Sounding off: Guns, taxes, MAGAs, Biden, immigrants among topics of week

Gun Rights

Too many guns, not enough laws

The writer of the letter “We have plenty of gun laws” (Jan. 6, TribLive) writes “it seems to me” we have enough gun laws already. Then why do we have so many more shootings than other countries with strict regulation?

He says the U.S. cities with the strictest gun laws have the most gun violence. But he has the cart before the horse — the laws were made in response to the violence. Also, guns cross state lines with no resistance. If he had compared countries, with tighter border security than states, he would have seen a definite correlation between easy gun access and shootings.

He says Pennsylvania “already has universal background checks for all firearm dealers.” But the word “universal” means “all.” If you can’t pass the check, just go buy whatever you want from a private citizen without even a handshake. Surely the framers didn’t intend that any idiot can buy any gun with no background check or training.

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He closes with the usual claptrap about his “liberties,” which were granted to him under the usual distorted reading of the Second Amendment, which was written when there was no national army and we relied on “well regulated militias” for our defense.

We have too many guns, and consequently too many shootings. Would a doctor trained by the NRA School of Medicine say that the cure for disease is more germs?

We need to close the gun show loophole, and ban assault rifles, which have no place in civilized society.

Let’s get to work. The next Sandy Hook is coming!

Fred Durig



Corporations and ‘fair share’ of taxes

The next time you hear someone gripe about corporations not paying their “fair share” of taxes, try this reply:

“So let me get this straight: You want to take resources away from an efficient, wealth-creating organization (i.e., a corporation) and give them to a demonstrably inefficient, corrupt, wealth-destroying organization which wastes everything it touches (i.e., the federal government). And why is this, exactly?”

Jeff Novotny

Mesa, Ariz.

The writer is a Latrobe native.


MAGAs, respect and patriotism

I for one was glad to see a “MAGA conservative” opine on the differences between conservatives and liberals and help clear the air (“Conservatives respectful, liberals destructive,” Jan. 11, TribLive).

Most people think the MAGA group is not respectful of life (unless you consider state abortion bans that are rendering women who want children infertile or, worse, dead), our history (otherwise they would welcome the teaching of it all — the good, the bad and the ugly — that is why it’s called “history”), our military (or else the first time Donald Trump bashed our military, mocked POWs and refused to be photographed with amputee soldiers, the MAGA group would reject Trump), our police (let’s not forget the Jan. 6 officers who lost their lives at the Capitol, in addition to the multitude of injuries they suffered — and yet were treated like pariahs), and our flag (I see way too many Confederate flags, altered American flags and even Old Glory covered in what appears to be Trump riding a dinosaur brandishing an assault weapon at MAGA rallies).

And they certainly give the impression they are not respectful of mine and many Americans’ freedoms. Instead, all we get are revenge politics, fearmongering and the least productive Congress since the Civil War.

Finally, a reminder that so-called “MAGA conservatives” do not hold the monopoly on patriotism. Even though I’m an independent and no longer a Republican, I love this country and consider myself quite the patriot. Although, I do not own a Trump dinosaur flag, does that change anything?

Karla Thomas



Reimagining Pittsburgh Mills Mall

The corporation that owns Mills Mall recently paid $11 million in back taxes, which did nothing to enhance the mall or bring anything into the mall area (“Pittsburgh Mills mall owner optimistic about property’s future, but mum on details, after averting sheriff’s sale,” Oct. 9, TribLive). I think there is a better way to have the mall and surrounding properties grow and prosper.

Take the space opposite Macy’s and Spring Hill and put up apartments. The space is large enough to have a combination of townhouse-type buildings as well as several multistory apartment buildings.

Then take the space by Dick’s Sporting Goods and build luxury, high-end condos, limited access with 24/7 staff/security. Put a price point in the $300,000-$400,000 range with amenities such as a walking trail around the buildings, pickleball courts, meeting common room, secure parking, etc., and direct access to the mall.

Finally, tear down the JCPenney building and put up two 10-story apartment buildings, one aimed at 50-plus empty-nesters and the other at young professionals. These also would have direct access to the mall.

This should provide the need for support services demanded by the tenants, which should bring shops and services back into the mall (day care, food court, entertainment venues, a small quick mart for pop and snacks).

Jim Rice

New Kensington


Biden’s actions keep Iran a threat to U.S.

On July 14, 2015, Barack Obama, with then-Vice President Joe Biden standing behind him, smiling like a Cheshire cat, naïvely claimed to the American people, “… the United States … has achieved something that decades of animosity has not, a comprehensive long term deal with Iran that will prevent (them) from obtaining a nuclear weapon.”

Here we are more than eight years later and the facts refute those words. Iran is fast becoming a nuclear weapons state. It was able to continue enriching uranium and build new generation centrifuges with few constraints. The International Atomic Energy Agency was banned from inspecting military facilities where Iran was likely assembling its nuclear warheads.

The latest annual report on terrorism states that “Iran continues to be the leading state sponsor of terrorism, facilitating a wide range of terrorist … around the world.”

Biden’s decision not to enforce President Trump’s sanctions saw Iran’s export of oil to China go from 300,000 barrels/day in 2020 to 1.6 billion/day in 2023, giving Iran $35 billion a year in extra revenue. This in addition to the $6 billion ransom paid by Biden on the anniversary of 9/11 and another $10 billion just this past summer.

These two presidents have done more to undermine the security of this nation than any foreign adversary could ever do. Just watch what’s happening at the borders.

Ed Liberatore

Turtle Creek


County tax hike is fiscal mismanagement by commissioners

I stand in opposition to the decision by our three county commissioners to raise property taxes by 32.5% This outrageous increase puts a financial burden on seniors living on fixed incomes and families struggling to live from paycheck to paycheck. I have filed a complaint with the ACLU, and I accuse all three commissioners of fiscal mismanagement. What is next for Westmoreland County if they continue to spend more than they take in? Receivership? This increase must not stand. Make your voices heard!

Dom Palmieri



We need legal immigration

Happy New Year, America. It is estimated that between 1892 and 1954 some 12 million immigrants passed through the U.S. immigration portal of Ellis Island. All were vetted upon entrance.

Since the three years of the Biden administration, it is conservatively estimated that almost 4 million immigrants have illegally crossed the southern border, with some estimates as high as 8 million. In three short years, a third of the number of immigrants have illegally entered the U.S. as those that legally entered during a 62-year span.

The enormity of this problem cannot be overstated. In a country already suffering from economic problems, with an estimated 65% of Americans living paycheck to paycheck and with little or no savings, it’s beyond foolish to attempt to absorb millions more en masse. This will only exacerbate our current state of national discord.

There are many theories as to why this is happening, from an intentional act of destruction, an attempt to gain a larger voting bloc or changing the nation’s demographics. Whatever the reason, anyone with a logical mind must conclude that it is a catastrophe. And the full impact of this fiasco is yet to be realized.

Immigration is both needed and wanted, but the key terms are “legal and controlled” immigration. It’s the only way a sovereign nation can maintain its national security.

When Homeland Security Secretary Alexander Mayorkas testified to Congress that “our borders are secure” and “not open,” he was completely disingenuous … or worse. Some would even say treasonous.

Steven Crichley


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