Georgia editorial roundup
Recent editorials from Georgia newspapers:
The Augusta Chronicle on the recent mass shootings in the U.S.:
The irony is inescapable.
On Aug. 4, Augusta religious leaders met at Adas Yeshurun Synagogue, to hear officers from the Richmond County Sheriff’s Office give sound advice on security and emergency preparedness in houses of worship.
Organizers had no idea that in the 24 hours before that, a horrified America would witness two bloody demonstrations of why these kinds of security awareness programs are even necessary.
In El Paso on Aug. 3, at least 22 people died and more than two dozen were injured after a gunman opened fire in a Walmart and the nearby Cielo Vista Mall, before authorities took him into custody. One eyewitness said the shooter went “aisle by aisle” in Walmart, picking off innocent shoppers.
In Dayton on Aug. 4, a masked gunman opened fire in the city’s popular Oregon nightlife district downtown. It took the shooter only about 30 seconds to kill nine people — including his own sister — before police killed him.
The motives? As we write this, they’re still looking for one in Dayton. The El Paso shooter scrawled something out as an explanation, but to print even one word of it would be giving it far more attention than it deserves — and precisely what the sick author wanted. If only most media outlets came to the same conclusion.
One killer took his time. The other thankfully didn’t have enough time to kill even more.
Could an armed guard or a responsible, legally-carrying citizen at either of these locations have prevented deaths, or at least lowered body counts? Or would it have made matters worse?
There are no shortage of opinions on how either scenario would’ve played out. But while folks sit at their keyboards and in coffee shops playing games of “what if?” the fact remains that it’s now impossible to know.
But participants in Aug. 4′s security seminar in Augusta assuredly knew about the unhinged predator who killed 11 people last October in a Pittsburgh synagogue. Or about the nine people, gathered for prayer in a Charleston, S.C., church, who were slaughtered by another gun-wielding monster.
What an sickening development in our nation’s culture — that peaceful houses of God have to even entertain the idea, and accept the necessity, of having to protect themselves from killers.
Does anyone have a magic solution?
Because we don’t.
We can think of a few practical ones. A good start: properly equipping law enforcement with the tools to better weed out people with dangerously impaired mental health. Separate them from the responsible gun owners whose Second Amendment rights must be preserved.
But if anyone did have a magic solution, it would have been deployed long ago — so Americans today wouldn’t have to ponder, and mourn, El Paso and Dayton. And Pittsburgh. And Charleston.
We know we’re leaving out other deadly sites. There are so many. Too many.
America needs actual answers to reject this culture of violence. We already know the question: How do we dispel this toxic evil?
The Dalton Daily Citizen on safe driving as the school year starts:
With many area schools starting back this week it is a good time to remind ourselves of the need to be extra vigilant when driving, and to be on the lookout for those students who might not always make the safest decisions and may run into traffic or cause some other traffic-related problem.
Of course, being a safe or defensive driver is always desirable, but this time of year such reminders are especially important.
With the knowledge that there can be traffic delays, school buses loading and unloading, children on bicycles or even perhaps walking to school, the Georgia Department of Transportation has offered these valuable instructions on how “to put safety first”:
—“Pay attention to school zone flashing beacons and obey school zone speed limits.”
—“Obey school bus laws.”
—“Stop behind/do not pass a school bus that is stopped to load or unload children.”
—“If the lights are flashing and the stop arm is extended, opposing traffic must stop unless it is on a divided highway with a grass or concrete median.”
—“Watch for students gathering near bus stops, and for kids arriving late, who may dart into the street. Children often are unpredictable, and they tend to ignore hazards and take risks.”
The Georgia Department of Transportation notes that “According to the National Safety Council, most children who lose their lives in school bus-related incidents are four to seven years old, walking, and they are hit by the bus, or by a motorist illegally passing a stopped bus.”
“It’s never more important for drivers to slow down and pay attention than when kids are present — especially in the peak traffic hours before and after school,” said Grant Waldrop, district engineer at the GDOT office in White.
“If you’re driving behind a school bus, increase your following distance to allow more time to stop once the lights start to flash. The area 10 feet around a school bus is the most dangerous for children; stop far enough back to give them space to safely enter and exit the bus,” Waldrop explained.
All good points. We encourage you to take these instructions to heart and to be aware of the dangers that come with the start of a new school year. All our students are precious and we must take every precaution to ensure they are safe, including when they are in a school setting or getting on and off the bus.
Savannah Morning News on the recent Democratic presidential candidate debates:
Finally, along comes something that prompts more unease than President Donald Trump’s Twitter feed.
Tragically, it’s the Democratic debates.
Like a masterfully directed horror film, the debates had us watching through the fingers of the hands over our eyes. Trump’s would-be challengers left all but the more liberal among us needing a spiked glass of Sen. Corey Booker’s Kool-Aid.
More soberingly, the show left us dreading a trip to the polls in November 2020.
President Trump has tipped his 2020 strategy: Demonize everyone who doesn’t look or think like he does to drive turnout of voters fearful of or disenfranchised with diverse, representative government.
The approach is similar to what he employed in 2016, except this time, instead of focusing his vitriol mainly on Mexicans and others from beyond our borders, he’s made his fellow citizens the villains.
That the backlash against his “go back where they came from” comments — many actually defended and echoed the sentiments — only encourages such behavior. Hence, his “disgusting, rat and rodent-infested mess” diatribe about a congressional district represented by Democrat Elijah Cummings.
What Democrats are missing, at least to this point, is that Trump found favor with the “hold-your-nose-and-vote” crowd in 2016. According to exit polls, nearly 20% of voters had an unfavorable view of both Trump and his opponent, Hillary Clinton. That equates to nearly 26 million votes, with Trump ultimately receiving 12 million of those compared to fewer than 8 million for Clinton.
If the economy remains vibrant enough and the Democratic nominee unpalatable enough, Trump could claim that block again.
Demonizing corporations and private business won’t endear the Democrats to the moderates squeamish about Trump. Neither will pushing for broader and new entitlement programs, such as Medicare and college for all, or calling for open borders.
Disturbingly, most of the Democrats with good traction are stumping on these beliefs and nudging the debate further and further to the left.
Centrist positions drew scorn in this week’s debates. The “dream big” mantra is incredibly narrow — pragmatic ideas that improve policies rather than upend them don’t meet the standard.
As Peter Wehner, a veteran of three presidential administrations, wrote following the first night of the debate, “Being a fighter for bad and unpopular ideas isn’t a virtue.”
What the Democratic campaign is proving thus far is Newton’s third law: For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction. Trump’s harsh, unbending policy approach and pandering to the paranoid on the right is drawing a lets-be-everything-to-everybody progressive response.
But this is about governing, not physics, and the Democrats court losing with their hard left turn. The old assumption that even an ideologue will move toward the middle once in office no longer holds. Just as Trump has been driven to deliver on his more polarizing campaign promises, so too would a Democrat if elected.
And there are too many voters who can’t stomach that possibility.
The Democrat race is still in its infancy. The debates thus far should help winnow the field. Eventually, the discourse will concentrate on who is best to challenge Trump. At that point, we can only hope the frontrunners explore ways to refine their positions in order to better their chances at winning.
Short of that, Americans will face another onerous choice come November 2020.