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The Public Pulse: Seniors and isolation; Gun bill; Needed education; Dems' boondoggle
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The Public Pulse: Seniors and isolation; Gun bill; Needed education; Dems' boondoggle

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Isolation, seniors

I agree wholeheartedly with Tony Vargas’ Feb. 24 essay concerning the use of solitary confinement in the state’s penal system. I hope that he, the ACLU, AARP and other advocacy groups will also advocate for its elimination in nursing homes and assisted living facilities.

Based on experiences that I’ve had with a loved one that had to go through this ordeal, COVID-19 forced caregivers for the elderly to isolate them from other residents and outsiders to prevent the spread of the virus. While the goal was worthy, it resulted in the cruel isolation of the people that need human interaction the most. This isolation persisted for months. It was heartbreaking to go to a nursing home and see the elderly try to talk to their grandkids through heavy glass windows.

Only now are the confinement rules easing up enough to where residents can at least talk to one another occasionally and some outside visitation is now allowed. The caregivers hated this condition as much as those who had loved ones in their facilities, but their hands were tied. They had to follow the law and what our community leaders were advising.

I don’t have any answers, since I’m not a professional caregiver. I only hope and pray that groups like the ACLU and AARP would at least have some discussion with Mr. Vargas and others concerning this issue well before the next virus hits. This torture of the elderly must end.

John Glazeski, Omaha

Proposal too extreme

I grew up on a farm in Iowa and hunted pheasants and later served in South Korea in the 2nd Infantry Division. While in Korea I was issued an M-16 (which was kept under lock and key) and practice fired the M50 machine gun close enough to the Demilitarized Zone to view the fencing on our side of the zone. I think I know the danger of military weapons like the M-16. They were developed to kill people.

What in heaven’s name does any private citizen need an M-16 for unless they have ill intentions? Legislative Bill 188 proposes that the people of Nebraska be allowed to violate federal law if the Nebraska Legislature decides that gun laws should be more flexible. The people of Nebraska and any person in this beautiful country should not have to worry about whether the someone walking or driving by them has a deadly weapon in their possession. It is the duty of all legislators to ensure that the laws of the state or country protect all people and ensure that all can live tranquil lives.

Through our democratic government, officials can hire law enforcement people to enforce democratically enacted laws. When and if we lose our democracy, it could be violent chaos if we have members of our communities who own military style weapons. I urge the members of the Government, Military and Veterans Affairs Committee not to let LB 188 or anything else like it out of committee.

Atley Wedmeyer, Omaha

Needed education

I recall vividly my 8th-grade teacher forewarning us about the racist portrayals and slurs we would be reading in Harper Lee’s “To Kill a Mockingbird.” My parents were required to sign a permission slip so I would be allowed to watch the film “Schindler’s List” in the 10th grade. Guided group discussion followed. If a student’s parent(s) did not sign the slip, the student was given an alternative assignment about the Holocaust which did not include Anne Frank’s diary, as we had read this in freshman year. This was all at Catholic schools in Omaha.

There seems to be a ribbon flowing through our society now that says anything that makes you uncomfortable is wrong. Rodney King and the Holocaust, as just two quick examples, should make everyone uncomfortable and much more, to say the least. This exposure is necessary for society to improve. Poets and authors wrote their works so that these grave injustices are not forgotten and not repeated by posterity.

How do you understand and react to George Floyd in 2020 without this education? That’s why you go to school in the first place. If a student does not learn about the bigotry of the N word in school, that leaves a host of other dark places where he or she can learn it and potentially not comprehend its meaning.

This teacher at Holy Name could make a lot more money at OPS, Millard, Elkhorn, etc., but most likely they are choosing a Catholic school for specific and personal reasons. Shame on the diocese and the school for not standing up for her.

Rose A. Sullivan, Omaha

Electoral-vote bill

When Republicans defend the undemocratic Electoral College, they argue that in a small state like Nebraska, presidential candidates will ignore the state and not campaign here because of our small population. Now, they argue that we should change awarding electors by congressional district because the district may not represent the views of the entire state.

So what? I don’t expect my friends in Western Nebraska to think like I do. Why should I have to think like they do? Why is my voice less important?

Trump visited Omaha during the last days of the campaign because he thought, correctly, that he could lose the 2nd District. Do you honestly think that Trump or any Republican candidate will visit Nebraska when he or she is assured of the five electoral votes? The answer is clearly no! As long as you have an “R” next to your name, you will likely get elected in Nebraska.

Patrick Barrett, Omaha

Dems’ boondoggle

Read with interest your reporting on the COVID relief bill in Monday’s paper. But wondering why half of the bill’s priorities were left out of the article. No mention was made of the following pork projects:

Millions for Silicon Valley’s Rapid Transit System (why shouldn’t Big Tech pay for this rather than taxpayers? Oh wait — they were big donors to Biden’s campaign); $200 million for museums and libraries, $270 million for arts and humanities’ endowments; $50 million for family planning; $50 million for environmental projects; money for New York’s International Seaway Bridge connecting to Canada; and money for multi-employer pension fund bailouts.

More than half of this bill has nothing to do with the virus or helping small businesses. Much of it won’t even be paid out until the next five to 10 yrs. Why are we making promises of donations to be spent in the future after (hopefully) our country is opened up? It is a boondoggle of Democrat projects!

Cheryl Bartek, Omaha

A different leader

It is so refreshing to have a president in the White House who does not make fun of people, call people names and swear at people; who is able to answer tough questions; and who does not lie and constantly brag about himself. These are a few things most people do not miss from the former president.

Peter I. Giglia, Omaha

Pleasant experience

I was scheduled to get my first vaccine at Kohll’s at 127th and Q on Monday at 1:40. Arrived there about five minutes early and was asked to stay in my vehicle and they would get me. Sure enough, right on time I was escorted into the facility. Gave them my information and very shortly was called for a more in-depth interview. After asking and answering questions, the young man then asked me, “Anything else we can do for you while you’re here? Botox? Fillers?” I laughed out loud and have to admit his question certainly took my mind off the fact that I was getting a shot! And no after-effects either!

Louise Douglas, Omaha

Best to let them know

I think that part of the problem of getting an appointment for the COVID vaccination is that many people are making appointments at various providers and after they get their shot at one provider, they do not call the others to cancel their appointments. Please, if you are in this category, cancel other appointments if you have already received the shot at another location.

Ronald Rogers, Bellevue

Old-time cold snap

I read with interest J. F. Johnson’s letter in Friday’s World-Herald about the winter of 1936. It clarified for me a winter that my parents talked about, and that I have very vague memories of. I would have been a bit over a year old during the winter of 1936, and I recall my parents talking about a winter when the temperature never rose above zero for 32 consecutive days during January and February. That must have been 1936.

We lived in a two-story farmhouse with neither electricity nor indoor plumbing. The house was heated with a wood burning cook stove in the kitchen and a wood and coal burning parlor stove in the living room. The chimney that the kitchen stove fed into could also be accessed from the dining room, so during that cold snaps Mom and Dad abandoned the kitchen, moved the kitchen stove into the dining room, and the family, consisting of Mom, Dad, my older sister and me, holed up in the dining room and living room for the duration.

The onus was on Dad to keep the stoves supplied with firewood and coal, and to bring water into the house by bucket from an outdoor well with a hand pump. Plus, he had livestock to tend to, and to keep fed and watered. When he had to go outdoors after dark, he used a kerosene lantern.

And nowadays we think it’s a big inconvenience if the electricity goes off for an hour or two.

Gene Gausman, Milford, Neb.

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