Vera Jourova, a European Union commissioner, speaks Jan. 24, 2018,...

Vera Jourova, a European Union commissioner, speaks Jan. 24, 2018, in Brussels about a new EU regulation on data protection. Credit: EPA-EFE / REX / Shutterstock / Oliver Hoslet

Salvadoran refugees need help to stay

I would like my representatives in Congress to know that as a U.S. citizen and registered Republican, I support a fast-track path to citizenship for law-abiding people who are here under temporary protected status — specifically those from El Salvador [“The end of our American dream?,” Opinion, Jan. 22].

They came here legally and are stuck without a path to citizenship. Many of those who have been here for long periods have clearly proved to be worthy and productive U.S. residents.

Salvadoran friends of mine have been here for 17 years. They have earned the privilege to apply for citizenship. I urge my representatives to create and pass legislation before the administration’s September 2019 deadline to keep them here, safely and legally.

Patricia Golden, East Williston

5-cent bag fee could change behavior

As a longtime bag reuser and recycler, I laughed out loud at columnist Lane Filler’s piece “Hey, 5-cent bags for the whole store!” [Opinion, Jan. 24]. I’ve been carrying my trunk-residing, E. coli-tainted reusables for at least 10 years.

What I notice about people is the most interesting. Younger cashiers seem to have no idea that bags wind up in landfills or wrapped around tree branches; older cashiers smile and tell me how good my habit is and say they wish they could get used to doing the same.

I’ve traveled to the other side of town to save 3 cents a gallon on gas. Let’s hope the exorbitant nickel charge for a shopping bag does change people’s ways!

Joanne Talbot, Massapequa Park

EU acting to protect personal data

Regarding “Are devices spying on every breath we take?” by writer Mike Vogel [Opinion, Jan. 27], I would say, hate the game not the player.

Vogel tries to associate loss of privacy with technological innovation, rather than celebrate innovation for empowering people and organizations to achieve more. The real issue is the lack of a personal data-protection regulation in the United States.

We would be wise to emulate the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation, which takes effect May 25. This regulation focuses on privacy and protection of personal data. It will require data collectors and processors to implement far-reaching controls over the lawful use of data.

Interestingly, the EU is not going to incur massive costs. The cost of the protections falls on companies collecting and processing personal data. Look at a company like Microsoft, or any global bank, to see how it is increasing protection of the personal data of employees and customers. Technical innovation and protecting privacy are not mutually exclusive!

Pat Esposito, West Babylon

Teach kids to identify and talk about abuse

We teach children to say no, get away and tell someone if someone touches them inappropriately [“A betrayal of trust,” Editorial, Jan. 28]. But what happens when a child’s cry for help falls on deaf ears? Was it greed, fame or fortune that caused adults responsible for the care and well-being of our premier gymnasts to turn a blind eye to the sexual abuse?

More than 200 young women have effectively told their stories for the world to hear. The judge in the case of sports doctor Larry Nassar has given them a voice and has validated their collective outrage, but this cannot be the end of the story.

Let’s teach children in school and at home about sexual abuse, and give them the language to speak up and speak out. Parents, emphasize that your child will not get in trouble if she tells you about abuse or other confusing events. Believe her if she discloses abuse and believe her the very first time.

The adage it takes a village to raise a child could not be more timely in reminding all of us that protecting children is a community responsibility.

Alane Fagin, Roslyn

Editor’s note: The writer is executive director of Child Abuse Prevention Services, a nonprofit agency.

The horrific, pervasive sexual abuse perpetrated by U.S. women’s gymnastics team doctor Larry Nassar is appalling.

Even more appalling is that there were at least 14 people at Michigan State University, where he also treated athletes, who knew of allegations against him dating back to 1997.

I’m the mother of a competitive gymnast and a counselor at Child Abuse Prevention Services. Why was this allowed to go on for so long? Sadly, I know a reason. Abusers abuse as long as they can because they can. They abuse their power and position to manipulate and destroy the lives of those they are entrusted to protect.

In Nassar’s case, others knew. Others were complicit. Others made a clear choice. They chose to be silent. Their priorities were medals, money, sponsorships and prestige over the physical and mental well-being of children.

Many victims do not even realize what is happening is sexual abuse. Nassar’s abuse was under the guise of medical treatment. Perhaps if the people at the women’s gymnastics governing body or the university mandated education programs for athletes, the abuse would have ended earlier.

Kara Santucci, Long Beach


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