Letters: Fire district election, gun control and veterans

Fire District vote

To the Editor:

In your editorial of last week (August 9), you stated that there is only one town-level election coming up this fall. Actually, there are two other very important elections in December for two seats on the Shelter Island Fire Commission.

There are five Fire District seats with each elected commissioner serving a five-year term. This year, two seats are up for grabs because one commissioner resigned in mid-term. Already, there are at least four very qualified people who have expressed an interest in running for these two seats.

The annual budget is around $900,000 or around $2,500 per day and this money comes from every home owner’s property tax bill. This year, the district is involved in a program that might improve the ISO (Insurance Service Office) rating for every taxpayer. The better the ISO rating, the lower the fire insurance bills for home owners. In addition, newly-elected commissioners will be encouraged to embrace the electronic age, get a grip on spending and eliminate potential wasteful practices.

Members of the district’s fire department rank and file will be endorsing a couple of the candidates. It will be an important election and one we hope the Reporter will comment on as the election gets closer.

CAPT. BENJAMIN HEINS
Engine 9, SIFD
Shelter Island

Solving gun issues

To the Editor:

As a recent arrival on Shelter Island, I have watched your letters about gun issues with interest. As a response to the recent Aurora, Colorado tragedy and the recurrent daily shootings in Chicago and other cities that cost approximately 80 Americans their lives each day, I have a simple solution. It seems inconceivable that it wasn’t suggested long ago to finally resolve the endless and contentious debates between those who support and oppose gun control.

The proposal is simply this: The federal government should provide all Americans at birth with an AR-15 assault rifle, a .357 magnum handgun or a Glock pistol. The choice could be made by the parents at the time they recorded the child’s name on the birth certificate. This would level the playing field in the best egalitarian traditions of our country and, as documented below, would bring innumerable other benefits.

To begin: at baptisms or baby showers, grandparents and friends could easily bring gifts such as a telescopic sight, enhanced “street sweeper” clips, hollow point or armor piercing bullets, etc. As the children grow up, it would revolutionize their grammar school experience since, beginning in kindergarten, marksmanship would soon become the most important subject and schools could cease worrying about those who underachieve in the standard academic disciplines. Students who excelled in gun classes would solve, and could enforce, any concerns about bullying or low self-esteem.

In high school, the current Scholastic Aptitude Tests (SATs) would be replaced by Shooting Aptitude Tests. What prestigious Ivy League admissions officer would dare turn down a student with a perfect shooting score, even if he/she were deficient in more traditional studies such as English, science or mathematics? For those not college bound, such proficiency would be a great employment credential.

Good shots would certainly get hiring and promotion preference, since a threat to “go postal” could become a real possibility, revolutionizing human resource policies and procedures. Besides the working environment, leisure time activities would be enhanced. During periods of inclement weather, when some might not wish to venture outside, indoor recreational opportunities would abound. For example; mechanical bull riding and dart boards in bars could be replaced by shooting ranges.

Think of the excitement that could be generated by a group of bar patrons with their trusty 357s and a blood alcohol level of even half of that number. Truly special entertainment value might materialize if a bystander made a disparaging remark about someone’s appearance, companions, ethnicity or manhood.

Since the guns would be distributed by the government, it would be only logical that the president of the National Rifle Association should finally, automatically, become a member of the president’s Cabinet, with a designated “Office of Family Safety” within the White House. From a fiscal standpoint. the benefits to taxpayers would be enormous. Everyone would become their own vigilante enforcer so a police force and court system would no longer be needed.

All disputes would immediately be settled on a one-to-one basis.

Look at how peaceful things are in Baghdad and at the Afghanistan-Pakistan border, where every home has at least one AK-47.

Finally we could completely do away with the Department of Defense. Clearly North Korea, Iran or Al-Qaeda, or any other nation, would not dare to launch a nuclear or bio-terrorist attack with 300 million armed Americans waiting to strike back with their trusty assault rifles and handguns.

In the meantime, until this plan is adopted, one last suggestion from a senior citizen Army vet for all NRA members and similar gun enthusiasts. Enlist in the branch of your choice now. That way you will be ready to lead when the above plan is adopted. In the meantime, you will be able to enjoy interesting foreign travel and can be certain that your personal “right to keep and bear arms” will not be “infringed.” It will be actively encouraged on a daily basis. I promise you.

JIM WEBSTER MD
Shelter Island

World War II vets

To the Editor:

A few weeks ago, I placed an ad in the Reporter asking for donations to help fund a trip for our World War II vets to the Washington D.C. WWII memorial. We need to raise $9,000 to make this happen. The donations started off strong but stopped at about $2,300. Once again, I am asking for your monetary help.

The trip will be run by Honor Flight Long Island and take our vets to their D.C. memorial. Honor Flight is nationwide and you can learn more at honorflightlongisland.org.

The trip would start here with transportation to MacArthur airport, flight to D.C., T-shirts and food provided, transportation in the D.C. area, a tour of the WWII memorial and finally the trip back home. This is all done at no expense to the vets and all in one day.

Some vets who’ve done it have called this “the most emotional experience of their life.” Please help accomplish this exciting event. All donations accepted.

Donations are tax deductible and checks should be made out to Honor Flight Long Island. Mail your donations to:
Honor Flight Long Island
c/o Thomas M. Cronin
P.O. Box 95
Shelter Island, New York 11964

Write a check ASAP. I would love to get an October trip together. Please make this happen.

TOM CRONIN
Shelter Island

Whirling blades

To the Editor:

I read with much interest your story regarding the benefit that is scheduled at Fiske field to honor a true American hero who was a resident of Shelter Island.

Now, let me be perfectly clear about this. Fiske Field is a taxpayer paid-for and supported public access parcel of property. It has been used for many, many years for public events and it should come as no surprise to anyone that this field is maintained and used for any and all events that benefit this community at large.

Lt. Joseph Theinert was someone each of us is so proud of, a true American hero who gave his life for fellow soldiers and his nation, in my opinion. They can come no better then that. Obviously, I’m not alone in that feeling since the mere mention of his name generates much money in support of this community.

The superintendent of schools, who controls this field, gave written permission for this field to be used for this event. And our police chief has stated publicly, “It won’t affect the field.”

So what seems to be the problem here? Well, it seems that some neighbors who are well connected in the inner circle in Town Hall feel it may generate too much noise, which will impact property values, and they have had enough disruptions.

What is even more amazing is our supervisor and some councilmen seem to think this is just a bike ride, with many, many children; so therefore, it can be moved to an active airport (Klenawicus field). Is anyone but my husband and I aware that small aircraft have whirling propellers or, simply said, two whirling knives that become invisible to children and adults who are excited by events that are being run to make them excited? My husband is a licensed pilot and an active one with all current medicals, etc. We own our own aircraft and never in all the years we have flown together have we not been super-cautious about those spinning blades in the front of our plane.

And now our public officials who control that airport are so ignorant of the seriousness of that danger that they can make a statement, “The kids can find their way to Klenawicus.” Does anyone think that just maybe political connections here on Shelter Island have gotten way too far into this situation?

Turn down the okay for the helicopter if you think it is necessary but moving it to an active airport with children running all around with very possibly extremely dangerous conditions is taking inner-circle political connections to extremely senseless and unsafe conditions.

Wake up, folks, Fiske Field is and has existed for generations for the benefit of all members and all the taxpayers of this Island, be they full-timers or weekenders and tourists, etc. Do what you want about the helicopter landing at Fiske Field and, by the way, that needs to be carefully roped off and monitored if it is to be allowed. Children, helicopters and aircraft taking off or landing cannot and should not be mixed.

But Fiske Field is for the benefit of us all. We pay for that privilege, all taxpayers, one and all. And the well-connected inner circle does not have the right to shut it down because it annoys them. If it were something new, never happened at this location before, the objection would have some validity. But Fiske Field has been there for years. It should come as no surprise to anyone. It is now, and has been, used for civic events for the benefit all.

KATHLEEN KRAUSE
Shelter Island