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Newsday letters to the editor for Wednesday, Nov. 15, 2017

Newsday readers respond to topics covered.

A memorial for the victims of the shooting

A memorial for the victims of the shooting at Sutherland Springs, Texas, First Baptist Church includes 26 white chairs, each painted with a cross and and rose, is displayed inside the church on Sunday, Nov. 12. Photo Credit: AP / Eric Gay

Embarrassed by military leadership

There are several recent examples of poor military leadership [“Trump irate at no prison for deserter,” News, Nov. 4]. All of these incidents should be looked into and further action taken to remove those who haven’t done their duty.

In January 2016, two U.S. Navy ships were taken over by Iranian patrol boats. Two recent collisions between Navy destroyers and commercial vessels caused the loss of 17 lives. Yes, the naval fleet commander resigned, but these open-sea disasters are the fault of naval leaders who failed to adequately train their personnel.

Also, these: The military court decision giving no jail time to Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl, and the Texas church shooting, where the U.S. Air Force failed to inform the FBI of the shooter’s crime record.

The Bergdahl lack of jail time could lead to a relaxed response, where troops will have no fear of losing their freedom for undisciplined acts.

We may have had some incompetence during my service time, from 1948 to 1952. However, I’m glad to say that I was honored to serve with well-trained, responsible Marine Corps officers.

Joseph Brancati, Plainview

Soften tax blow for high-tax states

Thet tax reform proposals being advocated by House and Senate Republicans unfairly target states with both high population centers and high property values, like New York and New Jersey.

The irony is that red states, which often advocate for a smaller footprint for the federal government, are much more dependent on federal money than blue states.

To mitigate this hypcrocisy, an amendment should be attached mandating that states cannot receive more than what they pay in federal taxes. Only then can the issue of fairness begin to be addressed.

Clifford D. Glass, East Rockaway

Pass King bill for background checks

As a volunteer with Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America, I spend a lot of time working to stop the epidemic of gun violence in our country [“Looking for sense in nation’s gun laws,” Letters, Oct. 27].

In recent weeks, we’ve endured not only two horrific mass shootings — in Las Vegas and at a Texas church — but also the less-discussed gun violence, including suicides, that kills 93 Americans each day. Despite this obvious threat to public health, Congress has done nothing.

Rep. Peter King said he still expects no action from Congress. Nevertheless, he recently reintroduced his bipartisan bill to strengthen federal laws on background checks. The existing law only requires background checks for sales by licensed firearm dealers, which means guns can be sold online or at gun shows with no background check, no questions asked, and no way to know whether the buyer is a criminal or otherwise prohibited from having guns.

King’s background check legislation would cover all commercial sales, and I applaud King for taking this step to keep Americans safe.

Laura Burns, Rockville Centre

Entrenched powers won ‘con-con’ vote

They say you get the government you deserve, and it was never more apparent than by the unintelligent vote against a constitutional convention for New York [“Constitutional convention rejected,” News, Nov. 8].

Who do you think spent the millions of dollars for “no” vote signs and newspaper ads? It was the entrenched powers that feared losing their positions and ability to control where people’s tax money goes. For shame! New York voters’ lack of intelligence is breathtaking.

Maybe when the question comes up again in 20 years we’ll have a more erudite voting public. I doubt it.

Bob Cavaliere, Port Jefferson Station

Public budgets bear pension burdens

Pensions have been a politician’s best friend [“Unions bolster vote ‘no’ effort,” News, Oct. 31].

With little money in the budget to buy union votes by raising wages, political leaders have raised pension benefits instead. This leaves the politicians serving when the pensions come due to worry about paying for them.

I predict this will be the next bank bailout, as several states including Illinois are teetering on bankruptcy from underfunding their retired public workers’ pensions.

The ability to reconfigure public pensions was one argument for a constitutional convention. No politician has the intestinal fortitude to make the difficult decisions that need to be made, just as was the case in the debate over Social Security financial shortfalls. Their careers come before our country. America’s future is bleak!

Gary Bravstein, Searingtown