Time for common-sense gun control
In the immediate aftermath of the shooting at a congressional baseball practice near our nation’s capital, the Virginia governor spoke briefly in his press conference about the need for common-sense gun-control measures. Although his remarks centered chiefly on expressions of sympathy for victims and praise for law enforcement, he also pointed out what most Americans believe is necessary: universal background checks on all gun purchases and a ban on the purchase, possession, and use of semi-automatic weapons. Obviously, he felt morally obliged — without playing politics — to mention the need for government on all levels to confront the reality of gun violence in our country.
But what has been Congress’s response? Like its inaction after the Sandy Hook tragedy in 2012 (despite President Barack Obama’s emotional entreaty), no member has indicated a willingness to submit a bill specifying ways to keep guns away from criminals and the mentally disabled. NPR stated that most of our politicians’ guiding principle — besides increasing their own security details — is that gun-control laws accomplish little except impose restrictions on the rights of law-abiding citizens.
These lawmakers seem unable to grasp the obvious: Often people with a clean criminal record become violent after a mental or emotional breakdown, and they unfortunately have access to weapons of mass destruction — extremely lethal rifles originally intended only for our military because of their rapid-fire capability and high-velocity ammunition — by which to create a huge number of victims. Banning them and instituting background checks will help to save lives while still respecting the Second Amendment.
Do right by our kids
On the eve of my final day as classroom teacher, I reflected on a lot of things. I had one thing in particular on my mind — lunch. I love lunch. And so do kids. That is why it’s not fair to give them peanut butter sandwiches, in a bag or on a paper plate, when their parents owe money, while their friends get a regular tray lunch.
Students who receive this treatment feel “less than” their peers. I work very hard in my classroom to create an atmosphere where everyone is equal and can succeed. This is undermined at lunch when a child receives something less than her peers. We can’t treat children this way if we want them to grow into caring adults.
I have paid off many students’ lunch bills, as I strongly believe this is not the responsibility of the child, but of the parent. And the parents’ mistake should not impact the child’s quality of an education — even at lunch.
People are mortified when they realize this is the practice, and when they see with their own eyes a child crumpled to the table sobbing over a sandwich, which they’ll never eat. They’ll go hungry first. And I don’t blame them.
It is important to look into alternative solutions that do not devalue children. Beyond all law and policy, our practice has to be to do what is right for kids. We’re not quite there yet. Please advocate for your children. Pay your lunch bills. Pay others’ lunch bills. And, above all, be kind to each other.
Trees block great view
Years ago when I lived in Eagle Lake, Route 11 provided beautiful views of the lake and the surrounding region. A place where I and my neighbors lived in the past. We had a wonderful view of the lake.
Today, this is no longer the case. Many trees are blocking the view of the lake. Nothing against trees, that is, if they are growing in the right places. But in the wrong locations they do create a viewing problem. Eagle Lake is a good example of this.
Residents should get together and do something about this problem.