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This engine needs a complete overhaul

Credit: Getty Images/da-kuk

For a long time, it has been clear to all who wanted to admit it, that our country was like an old engine, more than 200 years old. For a long time, it has been poorly maintained, run with cheap, low-grade fuel and operated by a succession of incompetent operators. Now, in the form of COVID-19, a foreign, harmful substance has been introduced into the machinery [“U.S. passes 150,000 virus deaths,” News, July 30].

The various parts patched up over the years are now beyond patching up. The engine now needs a complete overhaul by competent mechanics. We need to stop lying and denying, and we need to realize and admit to ourselves that unless we completely cleanse the machine of the immediate contamination — the coronavirus — and simultaneously completely overhaul it and then refuel, maintain and operate it properly and competently, it is bound to end up in the junkyard.

Ernst P.A. Vanamson,


No reason NYers don’t get tested

I watch the news with sorrow as thousands line up in cars in Texas, Arizona and other COVID-19 hot spots waiting to get the COVID-19 test. The temperatures in these states have been in the 90s and triple digits. As people wait for hours, they don’t know if they will be turned away if they run out of tests.

Unlike many of these unfortunate states, New York is lucky to have unlimited testing. A person only needs to go on the internet and view places giving the test. The test is free, takes a few seconds and is readily done at urgent care facilities, many drugstore chains and even some churches. I went with my daughter to a local urgent care facility after calling for an appointment the previous day. We walked in, were escorted to a room where our temperatures and oxygen levels were taken, and we were administered the test. This took all of 15 minutes.

There is virtually no reason why anyone should avoid getting tested. The more we test, the more cases are found and isolated. The more cases isolated, the faster we defeat this deadly killer.

We all sacrificed to flatten the curve. Let’s not blow it now. Get tested.

Frances Sklaroff,

Old Bethpage

Don’t ignore paying other ‘essential workers’

I am one of New York’s many “essential workers,” a hotel front desk clerk who has worked through this entire pandemic. Stimulus packages are paying non-essential workers to stay home. They are getting unemployment compensation plus an additional $600 weekly to stay home. Many don’t even earn $600 weekly when working. Essential workers such as hotel employees, gas station attendants, janitors, security guards, utility workers, et al., have all put their lives at risk, forced to continue working during the pandemic. If we all decided to be “On Pause” with most of the world, what would happen? Where is our hazard pay, stimulus package, extra $600 per week? I receive no extra pay, no bonus. I receive nothing extra for putting my life at risk every day when I report to work, and for a good part of that time with little to no personal protection. A stimulus package for the “essential workers” should be given with no questions asked, just as non-essential workers were given a three-month-plus “vacation” with an extra $600 weekly, no questions asked, to sit home and do nothing. Essential workers take care of New York. Why isn’t New York taking care of us?

Diane Williams,

North Babylon

Could Final Solution have been stopped?

As I hear and read about the objections to the kneeling and Black Lives Matter demonstrations, I wonder: If this were 1940 Germany and large numbers of citizens joined in “Jewish Lives Matter” protests, would those objecting feel the same way? And if enough German citizens joined in supporting the “JLM” movement, might Adolf Hitler’s Final Solution have been aborted? We’ll never know, but we must learn from history.

William Bernstein,


Consider if the rioting came to Long Island

I wonder if all the folks who have written letters critical of President Donald Trump’s use of federal forces to end rioting in cities would be so tolerant if their nice little villages and hamlets on Long Island were being destroyed [“Debating meaning of law & order,” July 28]. I bet the same people would be screaming, “Why aren’t the police helping us?” Think about it.

Timothy Connell,

St. James

Imperfect slogans are created in a moment

Several letters and comments relating to the phrase “defund the police” encapsulate the idea as noble, while saying the phrase itself is poor [“Be prepared if police are defunded,” Letters, July 16]. In the past, I’ve seen similar remarks about “Black Lives Matter” as a phrase. One needs to understand where these two slogans come from. Black Lives Matter originated from a grief-ridden Facebook post from a community organizer in the wake of the 2013 acquittal of George Zimmerman. She was lamenting “how little black lives matter.” “Defund the Police” came out of the rage-filled streets of Minneapolis after the murder of George Floyd, presenting a rallying cry for protesters tired of systemic racism. None of these phrases are perfect, to me, because they didn’t come from a focus group or a corporate board room. They came from the grassroots, and we all should take time to understand their actual meaning.

Vincent Vertuccio,


Rallies were mostly peaceful, not ‘hooliganism’

I was horrified by the letter “Be prepared if police are defunded” [July 16] by John Condon. To me, Condon falsely claimed that our society is suffering from “unchecked rioting, looting and hooliganism.” I believe the protests, rallies and marches in support of racial justice the past weeks have been mostly peaceful. Condon also claimed that defunding the police would lead to anarchy. It does not mean eliminating law enforcement; it means redirecting money from bloated police budgets to other government services and programs.

Most disturbing to me was his seemingly real suggestion that, if police departments were defunded, it would be the end of government as we know it and he should be permitted to install anti-personnel mines and barbed wire on his property, just as he did as a soldier in Vietnam. I don’t believe amplifying the views of someone who apparently sees his fellow Americans as possible enemy combatants and his own yard as a battlefield is responsible journalism.

Matthew Zeidman,

New Hyde Park

Questioning mayor’s response to arrest

The only conclusion that I believe a normal law-abiding citizen may reach from Mayor Bill de Blasio’s criticism of the arrest of a suspect in recent vandalism and destruction of public property is that we shouldn’t inconvenience rioters as they set about destroying New York. To me, the legitimate protests regarding the death of George Floyd have morphed into a vehicle for anarchists to undermine the rule of law and create a dangerous environment for citizens trapped in their path. Mayors like de Blasio are rendered ineffective by their sympathies for what I see as these out-of-control mobs. Where can New Yorkers turn to for relief?

Chris Dillon,