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Letters to the editor

Bad idea’s effects lessened slightly

The decision by the Indiana legislature to reduce the time school districts must legally hold unused school facilities for potential ownership by charter schools appears to be applauded by some. I remain puzzled by this requirement.

How is it that a school facility planned and justified to the community by an elected Board of School Trustees, paid for by every taxpayer (both individuals and businesses), and now found to be of no further use to the school district, is by statute available without cost to an entity with no publicly elected board members with no remuneration to the school district? Why shouldn’t the taxpayers who made the initial investment receive the residual value of the property?

The adjustment to the law provides some relief from the legislature’s mandate to school districts burdened with the costs to maintain and secure property they no longer need. My perception is that the law benefits a private group and cheats the taxpayers who paid for the facility out of the residual value that is rightfully theirs. A bad idea made not quite as bad remains a bad idea.

Which of your schools, paid for with your tax dollars, do you wish to give away?


Hobby Lobby founder fighting for us all

David Green, founder and CEO of Hobby Lobby, is involved in a lawsuit that could cause him to close his stores forever nationwide. And all because he disagrees with the new Obamacare mandate stipulating exactly what he must include in health care coverage for his employees.

The problem is that one of the items required, emergency contraceptive pills, violates his deeply held religious beliefs.

The government argues that Green’s religious convictions do not matter in this situation. They have given him these choices: l.) Pay for the controversial pills, despite how he feels, and continue business as usual; 2.) Refuse to comply and pay fines of up to $l.3 million per day; or 3.) Close down immediately and permanently.

When I learned about these facts, I was frustrated and saddened. I was freshly aware of how America is moving away from not only religious freedom but from other freedoms as well.

Green must win this case not only for himself but for all Americans. Private businesses must not be forced to comply with government regulations that violate the moral code of their founders. I would hate to lose our Fort Wayne Hobby Lobby store, but I would hate even more to see our country take a step closer to dictatorship.

I hope you will join me in contacting our Indiana senators, Dan Coats and Joe Donnelly, urging them to stand with Hobby Lobby in its battle for survival.


FWCS of little help amid floodwaters’ rise

I live on State Boulevard near Spy Run Creek. This is a flood plain and has been for as long as Fort Wayne has existed. This is no secret.

Everyone knows this area floods at least once a year and has to make plans to still be able to function when that happens. Everyone, it seems, except Fort Wayne Community Schools.

I called the transportation department of FWCS when I woke up to a river instead of a street in front of my house to ask their emergency preparedness plan for my daughter’s bus. There is none.

The woman I spoke with told me just to take her myself. I asked her whether there wasn’t a plan in place for when this happens, as flooding is so common in this area, and she said she didn’t know what to tell me. She suggested my daughter could walk down to another bus stop on the other side of the floodwaters. Sure, let me just get my canoe out.

I asked her whether there wasn’t a bus stop east of here that we could actually access and she said she didn’t know what direction that was.

I’m usually opposed to bad-mouthing FWCS employees, but it seems they should probably test someone working in the transportation department to at least be able to read a map.


Cold, judgmental world needs a little more light

I don’t have your typical rant about how we should ratify or eliminate some social policy that isn’t working as well as we had hoped or that is completely failing us. I’m not ranting about gay marriage or gun control. I’m not screaming about taxes or a member of a specific political party.

What I do have a complaint about, though, is a general concern about the people of this city, of this state – of this country, really. Where did all of this hate and anger come from?

Instead of helping our fellow man, we are condemning, belittling, judging and hating one another. Excuse me if I seem like a hippie on a soapbox, but weren’t we taught to love one another instead of causing them harm? I certainly thought so. When did we all become so cold? When did we decide that it would be OK to be so incredibly rude to one another?

Instead of judging the next person you meet, get to know them. Maybe they have a story. Maybe they’ve just come from terrible things and all they need is a friend, someone they can rely on, someone who won’t judge them based solely on torn jeans, a dirty shirt and bad breath. Maybe you’re supposed to help change their life and you don’t know it because you wouldn’t give them, another human, a chance. And who knows? Maybe they could change your life.

So let’s love one another and support one another. There is enough sadness, hate and violence already; let’s finally bring some light into this darkness.


No protection against careless gun owners

There was an article April 15 about a man entering a local Wal-Mart, only to have his handgun fall from its holster and discharge. Fortunately, the bullet missed everyone. Which leads me to change a familiar slogan to “Guns don’t kill people, stupidity kills people.” Only the grace of God and a lot of luck kept the people in that store from being wounded or killed. No background checks would have kept this person from getting a gun. Because it was deemed an accident, no arrest was made, and this man gets to continue to carry his gun and endanger everyone everywhere he goes.

The problem is twofold. First, the NRA had created a national paranoia about personal protection. I have, in my nearly 70 years, only been in one or two situations where I felt threatened. Common sense and a hasty retreat got me safely out of those circumstances. Never once did the thought of having a gun to protect myself come to mind.

Secondly, the more guns we have, the more likely that they will fall into the hands of people like the guy in Wal-Mart. It is your right to own a gun, but it shouldn’t be easy to get one. There has to be some rigor involved to keep the unqualified harmless. At the very least, you should have to attend firearms safety classes and pass a test – you know, like you did to get your driver’s license. How offensive was that?


Instant gun-buy checks have proven unreliable

There seems to be some confusion over expanding background checks beyond those required of firearms dealers. I support the concept of universal background checks. I do not support the National Instant Criminal Background Check System as it exists today.

It is a deeply flawed system that contains largely incomplete and often inaccurate data regarding individuals who should be denied a firearm purchase. It is vastly underfunded, and state participation in supplying data about felons and the mentally ill is spotty at best. Convicted felons commit a crime by even attempting to purchase a firearm, and yet these instances are rarely prosecuted.

The single most onerous side effect of expanding this system is the eventual accumulation of data, which could create a national gun registry which every gun rights activist is vehemently opposed to. The adage that “registration leads to confiscation” has been proven true in Canada, Great Britain, Scotland and Australia. Many people believe that it could not happen here because of the Second Amendment, but politicians have been selectively ignoring the Constitution for decades.

I realize that safeguards against creating a gun registry were guaranteed with the Manchin-Toomey bill, but we have been lied to many times by this and other administrations and should have no reason to trust them now.

If our elected leaders want to garner overwhelming support for universal background checks, they need to do two things. Fix the current system, including the prosecution of illegal purchase attempts, and leave the firearm out of the background check. Properly vetting the buyer has nothing to do with the firearm being purchased. Neither the current nor future background check systems will prevent a criminal from buying a gun on the street, but it can provide the seller with a tool to avoid making an inadvertent sale to an ineligible buyer.