Sounding off: There isn’t a ‘selection’ when others are threatened

“Covid is not fatal to children.” Let the shame of this statement, which appeared in the Penn Hills mask ruled disried letter, sink in for a moment. To back up this claim, the author noted that 423 children, ages 0-18, died in late August (the number is now 470 according to the latest CDC data). Obviously, the argument breaks down immediately – if Covid can be fatal in children, by definition it is potentially fatal.

The author neglected to mention that Covid can take in children even if it isn’t fatal. Thousands of children have been hospitalized and schools have been closed.

The idea that mask requirements in schools take away parents’ freedom of choice is nonsensical. Of course, it takes away the choice of the parents – you also don’t have the choice of sending your child to school with a gun or a knife. Vaccination cards usually have to be presented. Most schools have dress codes. Making personal “choices” when that choice may harm others is exactly what life in a society is all about.

And anyone who would say Covid is not fatal to children – tell that to the parents of children who have died. I dare you.

Conor Demers, Penn Hills

Mandates vs. Freedoms

I recently heard a friend say that business owners should be free to prescribe vaccines for their employees; after all, it’s their company. This means they should have the right to fire unvaccinated employees.

If you agree, you should also agree that employers should have the right not to hire or even fire vaccinated employees as it is their company. Why stop here? Couldn’t you then also discriminate based on religion, race, gender …?

The same applies to universities and schools. Students are sent home because they are not vaccinated. Couldn’t a student be sent home if they are vaccinated? What about the millions of people who have the most useful immunity of all, natural immunity (because they had Covid)? Should they be forced to get the vaccines or be fired / sent home?

Only time will tell who is really right in this fight against Covid.

Mandates destroy personal freedom. Freedom is still a civil right, isn’t it? These are challenging and divisive times when the use of common sense and judgment are crucial. Personal freedom was mandated by our founding fathers, not the other way around.

Greg Weidner, New Kensington

I need answers from Amazon

Two questions have to be answered about the Amazon project, which may be in Churchill (“Debate continues about a possible Amazon location in Churchill”). Why does Amazon need this place so badly? Is Amazon doing well in the Pittsburgh area with its current facilities?

The other question is, what if this place turns out to be a flop? In ten years, Amazon could find a new distribution channel that doesn’t include Churchill. Because Amazon goes through so many employees, it can “go through” so many people that it is difficult to find someone to work for the company. Amazon itself could go bankrupt or go out of business.

Then Churchill is stuck in a huge building that needs guarding, with a lot of runoff that causes flooding, and other companies have their own facilities and probably won’t want them. Who pays for the demolition? It is a worse situation than it is now because the green area absorbs a lot of rainwater and the paved areas are smaller.

That’s why I say I don’t want Amazon in this area.

Robert J. Connor, Penn Hills

What has happened since Biden took office

A new president took office on January 20th of this year. I’ve found gasoline prices skyrocketing, illegal immigrants entering our country in record numbers (illegal is not legal), and nobody wants to work for a living while collecting free money and benefits from our government for doing nothing. Honestly working people who are just trying to survive cannot maintain lazy people’s attitudes for long.

Besides, the new president sometimes has a hard time just talking. He’s struggling to explain things and doesn’t seem to have any other answer to what happened in Afghanistan than to blame the previous president.

Don Handley, Hempfield

What is a living wage?

The editorial “PNC Bank Shows How Market Forces Drive Minimum Wage Growth” raises several questions:

What number counts as a “living wage”?

Should the subsistence level for a family of four be higher than that of a single person?

Are fast food workers entitled to the same wages as trained registered nurses?

Is a widow who lives on $ 12,000 a year on Social Security eligible for more benefits?

Wouldn’t the cost of living rise with a rise in living wages?

What does it mean that the rich pay their “fair share”? How much income does one classify as rich?

Is it “fair” for 1% of US taxpayers to pay 40% of all federal taxes while 44% pay nothing? Or 20% of taxpayers pay 87% of taxes? Shouldn’t the tax burden be “fair” and “equal”?

Doesn’t everyone enjoy the tax benefits of clean air, water, roads, safe bridges – even the 44% who don’t pay federal taxes?

Who will pay for all the “free things” that we are told are a basic human right to our existence: health care, education, childcare?

Are those who offer the “free stuff” services unpaid volunteers? If not, who pays his “existential wage”?

Brighten me up in future editorials because no one ever answers these questions.

David Scandrol, Lower Burrell

Suppression of our voices

In 2019, pioneering bipartisan electoral reforms became law in Pennsylvania, including the “no apology” mail-in vote: a rare case in which people were given what they wanted. The move came at timely as a pandemic overtook the Commonwealth and the nation the following year, affecting the ability of individuals to safely vote in person and win polling stations to get workers to work long days for little money.

Now 14 Republican MPs, including 11 who voted to allow postal votes, have filed a lawsuit contesting the constitutionality of this provision.

What has changed in two years? Quite simply, mail-in voting didn’t give Republicans an edge, and Donald Trump, the man who kidnapped the party and from whom most Republicans today take marching orders, doesn’t like the system.

These shamelessly elected politicians would bring us back to the most inefficient and costly electoral process developed for the 19th century.

I hope my fellow Pennsylvania residents will remember the parties to the lawsuit with me: Dan Moul (Adams), Barry Jozwiak and David Maloney (Berks), Barbara Gleim (Cumberland), David Zimmerman (Lancaster), Aaron Bernstine (Lawrence), Frank Ryan (Lebanon), Timothy Bonner (Mercer), Timothy Twardzik (Schuylkill), Kathy Rapp (Warren), Bud Cook (Washington), Bob Brooks (Westmoreland) and Mike Jones and Dawn Keefer (York). All of them represent the rural areas of Trump country.

Like their Republican compatriots in other states, their motivation is transparent: partisan politics and the will to suppress the vote. They are anti-democratic hypocrites and fraudsters – threats to democracy.

Oren Spiegler, Peters

We have responsibility for one another

When I listen to the minority of Americans who are defiant and angry against vaccinations and anti-indoor mask wearers, I can’t help but think back to my teenage years and I heard presidential candidate Robert Kennedy on my transistor radio and said we were about it have to talk about what responsibility we have for one another in this country.

Yes we really do.

Stewart B. Epstein, Rochester, NY

The author is a retired Squirrel Hill resident who taught at the universities of West Virginia and Slippery Rock.

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