Letters to the Editor

This is Viewpoints for Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Professionalism on display

On the 24th of February, staff members at the Georgia Forestry Commission's headquarters got an up close and personal look at Mother Nature on a rampage, along with the skilled pros who tamed her. An intense fire ripped through the Go Green Bioproducts factory next to our buildings on Riggins Mill Road. During that tense and vulnerable time, we felt very secure knowing the Macon-Bibb County Fire Department was in charge of the situation. Fortunately for us, our office buildings were spared because of these professionals' expertise and courage.

Much like structural firefighters, the Georgia Forestry Commission's wildland firefighters know very well that one errant spark can trigger waves of destruction. Georgia has an average 5,200 wildfires that burn about 45,000 acres across the state every year. In addition to the training and experience our team relies on to suppress these fires, we know that one of our most valuable partnerships is with local fire departments and the experts who staff them. All of these men and women demonstrate incredible bravery and dedication when called to serve. Whether it's in the woods, in a neighborhood, at an apartment complex or even at a factory next door, these individuals simply don't quit until the job is done and the area is safe again. It is truly a privilege to serve our state alongside them.

To the Macon-Bibb County Fire Department, thank you for a job well done. We appreciate your service and look forward to continue working with you, partnering with you and learning from you in the years ahead.

— Robert Farris

State Forester/Director

Potential terrorists

I am greatly concerned about the gross resettlement of Syrian refugees without a critical review of their political attitudes. A recent poll of 900 Syrian refugees by the Arab Center for Research and Policy Studies found that 13 percent supported ISIS and another 10 percent have a lukewarm, but not entirely negative, view of the terror group. This means that almost 1 in 4 could be susceptible to ISIS recruitment. This also means that as many 2,500 of the 10,000 Syrian refugees being resettled by the Obama administration inside American cities are potential terrorist threats. And that scares the hell out of me.

— Hill Kaplan


Dark ages

I find it extremely telling that the very guidelines for publishing a letter in this newspaper include the words "letters that are racially divisive or otherwise objectionable, will not be considered." It is both reassuring and disheartening to read those words. I am proud to see our paper taking a stand against hateful, discriminatory speech but disheartened that Gov. Nathan Deal has not yet taken a stand against shockingly inflammatory SB 284, or FADA (First Amendment Defense Act), which would legalize employer discrimination based on sexual orientation, allow state-contracted counselors to refuse services to single mothers, and even allow state-funded homeless shelters to refuse LGBT families refuge.

The Supreme Court of the United States recognizes gay marriage as a right — FADA exposes an anachronistic and hateful refusal to comply with the progress of our nation. It makes a mockery of Georgia's professed commitment to fairness, human dignity and equality. Our nation is still struggling with a history of discrimination against multiple groups; to heal and grow, we must support unity, understanding and brotherly compassion.

Policies like FADA pollute all we have striven for, and are an insult to those of us who fight for and believe in the progress and potential of our state.

— Olivia Willams


Common sense?

Regarding the uproar about whether the government should be allowed entry into the killer's cell phone. Cell phone owners have the right to privacy, etc., under the Bill of Rights, yes. And yes, I think this should be upheld unless you are a serial murderer or a terrorist. Is this not common sense?

— Rebecca Turner


No right to complain

I could not have expressed my feelings better than Charles Richardson did in his Sunday column, "That's All Folks." If both of the current front-running presidential candidates are the nominees, and one is elected, we are in for a bumpy four years. That notwithstanding, please exercise your right to vote, even if you have to hold your nose when you press your selection on the voting machine. If you don't vote, in my opinion, you don't have a right to complain. Vote.

— Mike Leppert


Oath of office

On January 20, 2017, one candidate having been elected president of the United States, will be administered the oath of office, which states, "I do solemnly swear that I will faithfully execute the office of president of the United States, and will to the best of my ability, preserve and defend the Constitution of the United States."

This Tuesday, March 1, I will cast my ballot for Ted Cruz, because I believe him to be not swayed by the K Street lobbyists or the GOP establishment and uphold this oath to the best of any candidate's ability.

— Paul Grimes