Tonawanda News

January 19, 2013

Guns, hostage horse top news

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The Tonawanda News

Tonawanda News — Two topics take over this week’s column: Gun control and a horse held hostage. 

Wayne Tahara, a retured teacher, was the speaker at a recent Exchange Club meeting and his topic was One Nation Under God and the new gun control law.

He started off by reading a message that Darrell Scott, the father of a girl killed in the Columbine tragedy, gave to the House judiciary committee’s subcommittee. In his talk, Scott read the following poem which he wrote.

“Your laws ignore our deepest needs, your word are empty air. You’ve stripped away our heritage, you’ve outlawed simple prayer. Now gunshots fill our classrooms and precious children die. You seek answers everywhere and ask the question, ‘Why?’ You regulate restrictive laws through legislative creed, and yet you fail to understand that God is what we need.”

Wayne then focused on the fact that the nation refuses to honor God and makes the NRA the scapegoat. He recalled how, when the U.S. declared war on Japan during WWII, the government “shot from the hip” and decided that the 110,000 of Japanese heritage would be taken to concentration camps where they lived for four years in the worst of conditions while many of the detainees’ sons and daughters were fighting and dying in the war.

 “It disturbs me,” Wayne said as his family was one interred and, in fact, he was born in a concentration camp. His parents had to give away their possessions including Samari swords that were handed down from generation to generation.

In his view, a bigger mistake than the gun laws was fanatics who forced prohibition. Gun laws simply sidetrack government issues such as Medicare and smaller government, he said.

Wayne said one answer is educate people is through the Exchange Club’s One Nation Under God program. He noted that in his opinion, the country lacks values as it’s reported that only one-fourth of children go to church today.

Wayne’s thoughts are well taken and as for me, I agree. From age 16 until I married, I hunted with my brothers, dad and uncles and enjoyed it. We would target practice with clay pigeons, learned how to care for and use a gun and we didn’t need the NRA. Parts of the gun law are legitimate but the fact that is was jammed through so quickly, “shooting from the hip,” so to speak, makes one wonder about the politics of the law — is it for the good of the people or for the good of the politicians?

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The second topic began with a call from a member of St. Peter’s United Church of Christ in North Tonawanda which, four years ago, joined in the carrousel project to paint and put up carrousel horses on Oliver Street. The pole went up, the horse was painted and sent to be stored in the garage of Larry and Linda Soos. Since that time, the church has been trying to find out what happened to their horse, which they jokingly say is being “held hostage.”

An email to Mayor Ortt brought a return phone call from Scott Kiedrowski, city clerk, who said he’s been on the trail of the lost horse for several years. He complimented the Oliver Pride Group on the carrousel effort and contacted Larry Soos who said he had the horse but was waiting for more horses. Scott also said he tried to find out where the horses came from as the city has offered to buy another horse for the church to paint and be put up. All to no avail.

This story seems unbelievable and hopefully, Larry will call and solve the mystery as we were unable to reach him last week.

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Lastly, and hopefully, the end of the story on  “How big is a trillion?” 

Charles Belair of North Tonawanda emailed that he wasn’t sure how Jim James made his calculation.

Charles wrote, “His conclusion that a trillion seconds was equivalent to 2056.71 years is incorrect. Jim Horton was on the right track, correctly calculating that a billion seconds was equivalent to approximately 31.7 years. Since a trillion is a thousand times as big as a billion, that means a trillion seconds will be a thousand times as long as a billion seconds, making a trillion seconds equivalent to 31,700 years. If the national debt ($16 trillion) was measured in seconds rather than dollars, it would be equivalent to slightly more than 507,000 years.

Here’s another analogy that can provide some sense of how big a trillion is. If you were to stack a trillion one-dollar bills on top of each other, the stack would be just short of 68,000 miles high. According to the Bureau of Engraving and Printing, a dollar bill is 0.0043 inches thick, there are 12 inches in a foot and 5,280 feet in a mile. Multiply a trillion times 0.0043 to get the number of inches a trillion one dollar bills is equivalent to, then divide that answer by 12 to get the number of feet, and, finally, divide that result by 5280 to get the number of miles. Sixteen trillion dollars, then, is equivalent to a stack of dollar bills that would be 1,088,000 miles high, enough to go from the earth to the moon and back, do that again, and still have enough left over to get halfway to the moon again on your third trip.

The end.

Contact community editor Barbara Tucker at 693-1000, ext. 4110 or email barbara.tucker@tonawanda-news.com