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Newsday letters to the editor for Friday, March 9, 2018

A teacher is shown how to handle a

A teacher is shown how to handle a handgun by instructor Clint Simon, right, at a class on concealed-weapons given to 200 teachers on Dec. 27, 2012, in West Valley City, Utah. Credit: Getty Images / George Frey

Tariffs? No, make deals on imports

President Donald Trump is making a major mistake by putting tariffs on foreign goods [“Firm on tariffs,” News, March 5]. The United States cannot return to a protectionist economy.

Many consumers are outside the United States. Free trade opens those markets to American companies.

Instead of imposing tariffs on imported steel and aluminum, Trump should have negotiated adjustments to the imports. Jobs will be lost if other nations close their markets to U.S. goods. Also, consumers here will pay more because of the tariffs.

Globalization is not the problem for the American worker. New technology and productivity result in a greater percentage of job losses in the United States.

America should wake up to the need to adjust to the global economy.

William Lemmey,Astoria

SBU Foundation has scrupulous oversight

As a Stony Brook Foundation board member, I was outraged to read the Feb. 28 news story “Stony Brook hit in SUNY funds audit.”

The state comptroller’s office substitutes its judgment for that of the foundation board regarding how we allocate money raised from private sources in support of Stony Brook University. Not a single penny of state money is involved with the foundation.

The foundation supports salaries and benefits of Stony Brook faculty and staff. SBU is one of the preeminent research universities in the country. An important factor in that achievement is being able to attract the best and the brightest, thereby ensuring Stony Brook’s position as a world-class university. This money is fully vetted by the foundation board and approved by SUNY administration.

The comptroller’s office paints a picture of a foundation without proper oversight. Nothing could be further from the truth. The foundation board’s audit committee and full board carefully review and approve the expenditures of the foundation. Annual audits are performed by top accounting firms.

The foundation adheres rigorously to all federal and state laws, including the annual filing of Form 990s with the IRS to detail expenditures.

Richard T. Nasti, Stony Brook

Not in favor of teachers packing heat

As a retired Jericho district teacher, I’m outraged by President Donald Trump’s suggestion that selected teachers be armed in our schools [“Arm teachers, Trump tells conservatives,” News, Feb. 24]. This outrageous proposition has no place in our educational system. There are far better alternatives:

Outlaw weapons of mass destruction. Raise the age of purchase for pistols, rifles and shotguns to 21 throughout the country, and thoroughly vet purchasers. Have a 90-day waiting period, and require a safety course for new owners. In addition, it’s essential that the government investigate the reopening of mental health facilities. People who need help have few options. Buildings must be reopened or built, staffed with qualified personnel, and funded sufficiently so that those in need receive the services they deserve.

If all these steps are promptly taken, there will be no need for educators to be armed in classrooms.

Carol Spielberger, Syosset

Arm teachers? I believe thoughtful people know this approach is unrealistic.

Picture a first-grade teacher with a pistol who is trying to return fire with a deranged shooter who has a semi-automatic assault rifle.

The shooter has probably taken steps for months to prepare himself, and he has trained with his weapon(s). Arming people at the school is too little, too late. Also, a shooter who knows that the school has armed people might wear bulletproof clothing.

The shooter usually has a huge weapons advantage. We must concentrate on stopping him as he prepares.

Richard T. Knadle Jr., Dix Hills

President Donald Trump is under the impression that teachers roaming the halls locked and loaded would make our schools safer.

In a speech before conservative activists, the president gave this rationale: “The teacher would have shot the hell out of him before it ever happened.”

Shoot someone before anything happens? What the president advocates is that teachers execute a suspect before a single shot is fired. That is, teachers are asked to look at a person, make an instant judgment about his or her intentions, and shoot the gunman. Only afterward would the teachers ask questions and try to work out exactly what happened.

The potential for misreading a situation is enormous. It’s not the responsibility of teachers to engage in shoot-outs with deranged people. It’s the responsibility of our government to keep military-grade weapons out of the hands of civilians.

Catherine Peacock, Bay Shore

Editor’s note: The writer is a retired teacher.