pastoral game baseball as the national pastime and there is no turning back. Incidentally, Father, have you watched ultimate boxing on TV? Talk about immoral "sports."

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7billdog1(3128 comments)posted 9 months, 2 weeks ago

Father Bob, are you saying end Football, Soccer, Larousse, Boxing, etc???

Mary, I to agree our local law enforcement agencies do not need automatic weapons to protect us. If the problem becomes that big, state and federal agencies need to become involved.

Dan, I couldn't agree more with most of your argument. What about legal minors. American born children minors are not issued ID's until they are old enough to drive. How do we distinguish our children from an illegal? Yes, most legal citizens are upset with the situation and want something done about the illegals and the problems they create, but our country is founded on Human Rights, not knee jerk mean reactions by people with limited thinking capacities. Please do not run for public office. We have enough morons in public office now.

Rae, I've seen nor heard such moronic rambling.

Pete, I don't want to eat weeds three time a day. What will you do if the electric grid goes down for a couple of weeks? I'm sure you would look for anything that would fill your belly that would be as empty as your head.

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8tnmartin(401 comments)posted 9 months, 2 weeks ago

To Daniel's letter, I am not sure that I agree that we need more, stronger laws on the matter of immigration. What we need, what we *must* have, is vigorous enforcement of the *existing* laws covering the matter. That is not, and has not been, happening over the last 28 years, so it's a bi-partisan matter. Not a failure or defect in the laws, but what is frankly what I regard as criminal REFUSAL to enforce the laws. Yes, some of the laws need to be tweaked here and there, a matter of responsibility of our Congress. True.
But take as one issue, the reality of so-called "sanctuary cities", found in several parts of the US. In those places, the local and country leaders have made it known that they will not only not act to enforce the laws, they will steadfastly confound and obstruct such enforcement. Would such behavior be tolerated if they were to obstruct enforcement of laws against rape, counterfeiting, or auto theft? One hopes not.
We saw just today -- if you don't rely upon the LameStream Media for your daily indoctrination -- a man dressed up to resemble Osama bin Laden, repeatedly crossing the border, unmolested. No physical barriers, more than a decade after such was promised.
Look at interior enforcement. Honest US citizens are having their SS numbers stolen, fake documents made up using them, and a year later getting a nasty-gram from the IRS about unpaid taxes. Obumble's illegal alien uncle REMAINS illegally in the country despite numerous arrests. There are areas of the country where English is rarely heard and the after-hour "sports" are drunk driving and sexual assaults against minors, all by illegal aliens, all widely known, and unpunished for the most part.
And now we see Muslim prayer rugs found at the Texas and Arizona borders and directional signs printed at your expense telling illegal aliens where to sign in, printed in numerous languages, including Mandarin Chinese. China is a long way off.
The President, like others, has sworn an oath to well and faithfully carry out the duties of the office. And has refused to do so, nor to allow others to do so. That, Sir, is a "high crime and misdemeanor".
Deport All Illegals and do it immediately. Should all be out of the country by midnight, and could be except for a refusal to do the sworn duty.

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9tnmartin(401 comments)posted 9 months, 2 weeks ago

I need to loudly agree with Mary Krup on the matter of disarming federal agencies.
Please note: we are not talking about disarming, say, ATF or the Secret Service. But why in Tophet does the federal department of Education need SWAT Teams? They have them. Why? Ignoring for the moment the fact that there should not even BE a federal department of education, it's not an authorized federal power and should be disbanded today. Likewise many other federal agencies and departments have armed, heavily armed, detachments serving no legitimate purpose that I can see.
On a separate, but also important note, is the growing militarization of even local police operations. We are seeing local departments with fully automatic weapons, armored vehicles including MRAPS designed for Iraq and Afghanistan, being employed in US cities and towns. This is getting to be altogethr too much like the standing armies that the nation's founders warned against as we the people are reclassified from "citizens" to "subjects". Not the right direction to be going. Particularly as we see open treason and lawlessness at the very highest levels of government.

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10dontbeafool(1340 comments)posted 9 months, 2 weeks ago

You guys are dead wrong about disarming of gov employees and toning down the firepower of police departments. Worry about taking away weapons from the bad guys instead. You would be the first to cry about the PD not being properly equipped or trained if you were involved in a hostile situation. These bad people have moved on from knives and handguns. Do you want police officers using their 6 shooters in a standoff with bad guys using Ak47's? Remember 15-20 years ago when the whack job drove a tank through the streets of LA? Police have to be prepared for the worse, because they usually deal with the worse on a nightly basis. But feel free to give up your own personal guns.

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11tnmartin(401 comments)posted 9 months, 1 week ago

Plase explain the need for the Department of Education to have SWAT Teams. I don't see the need, and I doubt that there is a legitimate function there. And that is by NO means the only such case. There are others. For example, Department of Agriculture, the Railroad Retirement Board, the Tennessee Valley Authority, the Office of Personnel Management, the Consumer Product Safety Commission, and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Among others.
The Railroad Retirement Board needs heavily armed storm troopers? Why?
And let's be real about the armaments of even small local police and constables. What it's doing is morphing the very legitimate slogan of "To Protect and Serve" to viewing we the citizens as hostile subjects of The State. I find it hard to regard that as A Good Thing. Having been around law enforcement a good bit in my younger days, I am fully confident that there are a lot of good officers who are not comfortable with this state of affairs. Sadly, I also know that there are those who would have staffed Buchenwald. Not many, but enough. Not A Good Thing by my measures.

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