Where do you want to fly?

The marijuana question — again

To the editor:

About two years ago, I wrote a letter about medical weed being legalized in both Pennsylvania and Maryland. Today, both states are working on legalizing recreational weed.

Fellow citizens, is this what we want? Don’t we have enough problems with the use and abuse of hallucinogenic drugs? Almost daily there are articles in Hagerstown and Waynesboro newspapers about drug and alcohol abuse.

Why do our states want to legalize recreational weed? Legalizing weed is a moneymaker for states and makes the weed industry a legalized drug cartel. Our legislators are promoters of the cartel, which is in violation of federal law.

States legalize weed because it puts big bucks in their coffers. I was told by a Pennsylvania official that the state gets “millions” for permits to grow and dispense weed. Pennsylvania presently is working toward 25 grower licenses and 50 dispensary licenses, the max allowed by the medical weed law. Our legislators want the bucks for their state treasury so they don’t have to raise taxes and face the wrath of citizens. There are big bucks for those in the business too, and weed’s addictive characteristics guarantee return customers.

The state’s cost to treat victims of drug abuse could exceed the income generated from the weed industry. Recent editions of The Herald-Mail had these headlines: “Washington County sees sharp increase in drug, alcohol deaths” (Jan. 17), and “(Martinsburg, W.Va.) drug-treatment facility cost estimate rises to $3.6M” (Feb. 21).

It’s time for citizens to raise a storm with our authorities about the direction they are taking us. We are paying their salaries.

Finally, it is my prayer that someone younger than I (I’m 83) will rise up to spearhead a movement to bring an end to this foolishness. Better still, is there a church, group of churches or a civic organization that would accept the challenge? Biblically speaking, our culture has lost its moral compass and may be worse than ancient Sodom and Gomorrah, which God destroyed.

Richard A. Happel Jr.

Waynesboro, Pa.

County commissioners should support school budget

To the editor:

In the morning, as I read the newspaper, I look out my third-floor window and watch the school buses drive down U.S. 11 toward Williamsport. They are delivering students to Williamsport Elementary, Middle and High schools. My heart swells with pride because I feel the future is in good hands.

We have some excellent schools in Washington County. They are staffed by teachers who are well-trained to do their job. The superintendent, Boyd Michael, is a Washington County native. He is in the process of growing our school system, with Washington County Public Schools students outperforming the state average level of improvement in areas of recent assessment tests.

Michael has chosen improving early childhood education as his major goal. Robert F. Fulghum wrote a book titled “All I Really Needed to Know I Learned in Kindergarten.” This book stressed the importance of early childhood learning. Children who develop early skills do well in the higher grades. Our early childhood programs are already showing results. Money is needed to continue this effort. With emphasis placed on early childhood education, we must maintain the remaining program.

I am requesting the county commissioners fully support the board of education’s budget. I have known Michael for about 40 years. He will not ask for more than he needs, and he will spend every dollar wisely.

James C. Haught

Williamsport

Increase in anti-Semitic attacks shouldn’t be tolerated

To the editor:

The U.S. Department of Justice reports hate crimes in America rose 17 percent in 2017. The statistics revealed an even larger increase in attacks against Jewish people, which rose by a shocking 37 percent.

This is an alarming statistic in and of itself. Then, when you stop to consider there are no doubt many more anti-Semitic incidents such as verbal attacks, physical assaults and vandalism that go unreported, it is particularly worrisome.

Anti-Semitic hate crimes have been occurring on far too many occasions and have become way too common here and abroad. The prime minister of France issued a statement recently acknowledging that violence against Jews and other acts of anti-Semitism surged in France last year. Anti-Semitic attacks were up 74 percent from 2017 to 2018. A Feb. 19 Reuters article about anti-Semitism states that some French leaders are blaming fringe Islamist preachers and others from the far left for the anti-Semitic acts against France’s Jewish population — Europe’s largest, about 550,000 people. There have been numerous incidents of French Jewish tombs being desecrated, and anti-Semitic graffiti scrawled upon walls and synagogues, as well as on the doors and homes and businesses owned by Jewish people.

Hate crimes such as these are occurring at alarming rates. Just this past year there was a mass shooting on Oct. 27 in Pittsburgh at the Tree of Life synagogue. While a group of Jewish people were gathered for their morning worship service, an attacker entered the building, shot and killed 11 people and wounded six others, including four police officers.

Our nation was founded upon key principles of freedom of speech and freedom of religion. Assaults such as these on one segment of our population are assaults on us all. Those who perpetrate such evil, hateful acts should be dealt with lawfully, swiftly and to the fullest extent. We should not turn a blind eye and tolerate such vicious hateful crimes, lest the words of Winston Churchill ring true, “Those who fail to learn from history are doomed to repeat it.”

J. Greg Garner

Hagerstown