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Newsday letters to the editor for Tuesday, March 6, 2018

Adm. Michael Rogers, director of the National Security

Adm. Michael Rogers, director of the National Security Agency, testifies before the Senate Armed Services Committee on Feb. 27, 2018, in Washington. Credit: Getty Images / Win McNamee

Wording went too far on pot and fatalities

I read the Feb. 14 news story “Pot ‘holiday’ linked to rise in fatal crashes” with concern.

Since a report in High Times magazine in 1991, April 20 has been known as a marijuana holiday. Your news story was based on research published in JAMA Internal Medicine that analyzed 25 years of data and found a 12 percent rise in the relative risk of a fatal traffic crash after 4:20 p.m. on April 20 compared with a day the week before and a day the week after.

The words “linked to” in the Newsday headline and Associated Press story went too far, implying causation between the marijuana use and the accidents. JAMA used less definite language, saying researchers hypothesized that the pot celebration “might be associated with” a higher risk of traffic accidents on April 20.

Readers should take care not to draw conclusions based only on the higher number of fatal crashes on the pot holiday. As the news story pointed out, the research lacked evidence on whether pot was involved in any crash. In addition, no attempt was made to tease out the effect of alcohol versus marijuana.

I’m not advocating the legalization of marijuana. Rather, I’m advocating the proper use of research.

Todd Kaiser, Bayville

When will Trump protect elections?

In his testimony before the Senate Armed Services Committee, Adm. Michael Rogers, director of the National Security Agency, said he had not been granted “any additional authorities, capacity and capability” by President Donald Trump to counter and deter further interference by Russia in U.S. elections.

“If we don’t change the dynamic here, this [the interference] is going to continue,” Rogers said.

Why, then, is Trump, who spends so much of his waking Twitter day demonstrating his obsession with a wall to protect our southern border, sleepwalking when it comes to protecting from Russian intrusion our electoral system, which is the benchmark of our democracy [“Billboards refuse to be ignored,” Opinion, Feb. 25]?

Instead of harmonizing with shopworn anti-Hillary Clinton chants of “Lock her up,” he should show leadership in answering the public’s demand to know what the president is going to do, and when he will do it. When it comes to defeating the intent of Russian operatives to subvert the integrity of how our country chooses its public officials, Trump’s continued silence and inaction may reveal him as Vladimir Putin’s Manchurian candidate.

Chuck Cutolo, Westbury

Editor’s note: The writer worked as a Democratic legislative director on Capitol Hill for 17 years.

Violent video games are a toxic influence

I agree there should be no sale of firearms to anyone younger than 21, and there should be mandatory training and certification for first-time owners of firearms [“Trump urges background check bill,” News, March 1].

This, and more, will help control the means to gun violence. What is really needed is to examine the cause.

I believe there is a direct connection between these violent acts and video games. Are parents aware that these games can be extremely violent? They are played mostly by boys, and boys are committing most of these school shootings.

A child spending endless hours playing video games that involve shooting and killing many targets might be the basis for some to commit these cold, violent acts. Stop using games as an electronic babysitter; be aware of what video games your child is playing.

The next step should be to examine the violence in movies, which often portray killing as a means to an end.

Robert Gardner, Blue Point