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Sounding off: In case of Bill Cosby, delayed justice better than none at all

October 12, 2018

To anyone who would assert that it is cruel to sentence a legally blind, sickly, elderly man to a prison term, I would contend that Bill Cosby got off easy. For most of his 81 years, he lived a double life of hypocrisy, enjoying vast wealth, stardom and adulation as he preyed upon unsuspecting young women who looked up to him as a mentor, using them to try to satisfy his insatiable sexual desires. He had the gall to play the elder statesman in his recipes for better living for the African-American community.

He was convicted of criminal conduct involving only one woman because his other multiple accusers could not bring charges against him due to the expiration of the statute of limitations.

Through it all, his adoring wife inexplicably stood by his side, taking a note from Donald Trump as she had the audacity to attack the jurist in the case and the judicial system as biased and inequitable.

Victim Andrea Constand stated credibly that her life was taken from her. The same could be said for others who did not figure into the criminal case as prominently as she.

If the prison time served by Cosby becomes a life sentence, he will have no one but himself to blame. Perhaps he can use his time to reflect upon his stunning fall from grace.

He was able to pull the wool over our eyes for so long. His misdeeds finally caught up to him. Justice delayed is better than no justice.

Oren Spiegler

South Strabane

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Zubik’s apology hollow

Pittsburgh Bishop David Zubik has finally apologized for “the times that I could’ve done more, for the times that I could’ve said more” in pedophile priest cases (“Bishop Zubik says he’s sorry fortimes ‘I could’ve done more, ... said more’,” Sept. 23, TribLIVE). He’s being disingenuous.

Dozens of local child-molesting clerics assaulted hundreds of kids for decades. Zubik wasn’t just silent or inactive. Likehis predecessors, he concealed some of these crimes. It’s wrong for him to pretend he basically just didn’t work hardenough to protect kids. He actively chose instead to protect predators. So his vague, weak apology at this late juncturerings very hollow.

Judy Jones

Marthasville, Mo.

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Straws as WMDs

So, the latest stop on the Nanny State Express is plastic straws. While I can appreciate that plastic straws are part of a pollution problem, the outright ban of this handy little item seems a bit extreme. If the problem is straws washing upon the beach, the real issue should be the people on the water; seems they’d be the cause of the problem.

Congress should empower the Coast Guard to search and seize the plastic straws as contraband, or perhaps WMDs,and send the fiends to Gitmo as terrorists. If law enforcement is given arrest powers regarding plastic straws, how long until some unsuspecting toddler is thrown to the ground because he blatantly drank a juice box in public?

It’s surprising that state and federal governments didn’t introduce a straw tax. A penny per straw could possibly add millions of dollars to tight budgets. Of course, placing a tax on straws would drive down straw usage and have the same effect as the ban.

A straw black market would appear, then a war on straws. Another money-maker for the feds as they confiscate your personal belongings. Given the success of “the war on drugs,” this would seem to be a more familiar path for federal officials to remove more of our rights, and our money.

You may think that laws are about protecting you or the environment, but the more arbitrary laws that are passed, the more you surrender your liberty. So, my fellow strawers, put your garbage in its proper place, so we can keep our liberty.

John Gregory Parks

McKeesport

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Don’t punish trafficking victims

Children are systematically exploited by human traffickers here in America, then they are prosecuted by our criminal justice system. Minors are kidnapped, intimidated and coerced into being virtual slaves and/or prostitutes. When apprehended, they are arrested, prosecuted and incarcerated. Obviously, this is punishing the victims of the crime rather than assisting and protecting them.

Fortunately, there’s a solution that is near to realization. Senate Bill 554, the Safe Harbor bill, will immunize sexually exploited minors from prosecution and provide safe and stable housing, education, counseling and life-skills training instead of punishing them.

The bill was introduced by Sen. Stewart Greenleaf in January 2017. It passed in the state Senate but is stalled in theHouse. It was “tabled” on June 6, 2018. And there it sits. There are a few more days left in this year’s legislative calendar for this bill to be passed. There is broad support on both sides of the aisle, but our state representatives need to hear from us to push this bill forward.

In addition to your representative, Rep. Mike Turzai, Speaker of the House, needs to know that Pennsylvanians want to protect rather than punish victims of human trafficking. Please contact him today to voice your support for this important bill and ask him to put it to a House vote. You can contact him at 139 Main Capitol, P.O. Box 202028,Harrisburg, PA 17120-2028; (717) 772-9943; or mturzai@pahousegop.com.

Susan Wooley

Camp Hill

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Is socialism good or bad?

In these turbulent times, a distinction must be made between voluntary socialism and mandatory socialism. America has thrived on generous people helping people -- voluntarily -- enabled by an industrious work ethic and a wealth-producing, free enterprise system.

Mandatory socialism -- be it communism, fascism, Clintonism, Obamaism or Bernieism -- uses the force of government laws to redistribute people’s wealth through excessive taxation, regulation, wage laws, etc. Their age-old mantra is “BigGovernment should take from each person according to his ability and give to each person according to his need.” It sounds “humane,” but it crushes individual freedom,initiative and creativity in order to gain power and control over a country. Socialists smooth-talk people into being”paying pawns” to make a legacy for themselves by “fixing” society in their own image.

Mandatory socialism is like cancer. It feeds on healthy flesh (other people’s money) until that is used up -- killing the host. Had the progressive socialists won in 2016, they would have secured the death of the America our Founders envisioned -- life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness -- as each individual defines it for himself or herself -- within constitutional guidelines.

If Pennsylvania is to become economically great again, we must replace more socialist- minded liberals with business-savvy public servants like Lou Barletta and Scott Wagner. President Trump’s leadership has revitalized America. Rather than demand what the government will do for you, ask God what you can do to make America -- and Pennsylvania --great again.

Leonard J. Ransil

Erie

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Kavanaugh undeserving of Supreme Court

I in no way condone sexual acts with any individual of age to consent to sexual activity, against his or her will. Still, I recognize that judgment in adolescent decision-making is notoriously flawed. Evidence shows that psychosocial factors presumed to influence decisions -- that is, temporal perspective, peer influence and risk perception -- lag behind cognitive capacity. This means many adolescents have engaged in behavior that they later regret and admit was wrong.

I think Judge Brett Kavanaugh is no exception. What bothers me most about his reaction to Christine Blasey Ford’s accusations is his “vigorous defense” of himself, one which began on what the Associated Press described as a “note of barely contained fury,” highlighting his “decades of hard work and public service at the highest levels of the American government.”

Personally, I want a Supreme Court justice nominee who is more sensitive to an alleged victim, who, instead of narcissistically emphasizing his accomplishments and accolades, is able to empathize with a woman who risked a lot to come before the nation and disclose her perspectives on a traumatic event from her past -- whether or not her allegations, in the end, are substantiated.

Personally, I think our nation’s people and their Supreme Court can do better than the Honorable Brett Kavanaugh.

Susan Wilson

Greensburg

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