Letters to the editor: Oct. 15, 2017


I went to vote this past Tuesday. After providing my voter registration card and driver’s license, I was deemed eligible to vote, signed the book and was taken to a voting machine. I don’t trust voting machines, so I told the poll worker, “I cannot in good conscience vote on a voting machine. I want a paper ballot.”

I was told I could use a provisional ballot. But since I had already been deemed eligible to vote, I didn’t believe I should be forced to use a provisional ballot, declined to use one, and again requested an official “paper ballot.” I was told the voting machine was my only option. So, I left the polling place without voting. Many Texas residents still have the privilege of using paper ballots. So why is the state of Texas allowing Williamson County to “abridge the privilege” of me using a paper ballot?

EDWIN GREENSAGE, CEDAR PARK

Re: Nov. 8 commentary, “Religious exemptions come at expense of women’s health.”

This argument is specious at best. In this great country, we have the gift of freedom and mobility. If what drives an employee is free contraception, then they can go to work for somebody who provides it. Simple.

Conclusion, as always: Free contraception, essential and good; Catholic church and corporations, bad. What else would I expect from academia?

GORDON SMITH, AUSTIN

Re: Nov. 9 article, “Facebook needs your nude photos — to protect you.”

Surely the Facebook request for a nude photo is a joke or prank by someone. All you need to identify someone is their face. The rest of the body doesn’t matter. Anyone could attach a face to a nude photo using Photoshop.

Who cares if the nude part is accurate or fake? If a nude body was posted without the head and it was stated as belonging to me, I should have the right to ask Facebook to take it down whether it’s my real photo or not.

Facebook by its very name already has everyone’s face. Now, what could they possibly do with the rest of our bodies? That’s the scary part.

GENE PRESTON, AUSTIN

In response to the recent mass shootings, I’d like Sens. John Cornyn and Ted Cruz to hear what I have to say.

You say it’s not the time to talk about gun violence. It’s too soon. It’s too soon to talk about the mass murder in Las Vegas weeks ago. Or the murder of three people in a Walmart in Thornton, Colo., which barely made the news after the New York truck attack.

Is it too soon to talk about Sandy Hook? Aurora, Colo.? Columbine? Virginia Tech?

When will it be time to talk about the massive quantity of guns in America? We don’t have a monopoly on mental illness. That is universal. We do have more guns per capita than Yemen, Switzerland, Finland, Serbia, Cyprus, Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Uruguay, Sweden and every other county on Earth.

When will it be time to talk about it?

HOLLY SELLERS, AUSTIN

Gov. Greg Abbott’s attempt to comfort grieving families in Sutherland Springs was laudable and betrayed profound ignorance of history.

Following his host’s lead, he explicitly refused to introduce anything “political” into discussion of this latest mass murder. Then, he equated this tragedy to horrific events that “happened with Hitler.” Does the governor think that Hitler was stopped because the United States and its allies refused to “get political” about the Third Reich?

It is past time that politicians in this country got as “political” about gun-based mass murder as they are “political” about preventing terrorists from entering the U.S. They could begin by enacting a statute supporting the entire Second Amendment. That is, a statute that requires everyone who buys an assault-type rifle to become part of a “well-regulated militia” by attending militia training under auspices of the National Guard.

ROBERT BAUMGARDNER, AUSTIN

In the short year that he has been president, Donald Trump has: engendered unprecedented divisiveness; emboldened the most petty and self-interested political strategies; injected unnecessary chaos and uncertainty into our health care system; damaged substantially American and global efforts to protect the environment; eschewed progress in consumer protection; surrendered our country’s position as the model and leader of reasonable world conduct; and turned us into the world’s pained laughing stock.

The most recent elections demonstrate that, apart from Trump’s myopic core constituency, the country is waking up. We are no longer willing to treat all of this as an inevitable and unstoppable nightmare. The Republican Party has a unique opportunity to regain its role as a responsible and influential voice in American politics. Will it rise to the occasion or succumb to the enveloping darkness that is the current administration?

PATRICK H. CANTILO, AUSTIN



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