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The Journal Gazette

Sunday, February 03, 2019 1:00 am

Letters to the editor

Don't give vigilantes more protection

Is Indiana the Crossroads of America or the crosshairs? Based on House Bill 1284, it seems our legislators are shooting for the latter.

This dangerous bill offers civil immunity to those who shoot first and retreat later. So not only would vigilantes be protected from criminal prosecution under Indiana's stand your ground law, they would no longer have to face even civil claims by victims of their use of damaging force.

Proponents of this bill use examples of robbers bringing tort claims against the “good guy.” What this bill fails to recognize is that bringing tort claims for injury is already difficult in Indiana for claimants. Under the comparative fault standard in place for claims between private citizens, the claimant must show that that they were not more than 50 percent at fault to recover a dime. If the victim is suing a governmental entity, the claimant must prove no contributory negligence (in other words, the claimant is not even 1 percent at fault) to recover.

If the legislature thinks this is such a pressing problem (but passing a hate crime statute is not), they could discourage such claims with a loser-pays proposal on attorneys' fees and costs. Instead, they seek to immunize shooters from all potential exposure for the damage their use of force may have, including to innocent parties.

Stand your ground laws themselves do not lead to a safer state. According to a study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, Florida homicides went up by 22 percent in the first decade after its stand your ground law was passed, and so-called justifiable homicides went up by 75 percent.

We should be legislating to de-escalate violence in Indiana, not codify and amplify it. Just because the word “hospital” is in “Hoosier hospitality” shouldn't mean encouraging people end up there.

Marty M. Lemert

Fort Wayne

Humanitarian solution to immigration crisis

I believe most Americans are in agreement about many aspects of the immigration issues we face as a nation. We agree that all immigrants should come to our country legally. We agree that our borders should be secure from those who may want to transport drugs or commit other crimes. We agree there are humanitarian issues.

We should examine the root causes of why many Central and South American people want to come to the United States. We should ask ourselves what we as a nation offer.

I believe the main reasons people are fleeing their countries to come to the United States are because they see freedom, opportunity and hope here.

To significantly curb illegal immigration, we need to go beyond the ineffective idea of building a wall. Our private organizations and faith-based organizations could partner with our government to reach out to help nations of Central and South America.

We need to be an example for them. We need to act as a mentor for their governments so they can implement reforms, establish freedoms that we cherish, enforce their existing laws, enact laws to protect real property rights for all citizens and obtain self-sufficiency.

We should also help create ways for private enterprises of the U.S. and the rest of the developed world to make monetary investments in these countries so they can build their own economies and thrive. The idea of monetary investments could be similar to what we as a nation did through the Marshall Plan in Europe after World War II, i.e. helping nations devastated by the aftermath of the war by investing in their economies.

If efforts were made in these areas, I believe that we would eventually see a change in the trajectory of illegal immigration. Change will not be fast, but if we approach this issue from a more long-term and humanitarian perspective, I believe we will start to see progress that will lead to a significant decrease in illegal immigration.

Randy Harvey

Fort Wayne

Partisans incapable of seeing truth

I have to speak out on the government shutdown.

For theáletter writer who says she doesn't watch cable news 24/7, maybe she should a little bit more.áI don't either, but I heard Donald Trump says he would be proud to shut the government down. I heard him say that the 800,000 laid-off government workers were backing him.

I heard them say they don't have the money to buy food, pay bills or buy medicine.

There was one guy who wrote that people could borrow from family and friends.áMaybe he does it all the time. I would feel horrible if I had to borrow money to make ends meet over some stupid wall that Mexicoáwas supposed toápay for. I would like even one Trump supporter toáexplain toáme how this is a lie – that Mexico isn't supposed to pay for it.

I'm not interested in spending my $5 a week raise from the big tax break on it.

Why don'tálawmakersáput $400 inátheirácheckbook plus two weeks pay and live on it for a month.

áThen maybeátheyáwould have a different point of view.

As far as the two children who died from the fluáwhileáin the care of the United States, that is horrible. I watch the evening news and saw the states where people were dying from the flu,áso (despite what a letter writer said) the news did carry it.

As forátheiráquestion, if a Democrat was president would it be mentioned? A Democrat wouldn't treat these small children the same way Republicans did. I feel sorry for people who are so totally party-minded they can't see the truth.á



Trump solely to blame for shutdown, fallout

I must take issue with the article in the Jan. 29 Journal Gazette, “Banks: Shutdown not on Trump.” Surely, Rep. Jim Banks cannot be serious. This simply is not true.

Banks must not have seen the coverage of the president's meeting with Democratic leaders in the Oval office in December, where Trump clearly stated: “If I don't get what I want, I am proud to shut down the government. I will take the mantle. And I won't blame you [Democrats].”

This was not Nancy Pelosi's shutdown. This was not the Democrats' shutdown. This was Trump's shutdown, and he was proud of it. During the painful shutdown (painful for the workers put on furlough, and the workers who were forced to work without pay), Democrats (and even some Republicans) implored the president to open the government then resume negotiations on border security. It took 35 days – and dire warnings from the airlines – for this to happen.

Trump now says if he doesn't get a “deal,” he may shut down the government again on Feb. 15. This would be Trump's shutdown, again.

If Trump does get his wall built, $5.7 billion will not get the job done. Estimates are $20 billion to $30 billion to build his wall. Remember these chants? “Who's going to pay for the wall? Mexico! Who? Mexico!” Remember the delirious cheers from his supporters? But Mexico said from Day 1 that it would never pay for Trump's wall. All of us, the American taxpayers, will pay for it if it ever happens. Sad.

I'm waiting for the day, whenever it comes, for someone else to be in the White House. What a relief that will be.

Bonnie Caudill

Fort Wayne

'Abortion obstacle' reveals JG bias

The Jan. 31 headline “Bill adds another abortion obstacle” screams bias. Am I misinformed or na´ve in understanding that headlines are to be neutral? How about “Bill expands conscience claims for abortions,” or “Bill addresses conscience claims.” There are plenty of other ways to headline the story and lean neither left nor right. Gratefully, the subhead was objective and so was the article.

Karl A. Frincke

Fort Wayne