On St. Patrick's Day, on the 10:11 a.m. train from Ronkonkoma to Penn Station, at least 50 revelers, already drunk and rowdy, filled almost an entire car at one of the first few stops. Many appeared to be underage, and they were passing around bottles of alcohol and other beverages.
At one point, one young man shotgunned a beer -- puncturing the can near the bottom so the contents spilled out -- and poured it over the seat in front of him, drenching a non-reveling commuter. The conductor walked through, smiling and laughing, and waved it off.
The rest of us, who had already paid for our rides from Ronkonkoma, should have been given free rides, and the property-destroying, cursing, screaming drunks should have been kicked off the train. My ears were still ringing two hours later.
Among the rest of us riders, there would have been no lack of backup for the conductor should he have wanted to take other actions.
It was widely publicized that there would be a systemwide alcohol ban in effect from early Tuesday, March 17, until 5 the following morning. That ban was supposed to be enforced on trains, platforms and stations. How dare the Long Island Rail Road! The St. Patrick's Day alcohol restrictions are a joke.
I want a refund for my trip. The LIRR needs to find ways to enforce alcohol restrictions. This ride was the longest and most unpleasant trip I've ever suffered through.
Ellyn Stein, Middle Island
Gun ownership and killing
My wife and I were returning from a trip upstate to Saranac Lake and on the way to the train station. Our taxi driver swerved to avoid hitting a deer that had dashed in front of his SUV. We asked whether he was a hunter, and he answered emphatically, "No, I would never kill an animal."
However, he went on to say that he owned three guns: a pistol, a rifle and a shotgun. He explained that he has the shotgun so he would be able to shoot through a wall if someone broke into his home. We asked whether there were many break-ins in the area, and he answered, "No, we have a very peaceful town."
I had a strong urge to tell him about the South Carolina man who recently shot and killed a man in his yard, only to find out the intruder was his estranged son-in-law. I also wanted to tell him that history has proved there is a far greater chance that a gun in the house becomes the gun that kills a loved one, rather than protecting them.
I couldn't predict how he would react, so I remained silent. This was someone who would never kill an animal but would consider killing a human.
Samuel Ango, Baldwin
2016 primaries will be costly
Must we have three separate primaries in 2016? The plan is to hold presidential, federal and state primaries. Combining the federal and state primary dates would save taxpayers an estimated $50 million.
In 2012, the New York State Assembly passed a one-house bill to combine the federal and state primaries. The New York State Senate didn't agree. Why not?
Our elected officials in Albany must take action this year to combine the primaries in 2016 and save taxpayers millions of dollars.
Donald Wagner, Southold