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Spirit of Jefferson Farmers Advocate
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May 30, 2018     Spirit of Jefferson Farmers Advocate
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May 30, 2018
 

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A4 Wednesday, May 30, 2018 JENNIFER LeFEAR WARD f Friday, May 18 began as a typi- The May 18 cal day for me, as I expect it did for shooting in Texas was the many families of Santa Fe High the nation's School 30 miles southeast of Hous- deadliest ton. I got my own kids off for the such attack day; the older ones left for work, since the and we said our goodbyes as the Parkland, Fla younger ones left for the local high massacre on school, middle school and elemen- Valentine's tary schools. My husband was on Day that the phone working from home, and killed 17 and energized I was preparing for the day ahead the teen-led when I heard the news. As the ra- gun-control dio described preliminary reports movement. of an active shooter in a Texas high school, I prayed, "Please God, no." This was about all I could collect, as a heavy sense of dread descend- ed upon me. As the morning wore on, the reports grew worse. "Multi- chaos, panic and despair the par- their fidelity to the Second Amend- ple casualties," I heard as I left to ents, teachers and police encoun- ment, but nary a word about pro- pick up my kindergarten son. The ter at school shootings. It is heart- tecting our children in West Virgin- students were outside when I ar- sickening. It is maddening. Having ia schools. I hear more about what rived, so the kindergarten classroom an emotional response to these in- exactly constitutes an assault riffle was empty and peaceful. I looked at cidents makes us human, and caring then I do about how to keep rifles the children's photos on the wall as about the impacts of gun violence from assaulting people. To be clear, I waited, and I wept because half- in our communities is not a politi- that was short for how do we keep way across the country in another cal statement, people with rifles from killing other school, I knew there were children While the gun lobby keeps fight- people, because we all plainly know and teachers dead and injured, and ing to loosen all restrictions on gun that guns don't kill people, people families in anguish. At 3 p.m. my purchasing and ownership, children with guns kill people. Gun violence own children begin returning home keep picking up guns and discharg- is the third leading killer of children from school, and I felt so deeply ing them and killing themselves and and young people in this country. grateful to see each of them, espe- others. Domestic violence, homi- Enough! cially my own 17-year-old son, who cides and suicides involving guns How about those who know ex- looked a little taller and more hand- are epidemic in many communities, actly all the variations of an am- some to me that day - safe and alive Where is the outrage? munition magazine, or wax poet- and smiling. Our politicians in West Virginia ic regarding shooting AR-15s, ac- I imagine the scene of blood, tout their allegiance to the NRA and tually use their knowledge to sug- ,I-? THOMAS TRUMBLE THE ASSOCIATED PRESS gest some sensible gun laws? How about those who talk about their own responsible gun ownership, re- alize that not all gun owners are safe and sane and responsible and ad- vocate for reasonable restrictions? How about those who make threats about taking guns from their "cold dead hands" think about all the ac- tual cold dead hands of the innocent youth killed every single day from guns. It can only be regarded as ex- tremist to demand that there is noth- ing we should do to curb this Amer- ican gun problem. We, the people, have had enough of the "do nothing" approach to gun violence. The narrative belongs now to the moms and dads that care. That doesn't make us liberals. It doesn't We, the people, have had enough of the "do nothing" approach to gun violence. The narrative belongs now to the moms and dads that care. That doesn't make us liberals. It doesn't make us less patriotic. It doesn't mean we don't believe in the Constitution, and relax, nobody is coming for your guns. make us less patriotic. It doesn't mean we don't believe in the Con- stitution, and relax, nobody is com- ing for your guns. It is time to take seriously the words "well regulated," which is mandated in the Second Amendment of the Constitution. Here are some ideas for responsible gun safety leg- islation - trigger locks, laws for safe gun storage, waiting periods, en- hanced procedures for efficient and accurate background checks, clos- ing gun show and private transfer; loopholes, required firearm safety training, red flag laws, mandatory reporting of stolen guns, and volun- tary buy-back programs. These pro . visions would be much less painful than bullets or dead children. Will they be 100 percent effective? Of ; course not, but it's a Start. - Jennifer LaFear Ward is a West Virginia native who writes from her home in the Eastern Panhandle S Donald Trump, Wayne Lapierre and others have recommended that teachers and school resource officers be armed and trained to guard schools against armed intruders, such as those who attacked schools and churches in Texas, Florida, Colorado and Connecticut. In effect they are proposing that the best way to defend our children is to hold a firefight in the crowded classrooms and hallways of our schools when the deranged shooter arrives. Sad to say, neither the President of the U.S. nor the chief executive officer of the Nation- al Rifle Association has served in the military much less engaged in a firefight. Therefore, they may be unaware of several significant problems with their approach. First and foremost, a flrefight is a chaotic and fearful enterprise. There is no training short of the actual event that can prepare a sol- dier or a teacher or a resource officer to effec- tively perform in this environment. The mili- tary trains and trains its combat soldiers to do this and some soldiers are still overwhelmed by the pure sensual intensity of it all. Like the resource officer in Santa Fe, Texas, some will hold their ground and do their duty and help reduce the bloodshed. Others, like the resource officer in Florida, a sworn and trained police officer, will shut down mental- ly or physically. Then walk away. Or stand in the way. Or remain in the parking lot and do nothing. Performing well in a firefight depends not only on how well you can fire your weapon, a precious skill that requires regular refresher training but, more importantly, on how well Weapons are dangerous, most dangerous you can hunt a human being. Kill a human be- when you think the weapon is safe. They are ing. We are specifically socialized not to kill. both intimidating and fascinating to kids. My Sixth Commandment and all. guess is that many teachers will store their The military spends considerable time, con- weapon in a locked desk drawer or in their structs special training facilities and practic- coat in the closet at the other end of the class- es regularly to train a soldier to hunt and kill room. Not many will carry the pistol in a an enemy soldier. And still you never know shoulder holster or around their hip. They'll what a person will do when the situation calls keep the weapon away from the kids. Se- for the killing to begin. To see the man, or cured. Not readily available when the shoot- woman, get him in your sight, pull the trig- ing begins. What then? ger and watch the peculiar way he tumbles to And what do you think will happen the first the ground as he dies. You never know until time a weapon is accidentally discharged and the situation arises. Arises as a surprise. When some student is killed or wounded? And yes, you are least prepared, it will happen. No matter how careful you are, Sure, you can stand your ground, hide be- the accident will indeed occur. Imagine if the hind a desk or try an ambush. But it will al- victim is a first-grader. ways come down to the question: Will you A firefight in a building requires special pull the trigger? Aim for center mass to kill skills and training. Lines of sight are limited the intruder? Not try some silly Hollywood and the spaces are constricted and the inter- trick to just hit him in the knee or shoot the sections are blind, leaving little room for ma- gun out his hand. neuver. High-powered weapons can penetrate walls. The sound of the rounds will echo and provide no real target--you fire at the flash and not the sound. Worse yet, the shooter will be moving in and around the children. Do we want to double or triple the number of high- powered bullets ricocheting through a school filled with innocent children and staff?. Finally, the difficulty of the proposal to place armed teachers and resource officers in schools is not limited to identifying and hir- ing highly trained and experienced people. According to the National Center for Educa, tion Statistics, "There are over 100,000 opera- tional public elementary/secondary schools in the U.S. states and D.C." As a point of refer- ence, an American Infantry division has ap- proximately 15,000 soldiers. If each school requires on average, 2 to 2.5 security person- nel, that is the equivalent of approximately 15 infantry divisions. Think of the cost involved. Think of what that money could do to im-' prove the quality of education in America. In West Virginia I own a gun and I support the Second Amendment. But I do not support more guns ?. in schools. Some say guns don't kill people, people kill people. I won't argue the false dis- tinction. But I do know for sure that a poorly, i trained, panicked person with a gun will cer ;. tainly kill people. Whether it be a dedicated ; teacher or a deranged teenager, dead is dead. - Thomas Trumble of Shenandoah Junction served in Vietnam in 1970 as an Armored Cavalry captain JIM BAUMAN The Trump agenda, and the exhausting work ahead The Republican manipulation of our the depleted soils, the ravaged ecology, was nowhere near good enough for the democratic institutions and safeguards the injuries, disease and deaths. Com- job. is not so much intended to completely pensation, reclamation, restoration can Communities in West Virginia still displace our healthy institutions, as it take decades, if and when it comes, be- recovering from coal have to contend is to disrupt them. They are digging a cause the perpetrators have put in place not just with the scars left by mining, trench line, fortified with barbed wire, the legislative and judiciary means to but with the legislators and judges who mines and barriers to repel any Dem- stall action and lengthen appeals, were elected with the big bucks of the ocratic counter attacks to follow. They Buying a friendly legislature and perpetrators. It is still the case that are fully expecting that the policies and courts can go a long way to mak- these public officials bow and scrape the court stuffing they can manage dur- ing things stick. The public has been officially and symbolically to Big Coal ing the Trump administration will be tricked too many times with reclama- and use the false argument that destruc- labor-intensive and expensive to over- tion bonds that don't pack in nearly tive projects are justified because they turn. And they are right. The Democrats enough dollars to do the cleanup re- create or maintain jobs. This includes have so many fronts to engage that it quired to restore community and lives, elected representatives on both the Re- will be politically and socially exhaust- Too often corporate bankruptcies leave publican and Democratic sides, nota- ing and their voters will quickly wea- the taxpayers to do the dirty work and bly our two current senators, Shelley ry. The Republicans, however, can en- assume the cost. Moore Capito, a Republican, and Dem- gage these battles with their moneyed I remember after the Bush II years, ocrat Joe Manchin. The jobs they're interests and spare their voters the day there was a Democratic bumper sticker promoting are, of course, the same to day trench fighting, during the 2008 election season saying kind of jobs that impoverished the state Takeasanexampletheprotractedbat- that it would take Hillary two terms to to begin with. It's time to get real and ties West Virginia communities have to clean up the mess. Granted, she never honest and end the sanctimony about wage when they wake up to the down- got the chance, but Obama, as inclined coal providing a prosperous past and side of the oil, gas and coal extractive as he was to take charge of the cleanup, a prosperous future. It never did and it industries operating in their locales, came right up against the Republican never will. The fouled water, the poisoned land, trench line, and found that his broom -Jim Bauman writes from Bakerton Why can't the NFL look at why the players kneel? The NFL persistently gets it wrong on social and justice is- sues - from dog fighting and domestic violence and now the flag/national anthem. The NFL seized upon an op- portunity to make money from the Department of Defense by sponsoring patriotic displays with the troops. As a veteran, I have serious issues about that DoD and NFL parmership. The NFL's marketing ma- chine falsely interconnected the military, veterans and law enforcement to the flag and the national anthem. The NFL has succeeded in creating a Pav- lovian response amongst mil- lions of its fans. I am sure that the NFL's return on investment from marketing patriotism has been spectacular. None of the profit would have been possi- ble without the men who play professional football, approx- imately 80 percent of which are African-American. One hundred percent of the African-American players are keenly aware of the chal- ; lenges they face off the field. Their money and fame won't insulate the players from these challenges - the same diffi- curies that I along with every other African-American face when it comes to any interac- tion with taw enforcement. What are the odds that on the same day the NFL releas- es its new national anthem/ flag policy that the 30-minute video of NBA player Sterling (See NFL LETTER Page A5) t I 1 I I