On Friday, Dec. 14, I went to a small diner and had scrambled eggs and toast with my mother. We spent a good 45 minutes chatting about the news and planning for the holidays, preparing to head out for a college tour.
The minute my eyes set on the beautiful brick buildings surrounded by a lush green campus, I knew I found the college of my dreams. After a wonderful tour, my mother and I gushed about how bright my future was going to be.
It was truly one of the most wonderful days I ever had, and when we returned home, I noticed the stars were unusually bright that evening, believing it was the cherry on top to such a magnificent moment in my life.
Little did I know that as I was planning my bright future, 20 beautiful children, and six courageous adults ceased to see another day. These families built their entire lives on these children and now they are gone. A fundamental component of the core of these families, the structure and function that these parents lovingly dedicated themselves to, is gone at the single ring of a bullet.
All I can think of now is that I have a future. These children do not.
After the Aurora, Colo., shooting, the New York Empire State Building shooting, the Portland, Ore., shooting, and now, the Newtown, Conn., shooting, I strongly urge legislators to create stronger sanctions and legislation on gun control.
If firearms were less prevalent in society, individuals would have greater difficulty obtaining them. There would be a lower possibility of firearms falling into the wrong hands, as demonstrated this past year.
The solution lies with effectively finding ways to alter and strengthen laws pertaining to the procurement of arms.
It is the responsibility of every citizen to determine for himself whether or not the procurement of arms is beneficial for society at large, but when looking at so much of the world's promise, please look at how much depravity is caused by our own hands.
Yes, the stars were unusually bright that Friday evening; there were 26 six angels lighting the sky.
In a recent article concerning business conducted at the December meeting of the Wilkes-Barre Area School Board, your reporter Mark Guydish chose to focus on the relatively trivial matters such as the formation of a remedial reading panel while blatantly ignoring the few critical questions with which I confronted the board.
This is not surprising in light of the fact that he has consistently ignored my points of discussion because, I suppose, he does not deem them newsworthy enough or perhaps because your paper considers them too volatile.
The questions which I put forward at that meeting included the following:
1. Why did the board waste $11,000 of taxpayer funds for a nationwide superintendent search if all along it had every intention of hiring acting superintendent Prevuznak?
2. How could five of the current board members remained totally oblivious to actions of then-solicitor Anthony Lupas (to the tune of $395,000) in 2011?
3. Where are the results of the forensic audit (which will end up costing the taxpayers a cool $50,000 or more) and what is the purpose of this action since it is only going to reveal what everyone already knows: that the taxpayers have been ripped off and the board will do nothing to recover this money.
4. The executive sessionsconducted by the board going beyond the pale. There are topics discussed there that supposedly fall under the broad categories of litigation and labor negotiations but lie outside these realms.
When will Mr. Guydish and your paper recognize the egregious lack of transparency and accountability of this board which I have consistently called attention to and which all concerned taxpayers need to recognize?
What we have in Washington, and actually in America, is a fundamental disconnect. See, here's the thing, both sides have the same goals. They just go about it in different directions. Some folks think the way to solve our economic problems is to inject a lot of money into our economy to spur growth. On the other hand, the other group thinks we need to support our job creators so they'll do what job creators do.
But the first group thinks that what job creators do is pocket all the support and launder those jobs to China. The second group thinks that to spend money we don't have will cripple us and our future.
There is a third group that thinks we should do a little bit of both. The first two groups frown on this group as being very naive. But all these differences aren't the problem.
See, each of these groups are represented by folks who are elected by their states, in the case of the Senate, and by gerrymandered districts, in the case of the House. They represent their states and districts and America. But mostly they represent the moneyed investors that financed their campaigns.
In other words, the problem isn't their differences, the problem is, who gets the credit.
The recent tragedy at a Connecticut school shooting points out the need for stronger security measures to help prevent or mitigate loss of life at our schools.
The emergency plans implemented at schools can minimize injuries and deaths, but cannot prevent them when confronted with determined shooters. Buzzers, cameras, identification cards and sign-in books will not stop shooters from forcibly entering schools.
One security measure that could counter the actions of shooters is the presence of armed security officers in every school. Granted, the killers might try to shoot the officers first, but the killers could be focused on shooting the students and teachers, and the officers could take out the shooters.
Another possibility would be to have trained administrators with weapons available to them in a locked and secure location.
Mentally competent people and non-felons may purchase weapons in accordance with the Second Amendment of our Constitution which allows citizens to bear arms, and this right should continue.
However, should ordinary citizens, like the Newtown shooter, be allowed to purchase a bullet proof vest? The purchase of bullet proof vests should be a huge tipoff on the purchaser planning a shooting.
We need armed school security officers.
Danielle Melnick Dallas Ed Cole Clarks Summit Donald A. Moskowitz Londonderry, N.H.