News From Terre Haute, Indiana

February 10, 2013

READERS’ FORUM: Feb. 10, 2013


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Regulation needed in a free society

For those who contend that anyone with a gun can protect others, operating a gun requires only the ability to grasp and wiggle a finger. A game controller requires more cognitive ability because one must determine which of several buttons to push.

As virtually no cognitive ability is needed to operate a gun, let’s use chimpanzees with 100-round assault rifles for school guards. With grasping feet, chimpanzees can shoot with all four appendages, and if Darwin prevails, monkeys with guns might evolve into rational beings. I intend no disrespect to the great apes.

A well-regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed. Too many focus on the latter part rather than the first. In colonial times, soldiers were Regulars, who were trained and drilled for military operations under government direction. Through the U.S. Constitution, our forefathers created a free state and a new free society. They recognized that trained armed forces were essential to its security. This has not changed.

Nothing in the Second Amendment even remotely suggests that security is to be by untrained individuals. Well regulated means today what it meant two centuries ago. Regulations, proficiency standards that when met qualify one for the job, are essential to the security of our free state.

In a regulated, free state such as ours, persons meet regulations, requirements, standards, qualifications for the job, whether it be driving, soldiering, policing, medicine, engineering or even flipping burgers. Ours is a regulated society. Without regulation there is anarchy and no freedom. Your freedom, rights and security are assured by a society that develops and conforms to its own regulations, not by monkeys wiggling fingers on 100-round assault rifles.

— William Adams

Terre Haute

City should step up and address clean-up issues

The Tribune-Star story of Jan. 25, 2013, “Truck spills tons of dirt along Parke County road”, reported that a dump truck was leaking soil onto a road south of Rockville. Authorities came to the scene and determined that the leaked soil was contaminated and had come from a clean-up near Catlin Road and County Road 400 South.

According to the Tribune-Star report, approximately five tons of this contaminated soil had been dumped along a two-mile stretch of Catlin Road. A hazardous materials crew spent nearly three hours cleaning up this spill and the road was closed for approximately three hours. The load was from previously removed storage tanks located at a Parke County Marathon pipeline station.

In the coming months, HIS Constructors, Inc., Indianapolis, will begin remediation operations at the former Terre Haute Coke and Carbon site at 13th and Hulman streets. They will receive $2.7 million to remove approximately 80,000 cubic yards of contaminated soil.

According to a Dec. 12, 2012, Tribune-Star article, more than 7,000 round trips by dump trucks will be needed to complete this task by November, 2013. The 13th and Hulman streets remediation is more complex than the aforementioned Parke County Marathon pipeline station clean-up project.

To date, since the Tribune-Star published several letters, wrote an extensive background piece on the former Coke and Carbon facility and a subsequent editorial, those officials responsible for overseeing the 13th and Hulman streets project have offered neither any details of the logistics of the clean-up nor how the performance of HIS Constructors will be monitored. There are both federal and state environmental procedures and regulations governing a hazardous material clean up.

In addition, which routes will the dump trucks use to transport the contaminated soil to the landfill? It is difficult to imagine 7,000 dump truck trips of contaminated soil through residential areas of Terre Haute without any unexpected mishaps. A single dump truck spill in Parke County created a three-hour clean-up and a three-hour road closing.

Pat Martin, City Engineering Department chief planner, should consider holding a town hall meeting to provided the public with a detailed plan of the remediation of the contaminated site. The plan should include site security, movement of the contaminated soil to the landfill and what measures will be taken to ensure the safety of the workers and the surrounding neighborhoods. The local media should be invited to cover the event.

Likewise, City Council members, especially Amy Auler (District 1) and John Mullican (District 6) should attend such a meeting. Districts 1 and 6 border the 13th and Hulman streets site. To date, there have been no statements from the City Council regarding this contamination clean-up project.

A Jan. 17, 2013, Tribune-Star article, “City, airport working for sewer extension to aid development,” highlighted “good news” for the Terre Haute Redevelopment Commission. According to Mr. Martin, the former Coke and Carbon site clean-up is now estimated to be $5.4 million, not $7 million.

However, this does not include the landfill costs, to include a concrete cap over the contaminated soil at the landfill. I am pleased to learn that we may save $1.6 million.

— Gary S. Izo

Terre Haute

Success something all should hope for

Letter writer Bruce Sheets, on Jan. 25, 2013, stated that “The GOP only cares about the rich 1 percent.”



Bruce Sheets is just parroting the tired old democratic progressive talking points like every other loyal, uninformed party foot soldier does these days, especially since Obama has made class warfare his calling card.

The Democrats want you to believe one of the oldest fairy tales in the book, namely that the GOP is “the party of the rich.” Since “the rich” makes up about 1 percent of the population, that would mean that the rest of us in the GOP (ordinary, non-rich folks) would be feverishly working like little lemmings to be sure “the rich” stayed rich, because, after all, that’s all we care about. Our number one concern is “the rich.” By golly, we want to take care of those rich people. We only care about them.

Now, doesn’t all that sound just a little stupid when looked at it like that? Do any of us feel we have to look out for the wealthy?

What I would say is that the GOP, or, more correctly, conservatives in general, root for the success of individuals and companies in America. We applaud success, we want to see people rise above their circumstances, to be part of the American dream. Whenever I talk to someone who is starting a business, expanding a business, going back to school (as I did), or otherwise taking a risk in order to get a big bite of that American pie, I always say, “I hope you make a million dollars,” and I genuinely mean it. After all, successful people make it better for the rest of us. Did you ever get a job from a poor person? Did that homeless guy at the off-ramp ever hold up a sign saying he would hire you?

How about taxes? Most of the tax burden in this country is shouldered by “the rich,” who I prefer to call “successful people.” “The rich” pay more than 90 percent of U.S. taxes. That’s a pretty good deal for the rest of us, huh? Aren’t we glad to have ’em? Shouldn’t we want more of ’em? Shouldn’t we encourage success in America instead of punishing it?

Obama wants “the rich” to pay their “fair share.” I’d say greater than 90 percent of the total is more than “fair.” If you and I go to the ballgame and have pizza after and I pick up more than 90 percent of the tab, I think you’ll be pretty happy with that, unless your name happens to be Obama, then you might cry and whine that I need to pony up some more.

The Democrats want to make you believe that “rich” is a zero-sum game, in other words, I get rich by making you poor. When someone makes money, someone else loses money. They say rich people got that way on “the backs of the poor.” There is more than one pie in America, and lots and lots of bites to be taken. Sure, not everyone will make a million, and not everyone has the tools to get rich (many may have the tools but lack the work ethic), but, barring physical or mental hindrance, we all have the opportunity to try, and isn’t it great when we see someone who succeeds in spite of hindrance that would surely defeat most of us? Those things don’t happen in very many places outside America.

I would say in conclusion that I hope for everyone to succeed in America, and I think that that hope is shared not only by the GOP, but by all good Americans. I hope we as a country do not throw in with that crowd that wants to punish success and redistribute income in the name of “fairness.” They always think they can create heaven on earth by giving your money to someone else, whether he did anything to deserve help or not. Their schemes have been responsible for the worst crimes in history (the Soviet Union, Red China, Cuba, etc.), and they all started with the good intention of making everyone equal and destroying “the rich.”

— James E. Stephens, M.D.


Context crucial in Islamic law

In his letter of Jan. 19, Ramachandra Abhyankar obfuscates his agenda of spreading hate by claiming that he is merely “trying to educate” Americans about the history and theology of the ideologies of Jihad and Sharia, as well as the actions of the Obama administration.

The lens of state power is not the only way to see law. Jewish halakha is one example. The scholar-created doctrines of Islamic law and the Catholic Canon Law are the other two. These are complete systems of law that do not need state power in order to govern individual behavior. This is why American Muslims do not ask for the government enactment of Islamic law.

Abhyankar does not differentiate between God’s Law and the human interpretations thereof, and how Islamic law operates in practice. He quotes passages from Koran and the Hadith out of context.

Koran is a collection of day-to-day messages from God in a span of 22 years brought by Gabriel and each message (verse) was in the context of events of the day including wars being waged by polytheists of the time.

The preaching of one and only one God could not be a crime but it was seen as a threat to economic interests of the polytheists because pilgrims to Kaaba generated revenue for them. The polytheists tried to kill Muhammad. But he escaped to Yathrab, known as Medina today.

Initially, Prophet Muhammad was supported by both Christians and Jews of that time. They were tired of reprehensible polytheists’ practices of female infanticide and using women as property. Hindus of India who are also polytheists have also practiced female infanticide for thousands of years. Now they have been aborting female pregnancies for several decades.

Muhammad defeated the polytheists (hence some messages referring to them). But he declared total amnesty after his army’s victory. Muslims were the first to give property rights to women. These rights were given to women in America and Europe only relatively recently.

Many Christians and Jews (collective nouns) of the time violated several treaties between Muslims and Christians and Muslims and Jews. Hence there were wars between Muslims and Christians and Muslims and Jews of that time. Hence those passages mentioned by Abhyankar refer to Christians and Jews of that time. There is no blanket condemnation of Judaism or Christianity.

In fact, Koran specifically refers to both Jews and Christians as “peoples of the book” and asks Muslims to respect both. Abhyankar’s hope is that lies, if repeated often enough, people will believe them.

Consider the Koranic verse 135 known as Sura al Nisa (chapter on women) posted at the entrance of the Harvard’s law school building as one of the greatest expressions of justice in history:

This verse translates: “O you who have attained a faith! Be ever steadfast in upholding equity bearing witness to the truth for the sake of God, even though it be against yourselves or your parents and kinsfolk. Whether the concerned be rich or poor, God’s claim takes precedence over (the claims of) either of them. Do not, then follow your own desires, lest you swerve from justice: for if you distort (the truth), behold, God is indeed aware of all that you do!”

— Khwaja A. Hasan

Formerly of Terre Haute

Wadsworth, Ill.