Letters to the editor

Flawed history

On Dec. 7, I read the article "Residents remember Pearl Harbor" by Jay Meisel. The article is very interesting to me as I wasn't born until March 28, 1942, almost four months after the Japanese attacked. In 1944 my father was drafted into the Navy and served on the small aircraft carrier U.S.S. Monterey (CVL-26).

But there are two statements in Mr. Meisel's article I am sure that are incorrect. First item is, "When Henry Martin's wife woke up the morning of December 7, 1941, she turned on the television and told her husband that, 'The Japanese are bombing Pearl Harbor.'" The second incorrect item is, Wanda Frutchey recalled that she was doing laundry at her residence in Michigan on December 7, 1942. "It was kind of shocking" she said. Frutchey added she kept watching the news. "People didn't expect the attack," Frutchey added.

I would like to point out that television had been invented, but in 1941 it was only broadcast in scientific laboratories, so Martin could not have turned on the television and Frutchey could not have watched the news. Both of these women were listening to the radio.

I remember my mother talking about how she and my father found out about the attack. They were having Sunday dinner with friends in Runnemede, a small south New Jersey town a few miles southeast of Philadelphia and they heard Lowell Thomas announce the attack on the radio. It was about 1 p.m. on the east coast.

I would encourage Jay Meisel to go to the library and get a couple of books on the "History of Inventions of the Twentieth Century" and perhaps even "American History." Young people and today's "millennials," (why we need these stupid labels is beyond me) have never been properly taught the real history of the United States of America. Reading these books may be helpful in writing future articles for Highlands Today.

Robert G. Hedenberg Jr.


Traffic accidents

I take great exception to the focus of this article on Sunday's front page "Danger Zones" on Dec. 8.

It starts off with a tedious review of statistics, implying that the time or place are primary factors in deadly crashes. Has any analysis been done to see if the clusters are exactly what you would expect given traffic volumes at these times and places, that is, maybe they correlate with traffic count and not the time and place so much? As you probably know, one needs to be careful drawing conclusions from small data sets anyway. Random variation is too much a factor.

More infuriating is the fact that driver causes were buried deep in the article and there wasn't even a mention of cell phone talking and texting, and other distractions the lazy driver indulges in. A little real life insight from the law enforcement people on the road would have been good.

Reader L. Kay Henderson nailed it. Most causes come under the heading of not paying attention because of willful distraction. These distractions raise substantially the probability of a serious crash. We persist in calling them "accidents" even though they are predictably caused by poor drivers for the most part. If a driver kills someone while on the phone or texting or while speeding or both, it might make him or her feel more comfortable to call it an accident. But should we enable this kind of thinking by discussing traffic deaths as being the result of statistical factors beyond the driver's control?

Forrest Steele

Lake Placid