Letters to The Editor – March 7th, 2018

Published 6:34 pm Tuesday, March 6, 2018

Ask the students

Editor, Smithfield Times
In the article, “School safety: Florida shooting prompts wide range of ideas,” the focus seemed to be on what the parents wanted and overlooks the stages a student goes through when dealing with the mental effects of isolation and alienation. If students had more of a voice when it comes to topics of safety in schools, then there could be a more effective change in trying to prevent school shootings within Isle Wight County.
Also, has anyone thought about what the student, the shooter, would be feeling that day to have come to that conclusion? The students who undertake in these types of events have most likely lost their social connection with their community and other individuals in school. Losing this connection with their surroundings leads the student to become isolated from everyone. If school workers could recognize when a student has begun to alienate themselves from their community, friends, or even themselves, then the possibility of a school shooting would decrease.
At the end of the article there was a section on Connecticut and the laws the state has passed to keep their citizens protected from guns. The U.S. has the largest number of school shootings, therefore I did some research on how other countries manage gun usage.
Japan is the closest country to have “zero-tolerance” of gun ownership. Germany is reported to have a lot of guns in the country, but guns are not killing a lot of people. In the United Kingdom, gun homicides have greatly decreased compared to the early 1990s.
Is there something the U.S. can do that could mimic other countries around the world, or would paying more attention to students’ behavior be more beneficial?
Madison Bollhorst

Wishing them well

Editor, Smithfield Times
This letter concerns the departures of Smithfield Town Council member and (former Smithfield Police Chief) Steve Bowman, Town Manager Peter Stephenson and Isle of Wight Sheriff (and former Smithfield Police Chief) Mike Marshall. A lot of people are feeling regret about this.
At first, I shared that regret. Now I simply want to express my gratitude for their service. Each of these individuals in their own way has made a tremendous and sustained effort to provide public service to the community. They have each served with character and brilliance. Thank you. (And thank you to those others that continue to serve the public.) As they move on to the next chapters of their lives, here is hoping for the best.
Regarding school safety, America has a serious problem. It is hard to keep public schools safe. Isle of Wight County’s schools have had and maintain an absolute commitment to the safety of our children. Educators say they don’t want to be armed with guns. They want guns kept out of schools. Each school has procedures to deal with potential violence. There are so may other areas that are necessary to ensure school safety. Our schools are committed to this.
When the tragedy occurred in the Florida high school, the students when beyond their grief and said: “Never again.” They asked to reinstate the ban on assault weapons, which are the instruments of violent massacres. They asked to reinstate the ban on mentally ill people being able to acquire guns. This is an entirely appropriate response. We need that in our state and in the nation.
The reason for 21 being the legal age for alcohol is because alcohol’s use can be so dangerous. It should be the same with guns. As for those parents who want young people to have guns, allow them to get their child a gun after the child passes a gun safety class. But hold the parents accountable.
Jerry Tenney

Not up to the schools

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Editor, Smithfield Times In last week’s Smithfield times, there appeared an article concerning closing of the county schools two weeks for Christmas. It appears that the Chairperson of the school board is highly concerned about where children will be fed if the school is closed for two weeks. May I suggest at home or let the Social Services office resolve the problem. In my humble opinion, the school administration and board should be concentrating on education of the children rather than their food. Leave the social, health, food etc. up to the departments that have the experts to deal with the situation.
I think that if the Social Services department started teaching the 3 R’s or technical training in Carpentry, Plumbing, Electrical that the school boards would be upset and demand they stop. The same applies to the department of education. Yes, I know this letter will create backlash, but it is time for parents to take responsibility for their offspring rather than the schools.
Ray Baxter

Will miss Richardson

Editor, Smithfield Times The decision made by Mayor Rita Richardson to end her service on the Windsor Town Council by not running for office again in November will leave a void hard to fill by anyone more adept to fill the Chair. Although the accomplishments made by Council as a whole during her terms have been numerous, holding the line on taxes are due to a large part because of her financial expertise.
Not only is she the epitome of what a financial manager should be by acting in the interest of the taxpayers, she has been a leader in the several tough stances she has taken in the interest of the Town. While it is understood why she is leaving, it will be greatly difficult to replace her efforts. She is doing a fantastic job and will be greatly missed.
Lud L. Spivey
Sandra B. Spivey

No to any gun ban

Editor, Smithfield Times
It’s one of the most asinine comments I’ve ever heard: “When the 2nd amendment was written, people had muskets so we need to ban such and such guns…”
Guess what, when the Amendments were written, people didn’t use the F word every five seconds either. There was no TV, gratuitous sex, radio, internet, dumb or smart phones, and kids actually grew up to accomplish things on the world stage long before age 18.
Kids were adults and acted like it by the time they were 15. Today, society is on a downward spiral in some ways, but nobody ever talks about banning words or technologies just because it didn’t exist in 1776.
We have gun rights because the power of the country lies in the People, not government. The Founders knew (better than most do today) that a powerful government becomes an oppressive tyranny, and history is replete with evidence proving this. Look at Germany, Stalin, China and many, many others.
If we start to pick and choose what guns are allowed, it’s a very short road to government oppression over what we say, what we write, where we travel, what we drive, how we communicate and who we can be.
I’m not the slightest worried about John Citizen who carries a gun on his hip. A criminal always chooses the weakest unarmed person, the home with no dog or alarm, and the place of least resistance. And the criminal never obeys any laws.
Dave Lyons