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Letters to the Editor - Winsted Journal - 6-30-17

Patriots welcome

On Tuesday, July 4, our great nation will celebrate Independence Day, a watershed in human history. This is the day in which America not only declared her independence, but set us off on the path toward a more just and free society.  

This is a day worth celebrating, not just with flags, food and fireworks, but with an appreciation for the Declaration of Independence itself, which is the great, basic document that freed our country and declared that “all men are created equal.” 

On the Fourth of July, flags and fireworks are everywhere, but not our country’s Declaration of Independence itself.  That is the document which we raise and hold high today. Without that Declaration, there would be no flag, no fireworks, no freedom.

There is a saying that “freedom isn’t free,” and long experience has proved this to be true.  Our country was born in war and since then, we have fought to preserve our freedom and fought, also, to bring freedom to oppressed people around the world.  It is worth remembering that the pledge of allegiance to the flag ends with the words — “with liberty and justice for all.” 

But it takes work to turn those objectives into reality. We can’t just pay lip service to the symbols of our country.  Preservation of our democracy and our American heritage, requires each of us to learn about the Declaration of Independence; to learn about the Constitution; to be an informed and involved member of our society.  

Have you read the Declaration of Independence from beginning to end? It’s not long. The words are stirring: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life liberty and the pursuit of happiness.”  These ideals are important.

On this Independence Day, the American Museum of Tort Law invites you to visit us and get a free copy of the Declaration of Independence. Because, after all, that is what the Museum advocates and celebrates — public education about the rule of law, and trial by jury, to advance safety and freedom for all.

So, however you celebrate the Fourth of July, please take a minute to think about our Declaration of Independence, the document that created a new nation. 

And, welcome all patriots. Happy Independence Day to us all.

Richard L. Newman

Executive Director 

American Museum of Tort Law

 

Winsted

 

Share the road

Each year the Farmington River area becomes a hotspot for spring and summer activity tourism. Yellow rafts and inflatable beds float downstream in almost the same concentration cyclists and runners navigate the hilly, bucolic roads. Yet, each year roadside memorials are put on display where cyclists or runners were fatally struck:

Last year a pedestrian was struck and killed on Route 44 in New Hartford when a car jumped the curb. His wife was hospitalized.

Recently, a Norfolk man turned himself in for hitting a dirt biker with his truck last year on Route 44 in New Hartford before speeding away.

And just a week ago a Canton man riding his bike through the intersection of Routes 44 and 219 was struck and killed by a local driver. 

Is there not enough space for us to share the road? Are we not paying attention? 

I’ve spoken with quite a few automobile drivers who hold a particular disdain for cyclists, and they willingly admit to intimidating cyclists because they “take up too much of the road.” Some cyclists ride tandem, but according to the law, they’re allowed. Also, if the shoulder—you know, the massive, 24-inch-wide strip of asphalt often covered in sand and broken bottles—is incapable of safe travel, cyclists are allowed to ride in the travel lanes. That’s state law, not  gentleman’s law. I can tell you that not every single accident is an automobile driver’s fault, but I can also tell you from personal experience that many automobile drivers act like they’d kill a cyclist if they had a gun and a bullet. I’ve never met a cyclist that wanted to bully a vehicle off the road, or threw anything at them.  

When we drive our cars we command thousands of pounds of steel. A bike weighs 10 pounds. A runner, and walker, has an 8-ounce shoe on each foot. So many auto drivers claim the road, and I suspect it’s due, at least in part, to this size discrepancy. Maybe those particularly aggressive automobile drivers should run or cycle on the shoulder for some perspective, because when they’re running and the oncoming car doesn’t move over a little even though there’s no car in the other lane, or when they’re cycling and have someone pull up next to them and yell at them, squirt them with water, or blow an airhorn at them, they may realize that they should change their own behavior.

No one owns the road, and in fact, we share it. 

Tony Perri

 

New Hartford