Thank you for covering the thousands-strong march across the Brooklyn Bridge to protest anti-Semitic attacks in the metropolitan area [“Rallying against hate, fear,” News, Jan. 6]. While events in Monsey and Jersey City feel close enough to jar, the sad fact is that anti-Semitic violence is also on the rise across the United States, including on Long Island.
Last month, a rabbi was subject to a vulgar attack in a Lawrence shopping center. Swastikas have been reported in several parks. And more alarming, swastikas were found last month on the site of the Holocaust Memorial and Tolerance Center in Glen Cove. It was a loathsome and worrisome attack against an institution dedicated to combating such hate.
Politicians are speaking out — sometimes forcefully, sometimes not. Police hate-crimes units in Nassau and Suffolk, thankfully, can be counted on to investigate, though sadly the bulk of their mandate is in the aftermath of attacks on the Jewish community.
It will fall on Long Islanders to rid our own backyards of anti-Semitism. A way for all Long Islanders to begin is to take a few hours and visit the Holocaust center both to bear witness and to avoid the worst possible outcomes of unchecked anti-Semitism, and to help build more positive connections across our island’s diverse communities.
Todd L. Pittinsky,
Editor’s note: The writer is a professor at Stony Brook University and author of “Us Plus Them: Tapping the Positive Power of Difference.”
Wrong to compare NY, Texas gun laws
As a retired NYPD detective, I feel that a response is required to the letter regarding the tragic shooting in White Settlement, Texas [“Armed guard saved church congregants,” Letters, Jan. 3].
Comparing New York’s “restrictive gun laws” with the liberal gun laws of Texas is absurd and maddening. The writer does not mention or question how the shooter, Keith Kinnunen, was able to acquire a handgun after he was arrested multiple times in New Jersey and Texas on weapons charges. Perhaps because of Texas laws.
The writer also fails to mention that there were two armed guards, one tragically killed. The other, who stopped Kinnunen, is a former reserve deputy and a firearms instructor, hardly the average person. New York State has armed well-regulated security personnel; many are former military or law enforcement who have gone through extensive checks to be licensed to carry firearms. This tragedy reinforces the intention of the Second Amendment — “A well-regulated militia . . .” — not the deliberate misinterpretation of the National Rifle Association and its proponents that everyone has the right to possess a gun.
In response to the letter “Armed guard saved church congregants,” yes the volunteer armed security guard is a hero. Saying the nonrestrictive gun laws of Texas saved the day is missing the bigger picture. Someone was able to walk into a church and kill worshippers. Other shooting victims in Texas did not have such a savior. In 2017, 26 people were fatally shot in the Sutherland Springs shooting; in 2018, 10 people were shot and killed in Santa Fe High School; in 2019, 22 people died in a shooting at an El Paso Walmart and seven were killed in the West Texas cities of Midland and Odessa.
Restrictive gun laws in New York have helped prevent these types of shootings here. Having to hope a good person is faster than a killer often armed with a semi-automatic weapon is not a good first line of defense. In Dayton, Ohio, police officers in 2019 killed a shooter in 30 seconds — but first he killed nine people.
Better gun laws, and better recognition of haters and violent people, are needed. We, the public, deserve this and demand it because our lives are at stake.
Deer population more significant problem
I read with interest Sunday’s letters, specifically those about the increasing numbers of wild turkeys and Canada geese on Long Island [“Quick to rationalize killing wild turkeys,” Jan. 5]. What immediately came to mind was a way bigger problem — that of our deer population!
Roaming freely all over eastern Suffolk County, they cause crop and flower damage, defecate on lawns, and most important, cause car accidents running across roads. Without controls, their population steadily increases. We occasionally hear about attempts to control them, but nothing ever seems to happen. It seems petty to complain about a few birds when the deer are much more of a serious problem.
Lee Ann Silver,
Survivor’s lesson is worth heeding
Thank you Joie Tyrrell for your sensitive, moving article about Esther Basch, a survivor of the Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp [“Survivor, 91, forgives but can’t forget,” News, Jan. 4]. Students must not forget and must learn about people and behaviors that occur when we are not aware, or are afraid.
Carole C. Lucca,