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Letter: Tea party doesn't advocate violence

As a supporter of the tea party movement, I was horrified to read Anne Michaud's op-ed in which she implied that right-leaning groups bore responsibility for the killing of two police officers in Las Vegas last month ["Stirring an unhealthy political brew," Opinion, June 19].

Amanda and Jerad Miller, a convicted felon, held radical anti-government beliefs not espoused by the tea party. The tea party is not anti-government. The core tenets are 1) limited government, not no government; 2) free-market economies; 3) fiscal responsibility. The tea party has never promoted violence as a means to an end.

The tea party bears no responsibility for the maniacal beliefs and evil actions of two psychotic killers. Suggesting that a "comment" on these depraved acts should have been forthcoming by the tea party is misguided and insulting to all of the law-abiding citizens who are guilty of nothing more than engaging in the political process by expressing their displeasure at the loss of liberty that is inherent with the growth of government.

Margaret Read Federico, Massapequa

Pedestrian deaths on Hempstead Tpke.

How many more deaths will it take before engineers and lawmakers come up with a feasible solution to save lives on Hempstead Turnpike? ["Turnpike safety everyone's job," Editorial, June 24].

Lowering the speed limit is most likely not the solution, since some drivers have a tendency to ignore posted speed limits.

Have these possibilities been considered: a pedestrian overpass or a tunnel underneath the turnpike? I don't know if either is feasible, but certainly a remedy is desperately needed.

Beth Rose Macht, Long Beach

The tragedy of the 13-year-old girl killed by a hit-and-run on Hempstead Turnpike further shows that we need to share the roads equitably between motorists and non-motorists.

Full-time monitoring of intersections would enlighten authorities to the areas where jaywalkers impact the flow of traffic. At first, people will grumble about the higher level of monitoring, but like the intersections where red-light cameras are installed, violations would decrease.

Ron Hlawaty, Levittown

Many of the "improvements" to Hempstead Turnpike have actually worsened safety. The retimed traffic signals, especially in the corridor between West Hempstead and Queens border, make up a random pattern that encourages drivers to speed up to try to make it through at least a few lights before one changes.

The work done on Queens Boulevard a decade ago should serve as a model for the state Department of Transportation. The stop signals were modified to increase pedestrian crossing time; roadway markings emphasize pedestrian crosswalks; there are pedestrian signals on median islands; oversized speed-limit signs were posted and police increased enforcement of the speed limit; and officials gave safety education presentations at senior citizens centers.

It was reported that all of these improvements cost a mere $150,000. From 1993 until 2000, there were 72 pedestrian deaths. In 2011, for the first time, there were none.

Yes, we need to find a way to make Hempstead Turnpike safer for all, but it can be done without inconveniencing motorists any further.

Thomas Lithgow, Garden City

Chewing tobacco can be deadly, too

In "Chewing over a messy subject" [Sports, June 22], John Jeansonne said Tony Gwynn was one of Major League Baseball's most admired and loved figures. He is gone far too young, at age 54, dying from oral cancer that he got as a result of his years of using spit tobacco.

During his last few years, Gwynn talked openly about the dangers of spit tobacco in the hope of preventing others from suffering the way he did. It's unfortunate that the only time we talk about this issue is after we lose yet another life.

As a nurse practitioner working with people to end their tobacco addiction, I know how difficult the road to abstinence can be. The best way to prevent others from Tony Gwynn's fate is to prevent the initiation of tobacco use.

Daniel Jacobsen, Amityville

Terrorists undermine an open Israel

Regarding "Israel as a beacon of democracy, or not" [Letters, June 20], the increased checkpoints are necessary to ensure Israel's safety against terrorist attacks, which have escalated since the unity of Fatah and Hamas.

The recent kidnapping of three teenagers by Hamas is an example that this is a terrorist organization that seeks to destroy the Jews.

Arab citizens have the right to vote, hold political positions in government and attend universities in Israel. They are treated in Israel's hospitals and even given transplants when necessary. This does not sound like they are being mistreated. In fact, many Arabs prefer to be citizens due to their good treatment.

Arab terrorist factions keep Israel from having a fully open society, for they have to do everything in their power to protect their citizens.

Rosalie Malkiel, Syosset