Stop free rides

I agree with your Jan. 7 editorial for increasing the gas tax. Your reasoning is clear and does not need repeating.

There is, however, a related problem with a solution. In South Carolina trailers do not require a license; in fact they do not require taillights and turn signals, or a user fee.

Every day thousands of utility trailers, boat trailers and RV trailers travel the roads.

Not only do they double the “footprint” of the towing vehicle adding to traffic, but the towed vehicles have one, two and sometimes three axles, all contributing to the wear and tear of the roads, but not contributing to the upkeep.

Thus, all non-trailer owners are subsidizing the maintenance for highway wear and tear caused by thousands of trailers.

We should require proper lighting and then full registration and a user fee. The users are getting a free ride.

FRED SALES

Lawton Drive

Charleston

‘Run, hide, fight’

The massacre in Newtown, Conn., hit me as hard as anyone as I have two grandchildren and a great grandchild under 7 and two more on the way.

I attended the children’s Mass at Blessed Sacrament Church on Christmas Eve and as I looked around I thought, what would I do if a crazy person decided to act in the same manner?

After the Sept. 11 episode that killed thousands, I decided that I would act. My son said he thought the same thing and would not sit still.

Several days ago Sheriff Al Cannon held a seminar of sorts on this kind of act. The gist of his advice was to “Run, hide, fight.”

We are involved in a massive campaign to abrogate the rights of Americans to own and carry firearms, granted under our Constitution. Shootings in the tri-county area seem to occur every day, although none so extreme as the one in Newtown, where 20 children were brutally murdered at one time with the use of a firearm.

In this country untold numbers of children are murdered every day with surgical scissors. These children cannot run, hide or fight. They have no rights under our Constitution. I don’t have the numbers, but it is more than 20.

I would call for the ban and confiscation of all scissors in this country.

James A. Kenney

Capt., U.S. Navy (Retired)

Timber Race Course

Hollywood

ACLU fan

We faced some grim challenges to our individual freedoms in 2012, and they will continue in 2013.

If you are dark-skinned, your right to use our roads continues to exist, but you may be stopped, questioned and required to show proof of the validity of your existence. Your freedom is more likely to be encumbered if you are a male and in your teens or 20s.

The right to vote that you have exercised all your adult life may be in jeopardy, particularly if you are poor, disabled or elderly, without car or driver’s license and thus without photo ID.

Your autistic, learning disabled or otherwise handicapped child may be in a self-contained classroom that does not provide the educational opportunities of which he or she is capable, simply because behavior management is easier in such a restricted setting.

Your government would like to dictate what medical procedures are allowed for pregnant people. The church wants a voice in whether you use birth control, but women are not allowed to sit at the table for that discussion.

Laws continue to dictate that certain of us may not marry, much as black and white couples once were banned.

If you have not encountered any of these challenges to your freedom, then you have not needed the help of the American Civil Liberties Union. Many freedoms we take for granted have been fought for by the ACLU.

The ACLU comes under fire because often the cause is not obvious, or we disagree with the group they seem to be protecting.

However, when one person loses a right that is guaranteed by our Constitution and our laws, we all risk losing that right.

As we start the year, I would like to thank the American Civil Liberties Union for its hard work on behalf of us all.

Agnes F. Pomata, Ph.D.

Foxfire Road

Wadmalaw Island

Soft on crime

Melanie Balog’s account of a North Charleston police car chase seems to excuse the four defendants as if their crimes were namby pamby.

Perhaps she should ride along with police some so she can be more informed about what the guys in blue have to deal with.

All too often our courts allow people to get away with “minor crimes.”

Ms. Balog comes across as judge and jury of the police, but not of the criminals.

Lewis Wade

Cottageville Highway

Cottageville

Off base

I take issue with some of the points the Rev. Joseph A. Darby made in his Jan. 1 oped.

One particularly far off-base was the statement: “... the sights and sounds of early Tea Party rallies were chillingly reminiscent of the Klan in its heyday.”

I remember the KKK. There is no way you can convince me any legitimate news source reported the Tea Party wore hoods, burned homes, and lynched people.

Rev. Darby wrote that while an African-American was re-elected, “his first term was marked by politically crafted congressional deadlock, and he’s been subject to an arrogant and unprecedented level of criticism and innuendo.”

When it comes to innuendo (a subtle implication in expression, usually derogatory) and criticism (a passing of unfavorable judgment), Rev. Darby knows what he is talking about.

How many times must one repeat an innuendo before it is deemed fact?

Ernie Miller

Godber Street

Charleston

Replacement card

You can replace your Social Security card or your child’s card for free if it is lost or stolen. However, you are limited to three replacement cards in a year and 10 during your lifetime. Legal name changes and other exceptions do not count toward these limits.

For example, changes in non-citizen status that require card updates may not count toward these limits. Also, you may not be affected by these limits if you can prove you need the card to prevent a significant hardship.

To get a replacement card, you will need to:

• Complete an application for a Social Security card (Form SS-5);

• Present an unexpired original document with identifying information and preferably a recent photograph that proves your identity;

• Show evidence of your U.S. citizenship if you were born outside the United States and did not show proof of citizenship when you got your card;

• Show evidence of your current lawful non-citizen status if you are not a U.S. citizen.

Your replacement card will have the same name and number as your previous card.

James H. Spence

St. James Avenue

Goose Creek

Which is it?

Back in 2006, then-Sen. Obama vehemently opposed a debt-ceiling boost proposal from President Bush, citing “the fact that we’re here today to debate raising America’s debt limit is a sign of leadership failure.”

Yet today, that is his main objective outside of his hugely unpopular Obamacare.

My question is this, does that make him a “flip-flopper” or an “evolver”?

I guess it depends on which side of the aisle you are sitting.

God help us, and God bless America.

Earl Thacker

Greymarsh Road

Mount Pleasant

Disaster combo

I read with interest in the Jan. 6 paper that South Carolina has the most lax gun control laws in the country.

I also read with interest several days ago that Charleston was ranked the fourth “drunkest” city in the nation.

I wonder if there is any other combination of facts that could make a more potential recipe for disaster.

Neal Gittleman

Park West Boulevard

Mount Pleasant