February 11, 2013

Letters to the Editor: Feb. 11, 2013


---- — Wrong approach

TO THE EDITOR: As a vet who has taken up arms in the defense of this great country, I am alarmed at the demand for arms control after the latest horrible school shooting.

It is not the ordinary day-to-day citizen that commits these horrible crimes. It is not the ordinary weapons owner.

State governments are taking rapid steps to destroy Second Amendment rights or to restrict them. They have given lip service to taking care of the mentally ill but that is all so far. Yes, we have to protect the children, but there are other ways than stepping on the law-abiding citizen’s right to bear arms.

First, take care of the mentally ill. Stop turning them away because of lack of insurance or mandatory time limits to treatment. If they are dangerous, keep them away from the public until they are either cured or under control.

Second, instead of restricting weapons ownership or what types of weapons one can own, make laws to ensure that a person secures his/her weapons and uses them lawfully for sport or hunting or for defense.

Last, but not least, do more intense background checks to ensure that a person is qualified to own a weapon.

Too many so-called rights given to the citizens by the constitution have been stepped on by the state and the federal government. This country was born fighting against a king and a government that overtaxed the colonies and tried to restrict the rights of its citizens. It is sad that we are allowing our governments to do what the king once did.

Government should be for, of and by the people. It is the American way.




Problem is people

TO THE EDITOR: I’m so tired of hearing how guns are the problem; for the love of God, it’s not guns, it’s people.

Let me point out that during the Civil War a lot of innocent civilians died, men, women and children. The innocent people that have died far exceeds all of the recent horrific tragedies combined, and after all that bloodshed no one ever thought, tried or even breathed a word about gun bans or restrictions.

The reason is because our ancestors knew the problem wasn’t guns, it was people. Have we become so pompous to overlook that simple fact?

Our ancestors also knew we have the right to have “a well-regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state” — the Second Amendment ensures Americans of this.

It was people, and their hate, greed, instability and prejudice, not to mention racism, that drove people to kill each other during the Civil War. They are the very same reasons people commit violent acts today.

Those people who commit crimes with weapons shall be punished accordingly. No need to punish all good, law-abiding citizens.

If evil people are bent on hurting others, they will find a way.

Most guns are semi-automatic, including hand guns and even pellet guns. They can all be dressed to look like an assault rifle; however, it doesn’t mean they are made to kill people.

The Second Amendment says “the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.”

We have the right to choose whatever kind of arms we want to bear. People decide this, not the government.




Commitment to quality

TO THE EDITOR: As a member of the Clinton Community College faculty for 23 years, I have seen administrators come and go.

Some have left a lasting impression on our responsibilities to the teaching and learning process (Dr. Balmer and Dr. Woodward), and others didn’t do much for us at all.

I have watched dedicated Board of Trustees members face tough times, along with the rest of our CCC family, but nothing like now.

Recently we hired a new president who came to CCC with big plans to change our image, build new buildings and make us a “first-class facility for coming generations.”

Unfortunately, the plans he thought would move us forward have actually knocked us backward. While change is vital to any institution with an eye towards the future, it cannot be at the cost of destroying what is a stable and consistent foundation.

Until he arrived, we had a very healthy fund balance; now our available funds have been spent to an all-time low and education is on the chopping block.

The board finally informed the president that he is not allowed to draw down the fund balance any further. His response was to lay off 10 of our colleagues instead of looking at other options, like holding off building plans or opting for an austerity budget. It disturbs me that the president chose to lay off faculty because these 10 people have direct contact with our students and the teaching and learning process.

What makes a college facility “first class” is not the buildings but the students and faculty who fill them. I am asking Clinton County residents to contact your county legislators demanding the college direct its funds to the students and faculty, thereby reaffirming this community’s commitment to quality educational opportunities.


CCC professor of chemistry


Reconsider decision

TO THE EDITOR: If the Board of Trustees and administration at Clinton Community College persist in their plan to lay off 10 employees, this semester will be the last time the college has a full-time fine-arts professor.

One of those targeted is Ian Burcroff, fine-arts program coordinator. Demolishing the fine-arts program is a serious mistake and is counter-productive to CCC’s mission and goals.

The majority of students earning degrees at Clinton must fulfill a fine-arts requirement. Fine-arts courses also fulfill a SUNY general education requirement for bachelor degrees awarded by state universities and colleges.

Burcroff has maintained a strong transfer relationship with SUNY Plattsburgh’s bachelor of arts and bachelor of fine arts programs. Out of 111 Clinton students who transferred to PSU last year, 23 went into one of the art degree programs.

Most fine-arts courses at CCC are taught by part-time professors who are long-term, excellent instructors. They dedicate extra time and effort to work with students, and we’re fortunate to have them, but they’re paid only to teach and hold office hours. They’re not assigned to committees, they don’t manage a budget, and they’re not in charge of setting course schedules. They don’t advise students academically, and they don’t oversee ordering of art supplies and equipment.

These management duties, along with teaching, are the responsibility of Ian Burcroff. It’s not clear who the administration expects will take on these duties after May 2013. 

In fact, the administration hasn’t stated how they plan to keep fine arts viable after retrenching Burcroff’s position.

It’s unbelievable that they might consider fine arts an “extra” that can be eliminated. The decision should be reconsidered.




Moral words

TO THE EDITOR: There seems to be an insane dread of using moral terms today.

A person “steals” an article from a store, and we call it “shoplifting.”

Hillary Clinton “lies;” she and the media says she “misspoke.”

As of today, 50 million “babies,” not “fetuses,” have been “murdered,” not “aborted,” in the United States.

Using moral, ethical words, on which every civilization is built, is important. What is next, calling murder “health care?”