How well do we remember the world as it was before 9/11?
Do we remember what airline security was like? Life before the Patriot Act? What was the school environment like before school shooting at Columbine and Sandy Hook?
What about the bombing that killed three and injured 200 bystanders at last month’s Boston Marathon? How will it change the way we do things? How will the way we feel change?
“The vast majority of people recover quite well in a matter of weeks and months, even from direct exposures,” Terence M. Keane, a professor of psychiatry at Boston University told the college publication BU Today. “Even if somebody was down at the finish line and even if they’re very shaken by the experiences, they are likely to recover in a relatively short period of time. The trajectory for most people is recovery and return to normalcy.”
But is it a “new” normal? After every attack — shooting at movie theaters, shootings at elementary schools, bombings at highly public events — we change a little. We trust a little less. Security beefs up. Laws change.
And something that may not get much attention before the events suddenly gets everyone’s attention.
In Marion County, following December’s shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut, some things said on Facebook disrupted classes at a local high school. Officials were quick to move to determine the credibility and threat level of a post, but it seemed to spiral out of control before it was resolved, especially on social media. And just this month, there was information from a juvenile put out on social media, which was determined to be a credible threat of harm to himself or others. Several schools in Marion County, including Fairmont State University and Pierpont Community & Technical College, were affected, as well as schools in Harrison County. The heightened security immediately caused a frenzy online of rumors and speculation, fear and panic, half truths and misinformation. The situation was resolved, with the boy being taken into custody after several hours with no incident.
But we were all affected, gripped by fear. And watching news feeds and posts did nothing more than add fuel to that fire. It begs the question, “Do you feel like we as a society overreact in the aftermath of mass shootings and bombings?” Do we fear we’ll be the next small town that makes national news in the wake of tragedy?
We asked our readers to respond to that question on our online poll question last week, which is found at www.timeswv.com. And here’s what you had to say:
• We cannot let our guard down and should learn from gaps in security — 30.12 percent.
• Each act of violence and our reaction chips away at civil liberties and lets the terrorists win — 31.33 percent.
• We should react to credible threats, but what’s been happening lately is a frenzy fed by social media — 38.55 percent.
We should reflect a little about how we respond, what we post online and how we can make sure that keeping safe doesn’t have to mean living in panic.
This week, let’s talk about a recent study that shows West Virginia is in part of an area with an abnormally high number of fatalities from traffic accidents. How should we fix that?
Log on. Vote. Email me or respond online.
How well do we remember the world as it was before 9/11?
Coal industry can’t afford to give this administration and EPA more ammunition
Coal already has a bad name in Washington, D.C.
The whole industry got another black eye this week when Alpha Natural Resources Inc., one of the country’s largest coal producers, agreed to pay a $27.5 million fine and invest $200 million to reduce illegal water pollution in five states, including West Virginia.
Being observant, reporting suspicions can make difference for hurting children
If a child is hurting, we wouldn’t hesitate to help.
Or would we?
In a five-year span, 22,830 children were victims of some type of neglect or abuse in West Virginia. That’s an overwhelming number to think about.
Gee makes major impact and earns another term as WVU president
Let’s imagine that a graduate from West Virginia University in the early 1980s, when E. Gordon Gee was president, came back to get an extra degree now and couldn’t believe that E. Gordon Gee is “still” the president of WVU.
Effort to encourage purchase of goods produced in U.S. deserves support
The concept of encouraging the purchase of American-made products is certainly not new.
On the federal level, the Buy American Act was passed in 1933 by Congress and signed by President Herbert Hoover. It required the United States government to prefer U.S.-made products in its purchases.
‘Stop Meth, Not Meds’ backed by readers
In West Virginia, there is something referred to as “stop-sale technology” that prevents a person from going to more than one pharmacy to purchase over-the-counter medication that contains the active ingredient pseudoephedrine, a nasal decongestant.
It’s not an issue of stuffy noses that lawmakers were worried about when they created the system.
Even small steps play part in critical mission to reduce childhood obesity
Just two years ago, more than one-third of children and adolescents were overweight or obese, meaning they had excess body weight based on their height.
It’s a troubling statistic, and one that health officials have worked diligently to reverse.
Cutting-edge heart procedure at Mon General is saving lives
“I used to think I wouldn’t live to be 50. Well, I made it to 50 and then some,” Pearl Walls said.
Walls is likely alive today and able to tell her story to the Times West Virginian because of a cutting-edge procedure performed at Monongalia General Hospital — a Transcatheter Aortic Valve Replacement (TAVR), which was only approved for use by the FDA in 2011.
Celebrate Dr. Seuss’ many works, magic words
You know his words.
You know them well.
Funds donated to United Way make community healthier, happier, safer place
A dollar you give to the United Way of Marion County could feed a hungry family.
That dollar could protect a woman and her children from an abuser.
Or the dollar could mean that a family receives credit counseling to lift them out of overwhelming debt.
It could fund Scouting programs, where boys and girls learn lifelong lessons.
Project Launchpad puts critical concept of diversifying state economy into play
The case for diversifying the state of West Virginia’s economy is past the point of debate.
While it is our hope that coal can continue to have a role in our nation’s power-generating matrix, we’ve learned our lesson about over-dependence on a single industry. Particularly being overly dependent on an industry that, in the eyes of federal regulators, is out of fashion.
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- Coal industry can’t afford to give this administration and EPA more ammunition