Letters to the editor – July 12th, 2017

Published 5:59 pm Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Horrified at shooting

Editor, Smithfield Times
I am horrified to learn that a pistol “accidentally fired” at the Farmers Market last Saturday (July 1). Nobody — nobody — except a policeman in uniform, should be carrying a handgun or any other kind of gun at the Farmers Market. People who go to our Farmers Market should not have to worry they might be shot.

The person who loaded his handgun in the market was reckless, irresponsible, and displayed a callous disregard for human life. Guns of all kinds should be banned at the Farmers Market and other public places.

I grew up on a farm in this area. My father and every other farmer had a gun. The gun was used for hunting animals, like squirrels and rabbits, that we ate. Farmers also used guns to control groundhogs that got into the garden and foxes that got into the chicken house.

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Neither my father nor any other farmer would have thought of walking around town with a gun. People need to be assured that our Farmers Market is a gun-free zone. Last Saturday’s “accident” could have resulted in a tragedy. Such tragedies happen all too often in our country.

Mary Batten Bland

Hopes story will help

Editor, Smithfield Times
Thanks for the July 5 front-page article concerning stopping (and remaining stopped) for the red arrow lights at the Benn’s Church intersection. As a result of your article maybe I’ll experience less horn blowing and middle finger waving when I do stop for the red arrows in accordance with the law!

I’ve also contacted VDOT via the public access line requesting a “no turn on red” sign like the one at the intersection of Jefferson Ave. and Mercury Blvd. in Newport News. Response from the VDOT Spokesperson was that my request would be turned over to Traffic Engineering for review. Seems like a simple solution to me, since the purpose of the light is safety and if a simple, inexpensive sign saves a life, then it’s certainly well worth it. Thanks again.

Larry West

Bike trail to nowhere?

Editor, Smithfield Times
I has been a while since the bike trail issue surfaced, and I had hopes that better minds would prevail in prioritizing the use of tax dollars. It is well known that Isle of Wight county is one of the most heavily indebted counties in Virginia. Do the Town Council and county supervisors have money trees hidden somewhere? What percentage of the Isle of Wight population do they expect will use this trail? Do they expect families going to Nike Park will abandon their cars and opt to take their bikes? Is the trail expected to be a big tourist attraction? Finally, if I may borrow from Sarah Palin, we just don’t need a bike trail to nowhere.

Willamena Thomas

An act Of kindness

Editor, Smithfield Times
Recently, on July 3, at O’Reilly’s Auto Parts in Smithfield, I lost my money clip wit my cash, credit cards, ID and more. After returning to the store and realizing it was gone for sure, the sadness I experienced was due to the sentimental value of my money clip alone. The cards can be cancelled and replaced along with the money.

Several days later, a pleasant yet unexpected surprise lifted my spirits. Someone found my money clip and returned it with cards, ID, and all intact. I am writing this note of gratitude to thank the anonymous individual who returned my lost items. Nowadays, there is so much attention placed on negativity while there is still so much good in our community. At least for today, may we celebrate the acts of kindness that occur every day.

With much gratitude and appreciation, I express thank you to the individual that extended kindness to me.

J.R. Leaman III

A complex history

Editor, Smithfield Times
I find troubling the recent decisions to remove Confederate monuments, especially the Charlottesville Robert E. Lee statue. In the interest of disclosure, I was born and raised in Michigan, and subsequently spent 24 years in the Navy. The military time gave me world exposure, cemented by love of country. I also was a Civil War re-enactor for 10 years in a southern unit, though in most of my battles I was “galvanized” as a Yankee. Finding enough Union soldiers in the South for a proper reenactment was always problematic.

Confederate monuments should be viewed through the lens of the 19th century in order to get a balanced perspective of what they represent. Robert E Lee resigned from the United States Army to join Virginia’s defense after Virginia voted for secession. At the time, Virginia and most other states were close to sovereign nations in function. In fact, John Brown was executed for treason against Virginia. This crime is not possible in the 21st century because the civil war radically changed the Union.

While the issue of slavery was certainly a root cause of the war, it was most certainly not the reason most southerners fought. Virginia was being invaded, and Virginians resisted, ultimately unsuccessfully as we all know. Monuments to Lee and other leaders who fought, bled and in some cases died defending their homes should remain where they are.

The American Civil War made this country what it is today, and it should be remembered who we were and how we got here. However, I also think that historians should consider each monument and the original reasons for its placement. There were post-war actions that intended to keep former slaves as second-class citizens, and monuments to those who perpetuated those efforts should certainly be removed from public property.

Robert E Lee was by all accounts a brave and honorable man who fought for the right as God gave him the wisdom to see it. He and other leaders of his kind should be studied rather than removed from public view. We can all learn lessons from their courage and fortitude.

Tom Grigsby

U.S. could have won

Editor, Smithfield Times
Syndicated columnist Charles Krauthammer recently proposed an hypothesis. He called it “The Krauthammer Conjecture.” In sports, the pleasure of winning is less than the pain of losing. Or, conversely, the pain of losing is greater than the pleasure of winning.

Although he relates it to sports, I think it also applies to war.

Had we persevered and “won” in Vietnam, the self-congratulations would have lasted until, after a while, another victory for American arms would have would have just become part of our proud national history — and perhaps even a welcome catharsis from the military stalemate in Korea a few years before. Instead, the heartbreaking defeat in Vietnam endures. It hurts even today during the 50th anniversary commemoration of that war. It is especially painful for us Vietnam veterans.

Hardly a month passes without some new TV military documentary about how brilliantly versatile the Huey helicopter was, how mercilessly effective the AC-47s, the F-4 Phantoms and the A-1 Skyraiders were, how deadly the 7.62 Mini-gun was, how professional and well-trained our soldiers were, how overwhelming the bomb tonnage delivered by our B-52s was, how our 16 inch battleship guns outmatched anything on land, how our super carriers launched thousands of combat sorties and how we bested the North Vietnamese Army on the battlefield virtually everywhere with our enemy-to-friendly “kill ratio” of 10 or 15 to one. And on and on and on.

But today it all means nothing. It was all for naught. The TV shows seem only to be bragging about what could have been, might have been. 60,000 brave Americans died for what? That is the true and abiding sadness of the US involvement in Vietnam.

Krauthammer also quotes Vince Lombardi: “Winning isn’t everything. It’s the only thing.” To which he adds his own conjecture — “yes, but losing is worse.”

I think Charles Krauthammer would agree that his sports “conjecture” applies also to national military endeavors. The excruciating pain of losing went to the very core of our national psyche and lives on in very many of us even to this day.

We could have won that war. We should have won that war.

Albert Burckard

Forgive and move forward

Editor, Smithfield Times
Every race has been enslaved since the beginning of time. I am certainly not a proponent of black slavery or any type of slavery. However, the issue about tearing down civil war relics simply demonstrates how divided this nation still stands. “Union” versus “Confederate” states may have included Lincoln’s desire to abolish slavery, but there were more pertinent objectives at stake.

The Civil War lasted four years —1861 to 1865. History illustrates there were free blacks represented in every 13 original southern states who owned, bought and sold black slaves. The first legal black slave owner was named Anthony Johnson. By 1830 13.7 percent of blacks were free people and 3,700 blacks owned slaves, totaling 13,000, well before the Civil War. If we are going to tear down every remnant of Civil War commemoratives, then shouldn’t we eliminate Black History month especially, when no other race has a month out of the year dedicated to their “cause?”

A little bit of research will demonstrate that from 711 to 1492, the Moors, who were black Semitic Arabs, Berbers, and Africans, enslaved white people from that time and well into the 1800s. In fact, by 1780, the Moors had 1.2 million white slaves. And, then in 1591, the Moors attacked the Songhai Empire for lust of gold and black slaves.

Slavery was abolished in America by various ethnic groups, including whites. This Nation now has written in its history that we had a black president for two terms. He certainly didn’t get elected by minorities only.

We, as a Nation, must put all this history behind us and stand united. The biggest atrocity this Country has committed is against God Almighty. The Christian faith increasingly is having all monumental statues obliterated. Our Christian Church is mostly segregated still today. Professing Christians should aim to forgive and move forward, setting an example for others.

Darlene Moskowicz

Thanks to supporters

Editor, Smithfield Times
The Xi Delta Psi Chapter of Beta Sigma Phi Sorority would like to thank those merchants who contributed gifts and gift cards to our Tree of Hope for Relay for Life. We were able to donate $1,800 to the American Cancer Society from the proceeds of our raffle.

A special thank you to the following businesses: Taste of Smithfield, Smithfield Flags, Victoria’s Rose, Wharf Hill Brewing Co., Cockeyed Rooster, True Value, Sew Personal, Smithfield Confectionary and Ice Cream Parlor, Finley’s General Store, When Pigs Fly, Farm Fresh, Pier Side Gallery and Gifts, Ringo’s Donuts ,Smithfield Little Theater, Q Daddy’s Pitmaster BBQ, Massage Luxe ,Anna’s Ristorante, Luter YMCA, Main Street Restaurant and Chick-fil-A. A thank you also to the Smithfield Farmer’s Market and S and B Tent Rentals for allowing us to use the Farmer’s Market for our ticket sales. The winner of our raffle was Nancy Greskowiak of Smithfield.

Brenda Saunders
Joan Chapman
Service Committee

‘Not Hillary’ no excuse

Editor, Smithfield Times
The right needs to stop excusing President Trump’s behavior on the basis that he is not Hillary Clinton. President Trump, over the holiday weekend, sent out several Tweets that were clearly not becoming of the President of the United States. They were widely condemned by those on the left and the right, but there were many on the right who defended the president’s use of twitter, many using the defense that, “Well, he’s not Hillary, so I am happy.” This defense is wrong headed and fallacious.

When I did something wrong as I grew up, I was held accountable for my actions. Such is the case for every child and adult across the country. Children, as young as months old learn that actions result in consequences. The consequence for ill-timed, poorly planned and badly executed communications from the White House doesn’t need to be much; politicians are sensitive to severe reactions in their base. Isle of Wight, being placed squarely in the Trump column in November, must condemn such communications. Arguing the “not Hillary” defense changes the subject matter away from the fact that there was an action, and away from the consequences.

The defense is also fallacious in nature. To bring up the fact that “he’s not Hillary” is to argue a red herring. Hillary Clinton is, hopefully, off the political scene. The discussion is about the current administration and its expenditure of political capital in wasteful ways, something he would not do if he cared about achieving his legislative agenda.

This is not to say that the left does not have its fair share of condemnations to make. Opportunities abound on both sides of the aisle to dismiss with divisiveness, foolishness and ideas that are simply bad. One of the most fundamentally American acts is the visiting of political retribution on politicians. We have a system of government designed for accountability, and by defending recklessness in our elected officials, we abuse and neglect an inherited duty.

Maxwell Shafer