Smoking laws add protections, not infringements
To those who fear House Speaker Greg Stumbo's proposed bill to make smoking in a vehicle illegal when a minor is present, please step back a moment from concerns about invasion of privacy and "edging even closer to Gestapo society" (as noted in a Jan. 23 letter) and consider that we are not exempt from local, county, state or federal laws when in our vehicle, house, yard or any other property.
"Don't tell me what to do in my own car" is a selfish attitude that forgets we are citizens, wherever we may be, who are bound by established laws for obvious reasons.
We may not commit murder, mayhem, robbery or child abuse anywhere in the nation, regardless of ownership of a vehicle or property. We are not free to endanger our children's welfare or health anywhere.
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So, yes, the proposal has everything to do with tobacco products and their harmful effects on children. Isn't that much more important than resisting child protection with a misguided stubborn stance of "stop telling me what to do in my own home or car"?
There may be other worthy issues where protection of property rights and barring government interference from our personal affairs is sensible. But not in this case. Nothing is more important than our children.
Bruce E. Davis
Freedom of religion
The Jan. 25 letter "Devil's helpers," in which the writer claims the Democratic Party has opened America's doors to Satan, causes me to pose the question to any who might agree: Just what is it you don't comprehend about freedom of religion? It is explicitly clear in the Constitution.
This manner of thinking tells me that our education system really is failing, at least in social studies and U.S. government classes.
On the right track
I liked Paul Prather's Jan. 22 column, "Our pride is clearly standing in our way." He was on the right track. It affirms the philosophy of a quote I learned a long time ago: "I would rather see a Christian than to hear one."
Harold W. Dorsey
Come to our senses
The horrific shooting in Tucson was a tragedy just waiting to happen.
The hate-charged climate in our country is getting worse each day. High-profile celebrities Sarah Palin, Glenn Beck and Rush Limbaugh are not directly responsible for the Tucson tragedy, but they are in total denial if they think their hate-filled rhetoric has not contributed to the growing hate climate in America.
It is a climate which breeds violence.
It is pretty pathetic when people use their talents to make millions of dollars peddling the venom that divides us. It is all about their greed and the greed of sponsors who make their time on the air possible.
It is wrong for anyone, on the left or the right, to abuse our wonderful right of free speech by engaging in uncivil, destructive discourse.
President Abraham Lincoln once said: "A house divided against itself cannot stand." Kentucky's state motto is: "United We Stand, Divided We Fall."
America's challenge is whether we are going to continue going down the perilous road to further division or are we going to come to our senses and begin to love our neighbors as we love ourselves.
Who is my neighbor? Anyone in America who doesn't have health care coverage is my neighbor.
Paul L. Whiteley Sr.
Reform drug laws
Drug use results from one's social development, economic plight and psychological attitude of indifference toward one's present and future existence.
Drug use should be treated as a social and economic problem, not a criminal one. Just as psychotics, neurotics, etc., are treated in medical facilities under the care of well-trained medical personnel, so should a drug user or addict be able to receive similar treatment.
Efforts to solve drug issues have had only short-term effects, if any at all. But addressing drug use as a true social problem will have long-lasting results, both socially and economically.
Since a drug user will continue to be one, whether legally or illegally, society should help solve this cultural problem. Our present negative-enforcement programs of tracking down, arresting, prosecuting and imprisoning a drug user are ineffectual.
A positive, more rational and just system needs to be employed. Stiffen penalties for the pusher and show some compassion and justice for the casual user.
It is imperative we look seriously at the penal code task force's recommendations.
The source of the dilemma is in the laws themselves. This legislation is the criminal, society is the victim, the user is the scapegoat and the pusher is the benefactor.
Eventually, society and our legislators will define drug use as a social problem — much like the debtor prisons of the past — and not a criminal one, and consequently make our laws work to improve society and not to erode it.
The sooner the better.