I Need Some Help, Srsly

27 Oct

I don’t normally troll the Letters to the Editor section of the Buffalo News, but one this morning caused me to spit out my coffee. My sarcasm meter is sometimes a bit off, so please help me, is this letter a joke?

This letter is in regard to the man who killed three people and was convicted of a home invasion in 1973. I am a resident of South Buffalo and I resent, like many others in the neighborhood, that Harvest House Center has the audacity to bring in ex-cons, drug addicts or individuals whose life represents tragic past events.

Our middle-class neighborhood, so rich in family history and upbringing, is being undermined by these less desirable individuals. It’s a shame that a non-profit organization will go to any extreme to secure funds or make money by this type of conduct. Not only that, but this center also brings in others from outside the area and the state.

This is one reason why I have given up my Catholic faith. The Catholic Church and Diocese of Buffalo work hand in hand with this center to promote its agenda and carry out these programs. If I were a parent, I would have reservations about sending my children to this center for any spiritual guidance or exposing them to unscrupulous individuals.

Can you believe the audacity of a social services organization offering social services to undesirable ex-cons and former drug users in a residential setting?! Can you believe the audacity of a non-profit seeking to secure funding to do this work?!? Can you believe the AUDACITY of the Catholic Church also seeking to help these unscrupulous people?!?!? How can we possibly expose our children to scenes of adults helping other adults? You know what would fix this – giving every criminal a life sentence. Then we wouldn’t have ex-cons, and wouldn’t have to worry about any of this! On a related note, I also have a modest proposal to eat children.

BTW, if you are curious, the triple murderer this letter refers to is Gerald Balone, who did 33 years and now talks to students about making better choices to stay out of jail. The AUDACITY of it!

15 Responses to “I Need Some Help, Srsly”

  1. Jordan October 27, 2009 at 8:12 pm #

    Would you like these folks on your street in Grand Island? No one wants these people around them. Unfortunately, they have to go somewhere. It’s just too bad they aren’t spread around the area better, rather than be disproportionately housed in the city.

  2. Brian Castner October 27, 2009 at 8:25 pm #

    Why is it any better to have “these people” in the city or the suburbs? And “these people” are down the street and around the corner from me, not that it makes a bit of difference. Workers in half-way houses need our full support – it is thankless, and (occasionally) dangerous, work. They don’t need derision or to have their motives questioned (from the letter writer, not you).

  3. Ethan October 27, 2009 at 11:14 pm #

    I’m gonna be a total dick here and say: I wonder which party “Jordan” belongs to, or that letter-writer. I’ll be slightly less of a dick and say: I bet I know which party they don’t belong to.

    “those people” indeed.

  4. Rebecca October 27, 2009 at 11:40 pm #

    I would invite Gerald Balone to dinner at my house.

    I met Mr. Balone. He came to speak to my criminal law class at UB Law School. His talk was so impressive that I bought his book and read it (it’s a a guide to making parole and it’s all about having the right attitude, taking responsibility, and moving forward). He committed three murders when he was 17 and he’s almost 60.

    He’s an excellent speaker and a wonderful human being. I wish I could say the same for this letter writer.

  5. Rebecca October 27, 2009 at 11:51 pm #

    BTW – the class was taught by an adjunct who has a very successful criminal law practice (he even said, “If there’s a lawyer out there that charges more than I do, I want to know about, because it means I’m not doing y job.” He was only half joking). Jerry called him up, having never met him, and said they should be partners. The attorney told him to take a hike. That was several years ago and long story short, Jerry spends holidays with this attorney’s family, he trusts him alone with his teenage son…and this from a guy who deals with criminals every day and wouldn’t trust them farther than he can throw them.

  6. Tuco October 28, 2009 at 6:31 am #

    I am a South Buffalo resident, and am fully aware there are multiple halfway houses, etc. in close proximity. However, it’s not like they have huge neon signs that say “HALFWAY HOUSE” or “EX-CONS HERE” on the properties…they are woven into a rather densely populated neighborhood and are pretty much anonymous.
    Giving up your faith because of this? The author of that letter should be ashamed. I am not very religious, but admire REAL Christians like the late Johnny Cash, and Bono.Their compassion and forgiveness towards all who get left behind by society (including ex-criminals trying to right their ways) is very admirable.

  7. Brian Castner October 28, 2009 at 7:22 am #

    Ethan – you could be a total dick, and you may be right, but don’t forget which party I belong to either.

  8. Ethan October 28, 2009 at 10:09 am #

    I know! It’s shocking to me that you remain in the party that often gives shelter and comfort to such attitudes. You actually seem to possess an ounce (at least!) of empathy, and that’s not very characteristic of your compatriots, sadly.

  9. Brian Castner October 28, 2009 at 11:28 am #

    I guess we all have a choice to make. If you are willing to join a group that represents 1/3 of the country, you aren’t going to like every member of the group. That includes leaders and representatives. Its whether you agree with the core principles, in a big picture, not any one wingnut or the fringe that considers itself mainstream. If the R party had a platform of racial discimination, or hating ex-cons, I wouldn’t be a member very long. As it is, the core principle is that government runs social services badly (in general) and the private non-profit sector does a much better job. So if the general human idea that people deserve a second chance isn’t enough, then a non-profit halfway house, with Catholic Charities and government funding sounds like a good idea to me.

    The other option is to join no party – I know you aren’t really a Dem either. That gives you to the intellectual freedom to denounce everyone if you want, but its also harder to tackle big problems individually. If you want to be a part of that, you end up joining some kind of group, partisan or not.

  10. Dan October 28, 2009 at 11:36 am #

    Yeah, South Buffalo is just CRAWLING with Republicans. They hold their meetings in a phone booth. Anyone want to make a wager as to what party the writer REALLY belongs to? Maybe the same party as the legislator that wants to be selective with her volunteers, the party of the Senior Senator who is a “former” Grand Kleagle of the Klan.

  11. Ethan October 28, 2009 at 12:37 pm #

    The Republicans represent 1/3 of the country? That’s news to me…
    I share The Founders’ general distain for parties, it’s true; I prefer movements. Quoth David Sirota:

    The difference between parties and movements is simple: Parties are loyal to their own power regardless of policy agenda; movements are loyal to their own policy agenda regardless of which party champions it. This is one of the few enduring political axioms, and it explains why the organizations purporting to lead an American progressive “movement” have yet to build a real movement, much less a successful one.

    It’s as true of a movement as of a party, though, that you don’t get to choose the company you keep.

  12. Brian Castner October 28, 2009 at 1:36 pm #

    It waxes and wanes. The Dems and R’s both go from 25% to 40% over the years. We’re at a high Dem and Ind point now, and low R, but it’ll reverse. It always does.

    I like your quote and the insight, but I find it so naive. It takes power to implement a policy agenda, of course. His grassroots nation sounds great, but 100 senators still need to take a vote, and they are 99% part of political parties. We don’t get 70-30 votes in the Senate anymore with split party affiliation. Its party line, all the time, except for 95-4 votes on pork. The problem isn’t movement versus party, its competent governance vs incompetent. Dems promise their base and don’t deliver. Then they lose for 10 years. R’s promise their base, and do deliver. Then they’re voted out by Dems and Ind who didn’t like what got delivered. But at least the R’s did what they promised.

  13. Ethan October 29, 2009 at 9:20 am #

    Oh, I think that the Dems deliver just fine, if what you want is corporatocracy, but you’re right that Republicans do it better.

    Naive? I disagree, of course: I certainly am aware of how things are working. I think there are more corrosive forces on our gvt right now than simply partisanship, but I do think it’s one of the factors that are serving us poorly right now.

  14. Brian Castner October 29, 2009 at 9:45 am #

    Then, terrifyingly, we agree again.

  15. Ethan October 29, 2009 at 3:58 pm #

    Well, that’s appropriate: it is the season of Samhain after all: Boo!

Contribute To The Conversation

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: