Laws hold us accountable

As we reel in the aftermath of yet another in a long line of mass shootings, it’s time to unmask the unspoken truth around the uncompromising resistance of hard-core gun advocates to any attempt to mitigate the damage caused by gun violence. But before we get to that, let’s examine a couple of the often used talking points offered up by gun advocates after every one of these incidents.

First, gun laws don’t work. By their logic no gun law will ever stop every occurrence of gun violence. But by the same logic no law works. Laws against murder don’t stop all murders and those against robbery and rape don’t stop those crimes.

So should we ditch all laws? Of course not. Laws aren’t passed to stop all criminal behavior, but to hold those responsible for those behaviors accountable for their actions. Couple that with the reality that most federal gun laws are rife with loopholes and it’s no wonder that gun laws don’t “work” by their definition.

Second, guns don’t kill people, people do. True enough I suppose. Inanimate objects don’t act with intent. They can’t “act” at all. But that misses the point by a wide margin. A gun is just a tool the use of which is subject to the intent of its user. A shovel can be used to dig a hole or bash someone’s head in. A knife can be used to filet a trout or stab somebody in the heart. But only a gun is designed with the sole intent of killing. And it’s impossible to kill dozens of people from the heights of a Las Vegas hotel room with a shovel or a knife. No law will ever stop the behavior it’s leveled against, so we’re left with trying to mitigate the damage done by these crimes.

Which leads us to that unspoken truth held by all hard-core gun enthusiasts. To them the carnage and suffering wrought by the unfettered access to guns is simply the cost of freedom, like when soldiers die in war. To them the lives lost are in “defense” of their right to the convenience of getting as many guns as they like, whenever they like. Sure, it’s tragic they say, but a necessary cost of their freedom. When a soldier dies in war, we mourn the loss but we understand and accept it as an inevitable consequence of our defense. Hard-core gun advocates want us all to believe that when school children are murdered in their classrooms, or shoppers are murdered while buying groceries it’s simply the price to be paid for our freedoms, even when that price is paid by someone else. They seem to think the Constitution protects only their rights.

Tony Festa

Russell Township

Thanks for leadership

As we recently marked the anniversary of the beginning of COVID-19, it has allowed the superintendents of the public school districts in Lake and Geauga counties to reflect on the challenges and significant changes that resulted in how we educated our students during that time. As a group, we began meeting about five years ago as a network for the purpose of sharing ideas and information. That decision to organize and form a network years ago, Education Service Center of the Western Reserve, has served us well especially over the last year.

The pandemic has certainly caused many changes to how we approach school and has resulted in many difficult decisions over the last year. Throughout that time, we have been supported not only by our network but those outside of it.

We would like to recognize those organizations and groups who assisted us in providing guidance, support and help during that time from securing personal protective supplies to creating online opportunities for our students.

We would like to recognize ESC Superintendent Jennifer Felker for her leadership throughout the crisis in organizing the districts into a cohesive network that met weekly to share information, coordinate activities and offer support. These meetings were vital in that they provided a constant and consistent opportunity to discuss issues in a timely format. Those meetings continue to this day.

We would also like to thank the work of both Ron Graham, Lake County Health Director, and Tom Quade, Geauga County Health Director, for their participation on our weekly calls and their support and guidance through the various stages of the pandemic. We are blessed to have highly professional and caring individuals in those roles.

We would like to especially acknowledge all the planning and coordination of activities that went into the scheduling of the local school health clinics that allowed for education staff to receive their vaccinations early on. The efforts on behalf of the ESC and health departments staff in planning and delivering the clinics went well beyond the norm. Without their efforts, we would not have been able to complete the process in the time allotted.

Finally, we would like to express our appreciation to our staff who have performed admirably during this time. While we certainly expect additional challenges going forward as we close the year and prepare for next, we are appreciative that we have been able to rely on our organizations and government institutions for their support.

Network members from Geauga include the following superintendents: Brian Bontempo, Auburn Career Center; John Stoddard, Berkshire Local School District; Robert W. Hunt, Chagrin Falls Exempted Village; Nancy R. Santilli, Kenston Local School District and Richard A. Markwardt, West Geauga Local School District.

Educational Service Center

Geauga and Lake counties

Too much pork in bill

Democrat voters have unleashed a flood of spending, taxation to come and socialism for which all Americans will pay. We are being lulled into passivity by a stimulus bribe.

The passage of the so called COVID-19 relief bill, per Karl Rove in the Wall Street Journal, has created the biggest federal government expansion in decades and an unequaled deficit and debt. It will take generations to pay for this pork laden document of which only 9-10 percent goes to COVID-19 relief. 

Mary Obahan of the Daily Caller News Foundation presented a rundown of this budget buster:

▪ $25,000 bonuses to state government workers deemed eligible.

▪ $50 million to the Department of Health and Human Services which includes block grants to cities and states.

▪ $200 million to museums and library services.

▪ $270 million to endowments for arts and humanities.

▪ $1.5 billion to Amtrak.

▪ $12 billion to foreign aid.

▪ $15 billion to illegal immigrants eligible for health care.

▪ $111 billion in welfare monies, with no work requirements, and to those who have not lost jobs or income.

▪ $350 billion to bail out states and local governments like New York, New Jersey and California and some of which are not in need and have surpluses.

Money to schools will be distributed at a later time.

The radical left seems to have taken control of the Democrat party and its lust for power has overtaken common sense and democratic principles.

Conservatives await their implosion.

Sheila Collins


Kudos to EMTs

On a recent early Monday morning, I called 911 for an ambulance assist with an urgent medical problem. Firefighters Shaun Parsons, Ryan Bradley, Jake Fried and Lt. Matt Eshleman arrived about 5 minutes later from the Harper Road Station No. 1 and began diagnostic monitoring as soon as they got me into the rescue vehicle. They determined very quickly based on my condition, that taking me to the nearest hospital emergency room was the prudent course of action. They advised ER medical staff of my status on the way there, so treatment could commence immediately. They are very compassionate and knowledgeable in their role as first responders and professional paramedics, and to see their teamwork in action was just amazing.

As they dispatched me into the emergency department, I found out my rescue team members were each named “Firefighter of the Year” for 2019, 2020 and 2021. I truly had the “A team” working my case, so I was in the best possible hands. How could anyone experience such luck in the middle of a crisis situation? I consider myself very blessed indeed.

One more thing, guys. Thanks so much for not sounding the sirens at 1:45 a.m, so my neighbors could get a good night’s sleep on a workday. Kudos and thanks so much for the assist. I am forever a member of your fan club.

Jacki Calavitta


Dolan plays both sides of issue

This is an open letter to Republican State Senator Matt Dolan of District 24.

Dear Sen. Dolan:

Please help us to understand your vote in favor of Senate Bill 22, challenging the authority of health departments and the governor to protect us from the COVID-19 virus.

To me as a physician, and to anyone who has an understanding of the terrible severity of illness caused by COVID-19, the health guidance issued by the governor is viewed as life-saving.

The only way to contain the virus is to maintain social distancing, mandatory masking and limitations on indoor crowding until a critical mass of residents have been vaccinated and the prevalence of the disease is greatly reduced.  

You and your colleagues in the Senate should be devoting all of your energies to getting Ohioans vaccinated as quickly as possible. 

Instead, you helped pass Bill 22, that undermines the basic precepts of public health. And then your colleagues overrode the governor’s veto. What a waste of precious time.

You say you hoped for a compromise and when it did not occur you voted against overriding the veto. That’s the circular reasoning of a politician who’s playing both sides of an issue.   

But COVID-19 is not politics, it is science. And the lives of your constituents are at stake.

Jane Birnkrant

Moreland Hills

People problem, not gun problem

Regarding the recent senseless Boulder, Colorado tragedy: Some call it, gun violence. Please, let’s call it what it is: Murders perpetrated by a deranged individual.  

Regarding the countless murders that occur every day in cities throughout this country: Some call it gun violence. Please, let’s call it what it is: Murders perpetrated by criminals. 

As expected, some career politicians (who are always protected by armed guards) jump into action with talk of banning weapons that look a certain way, to registration proposals. The problem is you cannot legislate violence out of humanity. This is a people problem, not a gun problem. That needs be the focus, not the abrogation of the rights of law-abiding citizens. 

Take heed, all, history is replete with examples of governments using dramatic events as pretexts to deprive good citizens of their rights “for the good of all.” We need to guard our precious inalienable rights with courage and conviction. I shudder to think what will become of the republic should the Second Amendment be enfeebled or fall.Whosoever keeps and bears arms is in charge. In this country, it is supposed to be the people.  

Benito A. Alvarez

Chester Township

4-H pride of Geauga

I want to thank our Geauga County Commissioners for inviting Geauga 4-H to speak at the March 9 meeting. What a great presentation. 

Several years ago, I received a call from a U.S. Marine informing me that his beloved dog, Scout, could no longer be kept by the family taking care of the Rottweiler and husky mix after his former wife abandoned the dog while he was serving in combat. It was 4-H Totally Dogs that stepped in to help save Scout. Through the efforts of club advisers Sharon Gingerich, Darlene Becka and Marian Williams, the dog was kenneled and received amazing housing, medical care, training and love. Eventually, the veteran and his dog were reunited. 

At the meeting, we heard from several outstanding young men and women about the impact that 4-H made on their lives and how they learned to give back to their community and country. 

I also learned that the 4-H Advisory Committee raises funds to help provide scholarships for their campers. My family and I will be sponsoring a camper this summer and invite anyone looking to support a worthy cause to join us in doing so as well.

Geauga 4-H is certainly the pride of Geauga County.

Judy K. Zamlen-Spotts

Chester Township

No turkey hunting in parks

I was shocked and disappointed when I recently read in the paper that a turkey hunt is planned for our Geauga County Parks. The parks are supposed to be places where people and families can go to enjoy a quiet and peaceful outing in natural surroundings.

Our parks were developed to conserve, preserve and protect – not to provide a hunting ground for those who want to kill the wildlife that lives in them. Since when are turkeys (and deer) not included in the protection part of our parks’ mission statement?

And why do the current Geauga County Park District commissioners think it’s OK to allow such activities? There are plenty of other places to hunt, both on private property and at hunting preserves.

I am strongly opposed to hunting in our parks and wonder how many other Geauga residents feel the same.

Rosemary Balazs

Chester Township

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