As a commuter who has been riding the Long Island Rail Road throughout this whole pandemic, I read your article about the new way the rush hour commute will change [“LIRR: ‘Everything is on the table’,” News, May 18]. It states that the LIRR now requires everyone to wear a mask; unfortunately many people are not listening. What will happen when the rush starts again and half the train is unmasked? The LIRR needs serious enforcement of this rule. No mask, no ride, period. If you have no ticket, they ask you to leave the train. It should be the same for masks.
Federal gun storage law urged
Our nation needs stricter gun regulations and restrictions. This is especially true during the coronavirus pandemic, which is why pieces of congressional legislation such as Ethan’s Law, which would ensure firearms are appropriately stored, are vital. It is important to note that with Newsday’s acknowledging the increased gun sales by Long Islanders, especially those who claim that owning a firearm during this pandemic is a necessity [“LI gun sales on rise,” News, March 19].
There is concern surrounding increased gun purchases given that people are quarantined. There might be an increase in suicides as well as gun abuse, especially with mental health issues on the rise. So the question is: Are people buying guns for protection or for harming themselves or others?
The passage of this House bill will help prevent tragedies such as the death of 15-year-old Ethan Song of Connecticut, who accidentally shot himself with his friend’s father’s unsecured gun. This and other bills like it will help the nation decrease the number of people whose deaths result from firearms.
Let’s stand together against this virus
Why, in the middle of a devastating pandemic affecting all of humanity, can’t we put our partisan politics aside and act with one mind and one heart? No one person invited COVID-19 into our lives. It’s a plague on all our houses, and we should act accordingly.
Instead of questioning every action taken in its wake, we need to unite to defeat it. “Would have, could have, should have” are for another day. Finger-pointing is easy when it’s not you making the calls. Let’s put our politics aside and trust that all decisions are made in all our best interests. United we stand, divided we fall.
Debate over NY’s Aid in Dying bill
The letter “Aid in Dying bill is flawed legislation” [April 19] expresses opinions contrary to the facts. It is not suicide, according to the American Association of Suicidology, which works to prevent suicide. There is no evidence of elder abuse in medical aid in dying states, no substantiated cases. It does not create a “duty to die.” Fewer than 1% of those who die in states where it is legal use medical aid in dying. Insurance coverage is not permitted to change. And dying patients can no longer be healed by doctors. There is no evidence that doctor-patient relationships have been harmed. When doctors help patients die by medical aid in dying, rather than abandoning their patients, they are respecting their wishes for an end to suffering and to have a peaceful death. Not all suffering can be relieved, even by excellent hospice care. More than 90% of those in Oregon who die by medical aid in dying are hospice patients. No residency requirements or waiting periods are required for other forms of medical care.
Medical aid in dying is a safe, ethical medical practice which benefits patients and causes no harm. The Medical Aid in Dying Act should be enacted.
David C. Leven,
Editor’s note: The writer is executive director emeritus and senior consultant to End of Life Choices New York.
The concerns raised by Dr. Lisa M. Honkanen in her letter “Aid in Dying bill is flawed legislation” were placed in proper context by the editor’s note listing her position in the Diocese of Rockville Centre. Her religious objections are further amplified by her position that “The response to suffering should never be to end the life of the sufferer.” Her religious beliefs, no matter how sincere, should never interfere with my right to determine my own destiny when quality of life ends. She obviously has little interest in supporting any legislative attempt to address end-of-life initiatives.
I do not want my loved ones, as Honkanen suggests, to assist me to live life to its natural end in those last days. I do not want “natural extreme painkillers,” a bedridden existence, unable to care for my own basic needs and functions. I want to spare my loved ones the pain and anguish caretakers must endure. I want the means to a peaceful end of life should I ever need it.
Regarding Dr. Lisa M. Honkanen’s assertion that “We must assist people to live life to its natural end ... ,” I submit that being kept “alive” by machines and/or drugs is hardly “natural.” And regarding pain and suffering, is it not the duty of any humanistic society to alleviate it and, if that is not possible, not to prolong it?
Richard M. Frauenglass,