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The Public Pulse: Train crossing safety; Choices for women; Border facts

The Public Pulse: Train crossing safety; Choices for women; Border facts

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Train crossing safety

A sad statistic: a person or vehicle is struck by a train every three hours in the United States. 95% of all rail-related deaths involve drivers going through a crossing or a person on the tracks.

When these tragedies occur, lives are changed forever — for the people involved in the crash, their family, friends and community, and the train crew members. Across the nation last year there were over 1,900 collisions and 198 fatalities. For a state like Nebraska with over 3,000 miles of track and home to some of the largest rail yards in the world, vigilance is a must.

This week marks U.S. Rail Safety Week, a national event to raise awareness about safety near railroad tracks. It’s led by Operation Lifesaver (OLI) in partnership with railroads, the USDOT, law enforcement and safety organizations.

The good news is that public education is powerful, especially when combined with efforts to improve grade crossing safety. Collisions are down 84% since 1972 when OLI began its work. Freight railroads also collaborate with local authorities across Nebraska to improve grade crossings, and advocate at the federal level for dedicated funding through the Section 130 program to eliminate hazards at crossings.

Always remember, never try and beat a train, always expect a train, obey all warning signs, and trains cannot stop quickly.

Brett Sebastian, Omaha Nebraska state director, GoRail

Choices

It boggles my mind to hear the volatile and negative pushback to revised health standards and comprehensive sex education in Nebraska while hearing anti-abortion proponents loudly and angrily vowing to support similar legislation as S.B.8 in Texas. Anti-choice politicians passed the most extreme and dangerous ban on safe and legal abortion since Roe v. Wade afforded the rights to women in 1973.

l was among some of the first women who were beneficiaries of safe and legal abortions instead of resorting to the horrendous things women, for hundreds of years before us, suffered through and even died from.

l grew up in rural Nebraska, where sex was a taboo topic that we didn’t even talk about with our best friends, much less our parents. Had l had comprehensive sex education that talked about the normalcy of sexuality, the importance of emotional maturity, an understanding of consent and bodily autonomy as well as access to birth control, perhaps l may have avoided an unplanned pregnancy.

If young women were not shamed for pregnancy outside of marriage, perhaps l would have felt it was OK to tell my parents. Had l had information about consent and what to do when a person won’t take no for an answer, perhaps l would not have been a victim of date rape.

Had l not been an adopted child whose own mother gave her up because she couldn’t deal with raising four children as a single parent, perhaps l might have considered that adoption would be a loving choice to make.

Yes, l made a choice. It may not have been a choice that you would have made, but it was right for me at the time. Does that make me pro-abortion? No, it makes me a woman who deserves the right to bodily autonomy and reproductive freedom.

Here l am, a 68-year-old grandmother fighting for the same rights for my granddaughters as anti-abortion power-wielders manipulate the law to strip that right from all women.

Abortion is health care. Comprehensive ex education saves lives and is effective in reducing unplanned pregnancies.

Sherry Dorman, Wayne, Neb.

Good stewardship

I too am very concerned with the wrong information given to people about being vaccinated and the 30x30 plan. I grew up on a farm and understand the 30x30 plan and simplicity. My dad was a small farmer and if we did not protect our land and if we planted every year, we would have not had good crops. You learn how to take care of the land you own. Pete Ricketts is a danger to farmers spreading misinformation.

Pete Ricketts also needs to stop trying to hurt our children and preexisting condition people with the virus that we have in Nebraska. I am limited on where I go and who I see because not everyone is vaccinated. I would like to have my freedom to go out and be safe. While working last week, we had a man come into where I work without a mask and not vaccinated come into where I work. We had a sign on the door and he came in anyway, not protecting us. At 77 years old and working for health care with a preexisting condition, I could not believe the disrespect.

We are supposed to be a Christian state and I do not see many Christians protecting their flock by the good book with what God wants us to follow by his teachings.

Connie McMillan, Omaha

Listen to experts

When I need legal advice I hire an attorney. When I’m sick or injured, I seek medical advice. When I’m getting ready to file my taxes, I hire a CPA. When I need financial advice, I hire a professional adviser. I assume our public officials do the same. We elected them to act on our behalf.

When I get advice from an attorney, I follow it. When I get advice from the medical professionals, I follow it. When the CPA gives me advice on my taxes or the financial adviser gives me advice, I follow it. Heck, I even learned a long time ago to follow the advice my car repair guy, the electrician, plumber and lawn service people give me. So why, I ask, when our public health professionals tell us we should be wearing masks so we can stay healthy, are our mayors, county commissioners, state public health officials and yes, our governor not taking their advice? They hired professionals with all the degrees, experience, knowledge and data, as well as information from other professionals. What more do we need? Why are our elected officials ignoring the advice? Do they really want our hospitals to be filled to the breaking point and our medical workers to burn out?

I think it’s foolhardy to ignore the advice we’re given. As for me, I’m wearing my masks again and when someone asks, it’s because the public health officials have advised me to do so.

Deborah Trivitt, Omaha

Facts at the border

I am very disappointed in two letters published in the Sept. 23 Public Pulse regarding the crisis in Del Rio, Texas. It’s not that The World-Herald printed these letters, but that both letters showed the dismal ability for people to know the facts.

The first claimed that the crisis was “our nation’s failure.” I would like to remind the writer that American is a country of immigrants. Two of them were my maternal grandparents. They immigrated legally. Yes, there is a long-standing process for people to apply for legal entry into our country. There are processes to apply for asylum.

It is possible to change that process to make it simpler, yes. Is it possible to allow more entries, yes, it surely is. However, the answer is not to just allow anyone to come into our country without any resources or plan on how they will support themselves. That is where charities can help.

This has nothing to do with the skin color of those camped out under that bridge. There are requirements to be allowed asylum. Is it fair to allow just anyone — even those who don’t qualify — to enter? The answer is no!

The second letter mentioned the use of horses to assist the officials on the ground. Whips were never used to move people. This was a lie based on a comment of our ineffective vice president, Kamala Harris.

Let’s all try to understand what is really happening.

Marie Salistean, Omaha

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