The Times West Virginian


December 16, 2012

Today is day to mourn loss of life, show love following tragedy

Words cannot truly describe the grief this nation is going through right now.

We may not know the families of those who were killed in a gunman’s rampage in Newton, ­Conn. We may never have even been to ­Connecticut or be able to point out the small town of Newton on a map.

But our hearts broke Friday morning when reports that a 20-year-old walked into an elementary school building and killed 20 children between the ages of 5-10 as well as eight adults that day, including himself.

We may never know the reasons the man law enforcement officials are identifying as Adam Lanza killed his own mother and then walked into Sandy Hook Elementary School with two handguns and started shooting.

But still we grieve.

All of the sudden, things like the impending “fiscal cliff,” the box office totals for “The Hobbit” and the “War on Christmas” didn’t matter. We saw the pictures of horrified and crying school children being walked to safety by uniformed officers. We heard the reports of teachers who hid children in closets during the rampage and begged them to be quiet to avoid gaining the attention of the madman. We read stories about young, innocent children who described the more than 100 rounds of ammunition fired like “cans falling.”

When you send your child out the door to catch the school bus, handing them the math book they forgot on the dining room table and reminding them to wear their mittens, you believe that they’ll be safe in the hallways and classrooms of their school for the next eight hours. We should be able to, at least.

We should be able to feel safe walking around the campus of a university, like Virginia Tech.

We should be able to feel safe watching a midnight showing of a long-anticipated movie.

But each horrific act committed by deranged souls robs us of that feeling of safety.

In the hours after the Sandy Hook Elementary shooting, virtual candles were lit on social media sites from all over the world. But there were also barbs thrown from both political sides about how stricter gun-control laws could have prevented the deaths of these innocent souls and how the elimination of God and prayer within the public school system has allowed in evil.

Today is not the day to use the tragedy that happened in Newton, ­Conn., as a point in a political argument. Today is the day to mourn the loss of life.

Today is the day we pray for families with presents wrapped under their Christmas trees that will never be opened. Today is the day that we keep a shattered community in our hearts and minds.

Today is the day that we hold our children and grandchildren a little closer and hug them a little tighter.

Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.” — Matthew 19:14

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  • Unsung heroes handling calls in emergencies are appreciated

    Thankfully, we live in a community where help is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, just by dialing three numbers — 9-1-1.
    During this week, which is recognized as National Public Safety Tele-Communicator’s Week nationwide, we need to remember that on the other end of that line are the men and women here in this county who are always there in case of accident, crimes, medical emergencies and any other catastrophic event.

    April 18, 2014

  • Message to ‘buckle up and park the phone’ is saving lives

    A figure that we haven’t seen that much in recent years is the highway death toll for a given period.
    Is the death toll up, down or just about the same as it was?
    The West Virginia Southern Regional Highway Safety Program has announced there were 325 highway fatalities in 2013, the second-lowest number on record.

    April 17, 2014

  • State native Burwell can ‘deliver results’ as Health and Human Services secretary

    Sylvia Mathews Burwell might not be a name with which most people are immediately familiar.
    For the past year, she has run the budget office under President Barack Obama.
    Prior to that, she served as president of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation’s Global Development Program and later the Wal-Mart Foundation.

    April 16, 2014

  • Marion scores well in recent health report but could do better

    When it comes to area-wide studies, especially on health, there’s usually good news and bad news.
    So was the recent report on the health of America’s counties released by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation recently. The nationwide county study evaluated health outcomes and health factors, and ranked counties accordingly.

    April 13, 2014

  • COLUMN: ‘Instant’ news not always reliable

    That little word has a pretty big meaning. With origins that date back to the 15th century, it means urgent, current, immediate.
    But think about how that word has developed over the past few decades.
    Instant pudding. Instead of slaving over a hot stove for a few minutes, you can now pour cold milk and with a bit of stirring, instant pudding!

    April 13, 2014

  • Decision to be an organ donor can save lives

    Chelsea Clair watched as her father died waiting for a bone marrow transplant.
    So when she met Kyle Froelich at a car show in 2009 and heard about his struggles to find a kidney that would match his unique needs, she never hesitated to offer hers to the man she just met.

    April 11, 2014

  • Volunteers continue to have priceless impact on community

    Chances are, you know someone who volunteers. Perhaps you’re a volunteer yourself.
    Marion County is full of volunteers.
    They read to our youth.
    They assist nonprofit agencies.
    They serve on boards and committees.
    And in 2013, they spent a day picking up nearly 10 tons of garbage that had been tossed out on public property around Marion County.

    April 10, 2014

  • Proposed school calendar lives up to letter and spirit of law

    West Virginia state law requires that students be in a classroom for 180 days.

    April 9, 2014

  • Strong Fairmont General Hospital badly needed to serve our region

    Mere minutes often matter when it comes to emergency health care.
    That’s why we need a strong Fairmont General Hospital.
    When patients need the services of health-care professionals, having family and friends close at hand is often essential, and their presence may even lead to a better outcome.

    April 6, 2014

  • COLUMN: Fairmont General Hospital vital part of community

    There’s nothing better than holding a newborn baby. It gives you a little feeling that not only is everything right in the world, but this perfect little human represents hope of a future where things will be better than they are today.
    I had that blessed opportunity to hold that hopeful future in my arms last week when I visited my dear friend Jen and her newborn son Tristan at Fairmont General Hospital.

    April 6, 2014

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