Letters to the editor – June 21st, 2017

Published 8:35 pm Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Congressional security

Editor, Smithfield Times
In the shadow of a shooter, there are always discussions you can be sure will soon follow.

There’s the inevitable politicization— the shooter’s motive, the gun that was used, the circumstances of its procurement; the call for unity — which is widely called for and narrowly followed — though I do believe that we will see substantial change of the attitude of the national dialogue in the next few weeks. And there is the security response — heightened measures, “what would we, in the enlightened present day, do if we could go to the moments and hours before terror struck our lives?”

In the aftermath of the June 14 shooting in Arlington, Va., at the GOP baseball practice all three of these elements are already being discussed, as they should be. But I want to talk about the final one, security response. I have seen several sources talking of how we can secure Congress better, as we obviously must. But I write not simply to encourage the obvious, but also to warn of its consequence if carried too far. In securing our representatives, we must be careful to remember that the historic ability of a congressman to walk the streets of his district and organically interact with his constituents is an important American tradition. I remember years ago, I lived in North Carolina and while at a city festival, I ran into my congressman and spoke with him for a few moments. That connection makes them real to us, but more importantly makes us real to them.

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Congress is already drawn away from what life is like outside the Beltway; smothering them with security will not help them with that. In fact, it is only reasonable to infer that the more burdensome it is to go home to their district, the less of them we will see.

One of the founding premises of our nation is that these men and women that represent us are not central, inaccessible oligarchs. They are elected. They are chosen by us, and they must come home and be responsible to us for the things that they do and say. Ensuring that traditional function is an important consideration when we as a nation discuss and debate how to make sure that these well-loved men and women we send to Washington are well protected.

Max Shafer

Praise for bus drivers

Editor, Smithfield Times
I wonder if parents have ever given much thought as to how their children arrive at school, remembering that their children are their precious treasures and that every day they become the treasures of the school bus drivers. The people responsible are our Isle of Wight school bus drivers. These drivers are highly dedicated personnel who drive our back country roads. They are constantly watching the roads and children seated behind them for safety’s sake.

Many parents do not realize that their children can be disruptive as they ride the school bus. Most of our buses carry about 40 children who can be rowdy, arguing, yelling, fighting and yes, even swearing at each other. It is the difficult and hazardous job of the school bus driver to tell the children over and over again to behave themselves, sit down and stay in their seats at the same time as operating the school bus safely.

A school bus driver not only drives safely for the sake of the children, but has to watch out for large farm equipment, tractor trailers, animals such as deer and crazy drivers who are in a great hurry to pass the school bus. Oh, and do not forget that they drive in all the bad weather too, except when school closes due to ice and snow.

Our school bus drivers are the most underappreciated personnel in the whole of Isle of Wight County. They are underpaid and when our School Board members elect to give the teachers a 2 to 7.2 percent raise, I ask that they please remember to stand up for our school bus drivers who could also do with a salary boost. They are just as important as the teachers.

Anita Marie Garcia

An amazing community

Editor, Smithfield Times
What an amazing community we live in! Isle of Wight Volunteer Rescue Squad Auxiliary completed our very successful Annual Bucket Fund Drive last month. Thank you to the Cock-Eyed Rooster and Farm Fresh for their kind hospitality in allowing us use of their store front. Thank you to our generous community supporters! A heartfelt thank you to each member of Isle of Wight Volunteer Rescue Squad that serve the residents of the Town of Smithfield and the County of Isle of Wight.

Cathy Berry