The Times West Virginian

Opinion

December 21, 2012

For once, can’t unspeakable tragedy bring out our best?

They said today would be the end of the world. Maybe the Earth won’t stop spinning, but it’s the end of the world as we know it.

Why? Because a week ago, a madman killed his mother and then broke into an elementary school and shot and killed six teachers and administrators and 20 children.

Fourteen years ago, the word “Columbine” would make people think of the beautiful flower with vibrant pedals in pinks, purples and yellows. But today, we associate that word with a mass shooting in Colorado blamed on video game violence.

Twelve years ago, the World Trade Center was something we all saw in the backdrop of movies and television shows. But with its collapse because of terrorist actions, new and stricter security measures were created for everything from water systems to airport luggage.

And a week ago, who even knew where Newtown, Conn., was located on a map or how to even pronounce it? Now we all live with the horror that someone could aim an assault rifle at a kindergartener and pull a trigger. And the world that we once knew is gone.

How will it change for the better? Will gun legislation change? Will there be more support for families of mental health patients? Will school safety increase?

We don’t know yet, but we know how this event has changed us.

There is fear. Many parents expressed fear in sending their children to school Monday morning. And many parents just didn’t send them at all.

And there is panic. Facebook posts from students across the state have been monitored and taken seriously. Schools have been locked down because of threats or perceived threats.

With every horrible event that occurs, there are always those who will take advantage of it. Do you remember the repeated bomb threats at schools and businesses following the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11? Do you remember the hoaxes following the postal anthrax scare?

Hoaxes such as these are a disgrace to the memory of the 27 innocent lives taken on Friday, not something to laugh about on social media newsfeeds or to make light of between friends.

For once, we wish a tragedy would bring out the best in our youth. For once, we wish instead of giving into the fear and panic or even exploiting the fear and panic, something positive could come of the lives lost and the families broken. Vow to set aside 27 minutes each day to do something kind for someone. Volunteer 27 hours to a mental health facility. Adopt 20 angels from the Salvation Army Tree.

Make 27 paper snowflakes and send them to Connecticut PTSA, which is trying to make it a little easier for the children of Sandy Hook Elementary school to come back on Jan. 13. Snowflakes can be sent to Connecticut PTSA, 60 Connolly Parkway, Building 12, Suite 103, Hamden, CT 06514.

Anything but creating more fear or more to feel panic about.

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Opinion
  • Vehicles and motorcycles must share the road safely

    The days are long. The weather is superb. There’s plenty of leisure time in these lazy days of summer.
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    It’s also the perfect opportunity for us to take the time to remind not only riders but drivers of the need to share the road. And we feel compelled to mention it because just within the month of July, there have been two motorcycle-versus-car accidents within the City of Fairmont alone — one with severe injuries sustained by the motorcyclist and the other with less serious injury.

    July 23, 2014

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    Today marks the day that police agencies from six states are joining forces to crack down on one thing — distracted driving.
    And they will focus on that traffic violation for a solid week, with the stepped-up effort to curb distracted driving wrapping up on Saturday, July 26.

    July 20, 2014

  • COLUMN: Are we people watchers or people judgers?

    Let me tell you about my little friend Robby. Well, actually, it’s more about his family and especially his mom. I didn’t get her name. I heard Robby’s name quite a bit, though, during a trip home from Birmingham, Alabama.
    I noticed the family in the Birmingham airport immediately. They were just the kind of family you’d notice.

    July 20, 2014

  • Relish the rich bounty of state’s diverse, unique food traditions

    This week, a group of federal officials on a three-day culinary tour of the state visited the Greenbrier Valley to find out what most of us here already know — we have a rich food tradition in West Virginia.
    The group was made up of officials from the Appalachian Regional Commission, the Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

    July 18, 2014

  • Soup Opera in need of your support again this time of year

    It’s happening again.
    It usually always happens about this time each year. Sometimes it’s a little earlier and sometimes a little later.
    But Soup Opera executive director Shelia Tennant knows it will come — usually in July. And she’s never that surprised about it.

    July 17, 2014

  • County honors men who gave all in helping their community

    The next time you’re driving in the Rivesville area, you might notice new signs on two of the area’s bridges.
    Those signs, which bear the names of Alex Angelino and Denzil O. Lockard, were unveiled Saturday in honor of the men whose names they display, two men who died while serving their communities.
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    July 16, 2014

  • State must learn to keep costs down and perform more efficiently on less

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    July 15, 2014

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    The United States should be proud of the vision its leaders once displayed to address the country’s transportation needs.
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    July 13, 2014

  • COLUMN: Who would leave animal in sweltering car?

    I was standing and debating between two brands of a product in a big box store when I heard a call over the intercom:
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    I shook my head. I hate seeing dogs in cars waiting while their owners shop. About five minutes later, there was another announcement over the intercom.

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