Gun Rights v. Resolving Major Poverty Issues: Questionable Priorities of SC Legislators: 04/08/13

Writer’s Workshop of Sullivan County

Questionable Priorities of SC legislators:

Pull the trigger on Sullivan County’s poverty with same indignation as protecting its citizen’s gun rights

by Ruby Pixman


In a rare show of solidarity, the Sullivan County Legislature recently voted unanimously for the repeal of the new restrictive gun law enacted in Albany after the Newtown Connecticut school massacre known as the SAFE Act. 


Although the Legislature’s vote had no legal state standing, it was a political home run for the legislators, drawing much praise from local residents, particularly the vocal hundred or two that rallied in front of the county office building before the legislature’s vote.


Yet despite the spirited outpouring of support to overturn the SAFE Act, the county’s most dire problems remain.


In a recent report from the respected Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, Sullivan County was again named the second worst in the state when it comes to its ability to deliver vital health services.  Hunger and homelessness are also high on the problem list in this largely impoverished county.


Wouldn’t it be nice if they got together, for a change, to start finally acting to resolve these issues too?


County office-holders have long held that they are inhibited from providing smart, innovative services to address the health, hunger, and homelessness issues, largely due to budget constraints from state mandates that force the county to provide particular Medicaid and welfare entitlements that are targeted for the needy.  This has left little discretionary spending within the county budget, officials say.


Yet, do you really think that if the county were freed from its present mandates, the terrible circumstances of the neediest of county residents would be addressed at all?


Speaking of jobs, the lack of them continues to be the number one issue across the nation, New York State and Sullivan County.  For, without jobs, respective governments can’t collect the revenues needed to fulfill their obligations to their related communities.


Would county officials be willing to provide the barely adequate funds, or would they rather back proposals that give aid and comfort to various favored private enterprises in the hopes that they would produce jobs?


The same conservative dogma that lead to that unanimous vote to repeal the SAFE Act has in fact prevented Sullivan County government from living up to its responsibilities to resolve the local hunger, homelessness, health, and unemployment issues.


In other words, screw the poor in Sullivan County.


Just like government should not interfere with its citizen’s gun rights, in terms of vital social services, conservatives argue the answer to our problems would be solved by the free market place and through fiscal austerity.


In other words, the government should do close to nothing. Let those impoverished people fend for themselves and instead get rid of those pesky taxes and regulations that have prevented the private sector from growing.


Back in Sullivan County, the legislature was able to organize a pro-gun rally and stand up symbolically to those evil politicians in Albany who want to take away peoples’ guns.


Yes, the county legislature proved its meddle by organizing around claimed state tyranny in regard to the 2nd Amendment, but so far, joblessness, hunger, homelessness, and poor health conditions remain.


After decades of callous disregard, now’s the time for the County Legislature to finally attack joblessness, homelessness, hunger, and poverty with the same fervor as those involving gun ownership.



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