In this Oct. 2, 2016, file photo, from left, San...

In this Oct. 2, 2016, file photo, from left, San Francisco 49ers outside linebacker Eli Harold, quarterback Colin Kaepernick and safety Eric Reid kneel during the national anthem before an NFL football game against the Dallas Cowboys in Santa Clara, Calif.  Credit: AP/Marcio Jose Sanchez

Freedoms are risked when not exercised

Regarding not taking our freedoms for granted, let's understand what freedom is first ["Don’t take our American freedoms for granted," Just Sayin’, July 10]. Being offended by someone taking a knee at a game or the reader's perceived notion of elected officials "disparaging the greatness of this country" is the opposite of understanding what freedom is. Freedom is tough and often painful, and that is what cannot be taken for granted.

You cannot legislate human emotions, and you don’t get to say what is patriotic and what isn’t. The Supreme Court has ruled that flag burning is within someone’s rights under freedom of speech. It doesn’t physically harm anyone, albeit we all "feel something unpatriotic" about it when it occurs, but it is a person's "right" as an American. It’s not really an issue other than emotional because it doesn’t happen much in this country. If you’re offended, emotionally distraught, or otherwise put off by what you deem as unpatriotic -- although it is within the rights and laws of this land -- then I suggest you read the U.S. Constitution and, in particular, the Bill of Rights. Freedoms become threatened when people don’t exercise them, not when they do.

Steve Swalgen, Farmingdale

States should act against vaping firms

During my 40-plus years as a smoke-free environment activist, I witnessed tobacco industry tactics geared to the successful seduction of children to an addiction that could lead to a painful disease and death.

Striving for smoke-free public places and workplaces was an uphill battle for years, with incremental passage of smoke-free laws. Our eventual success, while establishing widespread protection of nonsmokers from the fumes, incentivized many smokers to quit, resulting in a tremendous reduction of smoking-related deaths.

The introduction of e-cigarettes, with the recognizable successful tactics to lure the young to vaping, has produced an alarming surge of epidemic proportions in underage vaping and subjects our youth to nicotine addiction.

It therefore is hoped that every other state will quickly follow North Carolina’s lead with strong legal action against Juul, the nation’s largest maker of vaping products, for the vital health protection of our youth.

— Claire Millman, Plainview

They’ve got a license to save money

On my regular 30-mile commute on the Long Island Expressway from Plainview to Yaphank, I encounter many trucks with Indiana, Oklahoma or Maine license plates. The company names on the side of the trucks usually reflect a New York, New Jersey or Connecticut address.

I am not sure why the registrations are from out of state, but I can surmise that it relates to insurance or registration costs.

And don’t forget about the Long Islanders driving with Vermont and Florida license plates for much of the year.

Either way, I’m sure New Yorkers are the losers.

— Richard Jacobson, Plainview

Let’s hold politicians accountable for acts

 There has been a growing chorus of defunding and reimagining everything from police to criminal justice.

Why don’t we defund our politicians who refuse to work together and focus on the real issues facing our country? Then we can reimagine our prosecutors and criminal justice system that are refusing to prosecute and hold people accountable for their acts.

We have an administration that is more concerned with vaccinating all Americans while thousands are crossing our southern border, many testing positive for COVID-19 with no consequences.

We will never be a safe, secure and COVID-free country until our leaders work together and solve these issues.

— Raymond P. Moran, Massapequa Park

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