Before taking off that helmet ...

Ah, the back roads of Nebraska, cruising along on your Harley, wind blowing through your hair. Being able to breathe deeply and capture all of the aroma of that pig farm or feedlot passing by. Not to mention the fun of picking mosquitoes out of your teeth or that near-death experience of having a June bug hit your adam’s apple at 60 mph. Who are we to deprive our fellow Nebraskans of what can only be described as their God-given right (“Helmets save lives, money,” Feb 21 World-Herald editorial)?

I’m sure that these free-wheeling, liberty-loving folks wouldn’t mind abiding by just a couple of minor requirements because they would never want to be a burden on the rest of their neighbors for the consequences of their poor choices. Nor would they want to in any way contribute to the out-of-control government spending that would result from paying for their uninsured, lifelong care from traumatic brain injury.

So here’s the deal. You can ride your motorcycle or moped without a helmet as long as you maintain these three documents:

» Evidence of medical insurance, including long-term care.

» An organ donor card.

» An advanced directive instructing that no heroic means should be used to sustain your life.

Bill Cary, Omaha

No justice for Sarah Root

The failing of Deputy Douglas County Attorney David Wear is epic (“Several failures allowed Mejia to vanish,” Feb. 20 World-Herald). His job at the Eswin Mejia bond hearing was to report to the judge the risk history of Mejia so the bond amount would keep Mejia in custody until trial.

He didn’t. The judge bypassed the standard request from the prosecutor. Instead of speaking out to the judge and getting the history information before him, Wear remained silent.

The only worse performer in this debacle was Douglas County Judge Jeff Marcuzzo. He allocated just two minutes to a bond hearing for an illegal immigrant whose alleged conduct killed the innocent Sarah Root. Marcuzzo set a $5,000 cash requirement that allowed Mejia to go free and likely leave the country. He didn’t even ask one question to prosecutor Wear to inform himself of the facts. Marcuzzo should resign.

The family of Sarah Root deserved justice for Sarah. They didn’t get it.

Dan Malone, Omaha

Needed action against hazing

One bill that Nebraska lawmakers will be considering this session is Legislative Bill 710, a bill that would allow prosecutors to file hazing charges against students in grades as low as middle school (“Reduced age limit sought for hazing charges,” Feb. 5 World-Herald).

Hazing is defined as an activity that physically or mentally endangers another person for the purpose of membership or initiation in a group. Offenders could face sanctions of up to $10,000 (fines would not be applicable to school districts). LB 710 was advanced by unanimous vote.

Ask any parent with a high school student who has been hazed. I imagine the parent wants the responsible parties to face consequences. However, how many high school parents are aware of this bill and how the bill could affect all teens?

It is our duty as citizens, Nebraskans and parents to be informed. Do your research. Find your senator and tell him or her to support LB 710.

Kelly Gomez, Omaha

Healthy tax increase

I have been in the public health field for almost 50 years. A lot has happened regarding tobacco issues in that time.

I remember when there was almost no place you could go where people weren’t smoking. As the science mounted about the health hazards of smoking and secondhand smoke, policies and laws were changed to protect the public’s health. The tobacco industry tried to cast doubt on that science even though internal documents revealed that they knew that their product was harmful.

Now we are faced with a major public health breakthrough, Legislative Bill 1013. This bill would tax tobacco closer to the health and financial burdens that it creates. It would enable health departments to assist the 80 percent of smokers who say they want to quit. It would help to fund research and decrease the number of young people who take up smoking.

LB 1013 won’t solve all of the public health problems associated with tobacco use, but it would certainly set us on the right course.

David E. Corbin, Omaha

Clean Power Plan helps producers

Nebraska Chamber of Commerce & Industry President Barry L. Kennedy declares that the Clean Power Plan is “the biggest regulatory threat facing Nebraska’s economy” (“EPAs Clean Power Plan is trouble for Nebraskans,” Feb. 19 World-Herald).

I would counter that the Clean Power Plan provides maximum flexibility to states in reaching their carbon reduction goals and, contrary to Kennedy’s assertion, does not target natural-gas fired plants. Rather, it encourages a transition from coal to natural gas and other low-emitting sources.

The Omaha Public Power District has already taken steps to close or transition coal plants in north Omaha. Lincoln Electric System has added much more wind and solar to its power portfolio. And Nebraska Public Power District has added wind power and will be developing hydrogen power for one plant.

All of these steps will put Nebraska well on the way to compliance with the Clean Power Plan regulation, and there has been no corresponding “skyrocket” in electricity rates. The additional focus of the plan on energy efficiency, incentives for low-income weatherization and renewable energy production are all job-creating measures which are good for Nebraska’s economy, not a threat as Kennedy would have us believe.

Janece Mollhoff, Ashland, Neb.

Wise to reject immature bill

Voting down the proposed bill to permit 18-year-olds to hold elected and appointed office in Nebraska may be the single most significant action of this session (“Older set ensures teens can’t hold office,” Feb. 19 World-Herald).

State Sen. Tyson Larson of O’Neill, the sponsor of the bill, appears to be little more than an adolescent himself, based on his legislative actions.

The World-Herald reported the vote as the “elders” against the youth in the Legislature. Instead, I’d submit it was a triumph of reason over stupidity. Larson’s proposal in itself exposes the foolishness of handing over the reins of government and justice to inexperienced and naive individuals.

Karl S. Roth, Omaha

Equal treatment?

Regarding the Feb. 18 World-Herald article, “Bank to woman: Remove hijab or you can’t enter,” would the employees at Security National Bank in Omaha have treated Catholic nuns with their habits in the same way they treated the Muslim woman wearing a hijab?

Thomas Abboud, Papillion

Apple right to not trust FBI

So Apple won’t give the FBI the assistance it wants to disable the iPhone feature that erases data after 10 incorrect password attempts (“San Bernardino victims join push for Apple to hack phone,” Feb. 23 World-Herald). Good.

The FBI will not turn the phone over to Apple so it can try to access the data but insists that Apple create and turn over to the FBI the means to disable the feature.

Once the FBI has this technology, what assurance other than its word do we have that it will not be used in other cases? How do we know that the information will not be passed on to other agencies where conceivably someone could pass it on to Iran, China, North Korea and others would have access?

Bill Holling, Omaha

Tale of two presidents

In response to the Feb. 18 Public Pulse letter from Kim Johnston (“Don’t compare Obama and Reagan,”) the United States, once upon a time, had a president who increased government spending, raised taxes, drove up the deficit, withdrew troops from a combat zone after we got punched in the mouth and sold weapons to a hostile nation in exchange for getting Americans home (and the money for the weapons were then illegally diverted to a third party).

Lest there be any misunderstanding, I am describing President Ronald Reagan, not President Barack Obama.

And while there are valid criticisms of President Obama, there is no stipulation in the Constitution that denies the president the opportunity to nominate someone to the Supreme Court in the last year of that person’s presidency simply because some hold an unfavorable view of said president.

Brent Orme, Norton, Kansas

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