Jo'Anna Bird in an undated photo.

Jo'Anna Bird in an undated photo. Credit: Bird family

Story of Bird strikes sad chord with me

Having had orders of protection myself in the early 1980s, it is sad to see that nothing had changed in how the police handled these situations ["Jo’Anna Bird’s murder," News, Dec. 19].

The police would come talk to my ex-husband, think they had defused the situation and then allow him to leave. Only one time was he arrested, and that was only because he was arguing with the police. I was told that unless he physically harms me, there really wasn’t much they could do to him. I said I would have my family call the police after he killed me.

Taking off a day from work to get these orders is frightening and frustrating, and they aren’t worth the paper they are written on. One time, the police were laughing with my ex about "crazy exes." On another, I had an NYPD officer ask me if my order of protection was valid in Queens because it was issued by a Nassau County court. I’m confident there are thousands of women who have shared the same situations, but only by the grace of God did I not end up like Jo’Anna Bird.

— Maria DeMaio, Lynbrook

Register ex-cop as a sex offender

In "A Suffolk officer sexually abused a prisoner" [News, Dec. 12], the offending officer, Christopher McCoy, "served a year in prison" and "is barred from serving as a police officer again." Big deal.

This man should be labeled and registered as a sex offender. He should face the same difficulties in finding housing, a job and resuming his life after serving his time as any other registered sex offender. It’s just another illustration of how unjust and biased our judicial system is.

— Lisa Ritchie, Massapequa

Are there limits to freedom of speech?

A reader had problems with mocking Trump in cartoons, on signs, TV, etc. ["Where was concern mocking Trump," Just Sayin’, Dec. 18], comparing it to a "Let’s Go Brandon" sign, which denigrates President Joe Biden. I live in the Village of Babylon, and a neighbor flies a full-size flag high on a flagpole that spells out in large letters a profanity, "——— Biden."

I have grandchildren who can read. How do I explain to them what that means? Now that is what I call vulgar. I can clearly read the flag a quarter-mile away.

The village mayor was also appalled but says it is the neighbor’s right under freedom of speech. I would have no problem with him flying a flag that says "Trump."

Where does freedom of speech end and common sense and decency begin?

If one does not have respect for the man, at least have respect for the office and our wonderful country.

— Gerald Schappert, Babylon

Teachers’ unions must lead in COVID fight

Only fully vaccinated staff (boosted where applicable) and eligible vaccinated students should be allowed to attend school in person ["CDC: Let pupils remain in class if tested," News, Dec. 18]. This is necessary if we want students and staff to be healthy (physically and emotionally) while at the same time keeping students in school and keeping schools open during the pandemic. The safest environment is one where the maximum number of eligible students and staff are vaccinated. A safe workplace is a right.

In many cases, local teacher unions are uniquely positioned to make this a reality. Unions defend and protect individual choice through collective action and promoting the common good. Protecting the health and safety of members is central to union work. That work cannot be compromised by a false definition of choice. Whether and/or how to compensate the unvaccinated is a subject of collective bargaining. Risking the health of students and staff is not. The time to act is now.

— Richard Iannuzzi, Smithtown

The writer is a  former president of the New York State United Teachers union.

Looking at both sides of Manchin’s outlook

Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W. Va.) says he cannot back the Build Back Better bill for social and environmental plans because of debt impact ["Manchin: ‘I can’t vote for’ $2T bill," News, Dec. 20].

West Virginia residents receive more than 26% of their income from federal programs, the largest per capita distribution in the country, followed by Mississippi, Arkansas, Kentucky and Alabama. The hypocrisy of the red states is  evident.

If President Joe Biden’s program is disliked, perhaps congressional districts in states that don’t support the bill should opt out and return excess federal funds to the U.S. Treasury.

— Tom Buhse, Huntington Station

Where’s the list of things many Americans don’t want in the Democrats’ socialist bill? The article makes Manchin look like he is against puppies, kittens and lollipops.

Biden was elected as a moderate; this is not a moderate bill. Manchin, a moderate, decided that acting like a lemming was not a great idea. Don’t say the program is free and that it will be paid for by the wealthy.

The rich have smart tax accountants who will figure out how to protect their wealth.

— Tim Gallagher, Seaford

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