Letters to the Editor: January 15, 2014

Are we all safe in So­chi? 

Rob Har­ris from the As­so­ci­ated Press wrote an en­light­en­ing art­icle in Sunday’s In­quirer titled “Olympic Games’ Safety a Chal­lenge for Putin.”  It could also be a night­mare for Putin, giv­en the de­mean­or of his re­ac­tion to the bomb­ings in Vol­gagrad. Thirty-four people per­ished in two sep­ar­ate at­tacks there re­cently and he ap­pears to be threatened on a very per­son­al level. In­stead of an­ger and re­vul­sion with the ter­ror­ists, he was shown in a hel­met at a So­chi ice rink, smil­ing. Is this the way we’d ex­pect the former head of the K.G.B. to be pic­tured fol­low­ing a vi­ol­ent at­tack on his cit­izens, so close to the winter Olympics site?

Pri­or to the start of the Olympics in Mex­ico City, the gov­ern­ment of­fi­cials locked up every­one con­sidered a threat to the peace and held them for the dur­a­tion of the games. And what is Putin do­ing after be­ing served no­tice by the ter­ror­ists in such a hor­rif­ic man­ner, he’s con­duct­ing a P.R. cam­paign in an ap­par­ent ef­fort to con­ceal his fear. I hon­estly thought that there would be spe­cial secret po­lice hunt­ing down these vi­cious thugs at their com­pounds and hideouts, de­liv­er­ing a very spe­cial sort of justice, un­til they were thor­oughly dis­cour­aged from their hor­rible acts. I am grossly dis­ap­poin­ted with Mr. Putin.

Jim O’Keefe 

Castor Gar­dens

It’s the same old PGW

Sev­er­al years ago, after a typ­ic­al frus­trat­ing ex­per­i­ence with the Phil­adelphia Gas Works, the North­east Times pub­lished the de­tails of my ex­per­i­ence.

I chal­lenged the read­ers to identi­fy a com­pany which they felt was run worse than PGW. My chal­lenge went un­answered. I con­firmed my be­lief that PGW is, in fact, Phil­adelphia’s worst-run com­pany.

Over the past sev­er­al years, PGW re­duced our budget pay­ment from $71 per month, to $48 per month, then to $29 per month. Last month we were not billed. We re­ceived a bill for $290, and an im­me­di­ate in­crease in our budget to $145 per month. PGW simply ex­plained that there was a sys­tem er­ror and our budget amount has been wrong for years. I be­lieve that PGW work­ers may ac­tu­ally be in­com­pet­ent enough to work for the Obama ad­min­is­tra­tion. 

Joseph A. Breen

Fox Chase

Let’s stop straw pur­chases

It is won­der­ful that a straw gun pur­chaser was iden­ti­fied and held ac­count­able for buy­ing a gun, which he then sold to a minor (NE Times, Dec. 11, p. 8). 

The NE Times art­icle re­port is a sad ex­ample of the real­ity that guns pur­chased to be dis­trib­uted on the street are a ma­jor factor in gun vi­ol­ence.  In fact, city stat­ist­ics show that of the 316 hom­icides in Phil­adelphia in 2011, 85 per­cent were com­mit­ted with guns, and all of the guns used were il­leg­ally pos­sessed.

Those guns were ini­tially pur­chased leg­ally at a gun shop; many were then giv­en or sold to per­sons pro­hib­ited from hav­ing them.  Sixty-one per­cent were bought with­in 10 miles of the crime. We need to make sure that this crim­in­al activ­ity — straw pur­chas­ing — is pre­ven­ted in the first place.  

That is why Heed­ing God’s Call, a faith-based, multi-state gun vi­ol­ence pre­ven­tion or­gan­iz­a­tion, is call­ing on gun deal­ers to sign a 10-point code of con­duct that would re­duce straw pur­chas­ing sub­stan­tially.  The vol­un­tary code, avail­able at www.heed­ing­god­scall.org, was de­veloped by May­ors Against Il­leg­al Guns and Wal­mart (the na­tion’s largest gun deal­er).  It simply calls on gun shops to take all steps re­quired by law, and a few ad­di­tion­al ones, to identi­fy po­ten­tial il­leg­al pur­chasers.  

Rev. Dav­id W. Brown

Fox Chase

Thank you for vot­ing ‘no’

One Philly State rep­res­ent­at­ive voted “NO” to tax in­creases. Thank you, John Sabat­ina! The in­crease will af­fect gas prices to fill our cars, vehicle re­gis­tra­tion and driver’s li­censes.  

It also could af­fect products such as food and all goods that have to be trans­por­ted on Pennsylvania roads. There has not been a worse time to raise “taxes” on us with the eco­nomy still strug­gling and people work­ing twice as hard to make ends meet. 

Sabat­ina is hy­per-sens­it­ive to this be­cause his North­east Philly dis­trict en­com­passes many ded­ic­ated blue- and white-col­lar cit­izens.  

Myles Gor­don


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