The Times West Virginian


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.

Text Only
  • COLUMN: Freedom of Information — if you can pay

    Several years ago, I made a Freedom of Information request to a local government agency. Within the five business days, as required by law, a packet of information was delivered to the office. I expected a bill, as most government offices have a charge that ranges from 25 cents to $1.25 per page for copies of the documents we request.

    April 20, 2014

  • The reassuring spirit of Easter: One of new hope and beginnings

    During the sub-zero and snow-filled months of winter, we maintained a spirit of hope that spring was on the way. It has now become a reality as all nature stretches and yawns and awakens once more to a new beginning. The fragrance of spring awakens our waiting nostrils, the budding beauty of new life brightens our eyes, and the reassuring idea of renewal stimulates our minds.

    April 20, 2014

  • 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

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