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Letter: Free Speech And Freedom From Violence

Protesters with crude handmade signs occupied the Jericho Turnpike corners of Willis Avenue and Mineola Boulevard on a recent Saturday.  One of their hand-lettered posters made an insulting anatomical reference to a local elected official.  I asked the protesters what they were protesting, and they responded that they were protesting the “SAFE Act.”   I asked what was wrong with the SAFE act, and they responded “Everything!” claiming that it took away their right to own guns.  One apparent leader of the group asked why I was asking these questions, and I responded that I believed they had been given incorrect information, perhaps some of the half-truths and outright misinformation distributed by gun manufacturers through lobbyists such as the National Rifle Association.  A younger protester began to yell at me that it “they” were taking away his constitutional right to own guns, but fortunately the more mature fellow calmed him and continued the discussion with me.  I asked if they were aware that there was nothing in the SAFE Act that limited the number of guns they could own, as long as they were not convicted felons or adjudicated mentally ill.  At that point, the other protesters started raising their voices, unfortunately interrupting the intelligent discussion I was having with their colleague.  I wished them a nice day and moved on.

 

Misinformation is peddled to gullible people—and I believe this is done intentionally by gun manufacturers through their lobbyists.  For example, one of the protesters told me that the Newtown shooter left his “AR-15” in the trunk of his car and executed children with handguns.  In fact, police records show that 154 bullets in the massacre were fired from a Bushmaster XN-15-ES2 semi-automatic rifle, and one bullet was fired from a Glock handgun, which was apparently the suicide shot.  A shotgun was later found in the shooter’s vehicle.  

 

Sadly, this propaganda creates a situation where people are led to believe that it is patriotic to oppose any efforts to reduce gun violence. 

 

Also sadly, on the day before my conversation with these protestors, it appears that a young man in California, upset about his parents’ divorce, killed his father and brother and went on a shooting rampage, killing three others whose misfortune it was to leave their homes to run errands or attend school.  There is no indication that this disturbed individual would not have become violent even without access to guns, but surely a gun made it much easier for him to kill five people in a short time when he apparently became enraged.

 

In the interest of full disclosure, I am a politically active registered Republican, and after gun violence affected me personally I decided to become educated, and then involved, in preventing gun violence.  I am sending a copy of this letter and a contribution to the campaign of the elected official named by the protesters.  My intent is to offset any negative impact that these uninformed persons may have inflicted.  I am proud to live in a country where people are free to express their views.  I am embarrassed that some people use that right for misinformation, insults and vitriol.  And I am sad that our country leads the civilized world in gun violence.

 

Paul May

 

Mineola resident


News

Senator Jack Martins discussed education, business and drug use among other topics in a an exclusive interview with this newspaper and FiOS 1 News. He’s currently seeking re-election in November, being challenged by Democrat Adam Haber. Pointing to what he called “key legislation,” particularly the tax cap legislation passed in 2011 and prescription drug bill he helped shepherd to enactment, Martins feels New York State is on track to continue fiscal responsibility.

 

“In these last four years, we’ve had four balanced budgets, we’ve cut taxes working together, we have paid off debt, streamlined government, kept spending below 2 percent each one of those years,” Martins said.

A contingent of 80 Mineola runners embarked on their first trek to lower Manhattan last year for the Tunnel To Towers 5K Run through the Brooklyn Battery Tunnel toward the World Trade Center site. This year, the United Mavericks, a networking group of local business people that support local charities and causes, are gearing up surpass that number.

Mavericks reps say they’re half way to gathering 1,000 people to run in the event’s 13th year on Saturday, Sept. 28.

 

The run honors a fireman Stephen Siller, who was enjoying a day off planning to play golf before he learned the Twin Towers were hit by two airplanes during the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks. He was one of the 343 firefighters who died when the towers collapsed.


Sports

Though it had already hosted the series of lacrosse games during the regular season this past spring, Chaminade High School’s new Gold Star Stadium was officially christened on Saturday, Sept. 6, named in honor of the 56 alumni who had perished during combat.

 

“Tradition holds that when one dies in the service a gold star is given to the family,” said Chaminade President Bro. Thomas Cleary. “Our 56 Gold Star Alumni are honored for their selflessness, courage, and integrity.”

Although the expectations for the 2014 Mineola Mustangs boy’s varsity soccer season may be somewhat measured, the team enters the season with the goal of a berth in the Nassau County playoffs. The team is young and inexperienced but there is light at the end of the tunnel.

 

There is considerable talent on the horizon. There are only four starting seniors and five sophomores on the roster. Four year starting senior forward Daniel Pardo returns (19 goals in three seasons) as does senior standout goalkeeper Andrew Pereira.


Calendar

Town Zoning Meeting - September 17

International Night - September 18

Bereavement Support Group - September 19


Columns

1959: The Year The Music Stopped Playing
Written by Michael A. Miller, mmillercolumn@gmail.com

The Eccentric Heiress Of ‘Empty Mansions’
Written by Mike Barry, MFBarry@optonline.net

Yellow Margarine And A Pitch For The Ages
Written by Michael A. Miller, mmillercolumn@gmail.com