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Newsday letters to the editor for Wednesday, Aug. 8, 2018

The Garden City Village Board voted July 25

The Garden City Village Board voted July 25 to put its 11 paid firefighters on administrative leave. Credit: Steven Pfost

Roots of ‘Gatsby’ setting aren’t critical

Filmmaker Robert Steven Williams’ thesis on the basic genesis of “The Great Gatsby” — that it might have been inspired by locations in Connecticut, not Long Island — can be defended. His scholarship is noteworthy [“I’m an open book about ‘Gatsby,’ ” Opinion, July 30].

The masterpiece book defines the Jazz Age or the Roaring ’20s. But I am sure that literary scholars could care less where the setting of the novel has its roots.

Thus, the narration of Nick Carraway and the “green light” that attracted the eye of Gatsby outshine the research of the writer of this article.

John J. Scirelli,Rosedale

Editor’s note: The writer taught high school English for 61 years.

Judge decided based on the facts

Blaming a judge for releasing a defendant who then commits a crime is part of what is wrong with today’s society [“Judge was wrong to release suspect,” Letters, Aug. 2]. No one can predict the future. Judges are not allowed to consider future events, except when it comes to sentencing after a person is convicted of a crime. Before that, everyone, including those with a criminal history, is afforded the presumption of innocence.

Bail is used to make sure someone returns to court. It is not about detaining someone merely because he or she is charged with a crime. Everyone should want the same standard if a family member were charged.

The judge in the case of Danueal Drayton was the third person involved in the decision process, after the police and the district attorney’s office. By all accounts, facts before this judge gave no indication of the defendant’s criminal history, which included felonies in Connecticut.

The district attorney did not ask for a high bail; a judge then initially granted a lower bail than requested by the district attorney, and this judge later released the person based on the facts before her. That is the legal process.

Despite all the rhetoric spewed every day, America is a nation of law and procedure. Judges are elected to uphold those laws and follow those procedures. Please respect the process, the position and the person!

Joseph Lo Piccolo,Garden City

Editor’s note: The writer is a criminal defense attorney.

Fearmongering over Garden City fire safety

It was interesting to read the opinions of two veteran firefighters, telling Garden City how to run its community [“Village should keep paid firefighters,” Letters, Aug. 5].

Their comments would probably carry more weight if they actually now lived in our village.

To imply that three paid firefighters on duty provide a greater safety net than our 102 volunteers is more of the fearmongering our residents have had to endure from the union. It is a shame that residents are being told their homes will burn to the ground, and their loved ones will die, without full-time firefighters.

However, what I really want to know is why these two gentlemen aren’t directing their energies to hire paid firefighters in their own communities, which have all-volunteer fire departments. I also feel for their loved ones, knowing these men chose to live in evidently less safe communities that lack paid firefighters.

Lawrence Nedelka,Garden City

Editor’s note: The writer has been a volunteer with the village fire department for 44 years and is a former chief.

Ridiculous suggestion to fund school security

A reader complained that taxpayers will be saddled with the cost to secure schools with cameras and other security measures [“Gun-rights advocates should pay for bond,” Letters, Aug. 3].

I agree with him that schools should be safe places and our children ought to not worry about terror in their schools. But this gentleman does not think things through. He wants to punish the gunmakers, the NRA and my fellow NRA members for the cost of these security measures. Consider that guns themselves do not kill people. After all, far more people are killed by cars than guns, and I do not see his outrage targeting automakers. As far as the NRA and its members are concerned, this is a false argument; there has not been one mass shooting by a member of the NRA.

So, who can we blame? How about the people who commit these heinous crimes?

John Savin,Massapequa

The suggestion that gun-rights activists should pay for bonds for school protection would be discriminatory and penalize law-abiding citizens for their Second Amendment right. Criminals and mentally challenged people cause the bulk of gun-related deaths, not law-abiding citizens.

The reader’s suggestion is thoughtless. We could apply his convoluted idea to other issues. Why must people with no children pay exorbitant school taxes? Why do we pay high auto insurance premiums even if we never have a claim? When thousands of people die from opioid abuse, it affects our health insurance. Should only the families of victims pay?

Stop vilifying the law-abiding citizen. Focus on the problem: criminals and mental illness.

Lawrence Harkavy,St. James