News From Terre Haute, Indiana

February 17, 2013

READERS’ FORUM: Feb. 17, 2013


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Grateful for safety efforts

Safety and security has always been a priority in the Vigo County School Corp. Each year principals, along with their safety team, update their school’s safety plan and submit it to Mr. Ray Azar, director of Student Services.

With the recent rise in school shootings, Sheriff Greg Ewing, THPD Police Chief John Plasse, Mayor Duke Bennett and Superintendent Daniel Tanoos have collaborated together as a team to upgrade the security of our schools.

Daily, we have uniformed officers come to our schools and do a walk-through to check our security. Their presence and friendliness are greatly appreciated by our staff, parents and most of all our students. Mr. Tanoos and a member of his central office team are also present in our buildings each morning.

Deming Elementary School is extremely grateful for all of the efforts of these leaders and their teams as they make school safety a top priority. We offer them a heartfelt thank you for all of the extra efforts that have been put into place at each school for over 16,000 students.

The VCSC and law enforcement of Vigo County are second to none. Mr. Tanoos always asks at the beginning of each principals’ meeting, “Who’s No. 1?” Our answer, “We are!” And together, we are.

— Susan Mardis, principal

Deming Elementary

Taking aim at crow problem

Articles appearing in this newspaper lately have alluded to the crow situation in the “Level Above.” Bully for those on the crow patrol. The efforts are appreciated.

It is now crow season here in Indiana. There is no limit on how many can be taken and any legal weapon can be used. They often come to the call, which is legal as well.

So far this season, I have dispatched 27 crows, all with an ounce of No. 6 shot. Hardly a drop in the bucket, I realize, but still …

I encourage all interested hunters to take advantage of this season and do their part to assist with the crow problem.

— Mark Burns

Terre Haute

Time to stand up to oil companies

On Monday, Jan. 28, on my way to work, I noticed that gas was $3.12 a gallon at the station near my work. So, knowing the routine in this town and state, I decided to stop and fill up before the 30- to 40-cent spike that always happens here when gas gets down around $3.15.

As sure as clockwork, the next day gas rose to anywhere from $3.38 to $3.56, and by Thursday the 31st, it was at $3.75 for no apparent reason besides uncontrolled greed.

I have yet to hear the newest lame excuse why we are once again being price-gouged. I spoke with friends during the weekend in Nashville, Tenn., and Houston, Texas, where gas was $3.05 a gallon. I am beyond sick and tired of being robbed by these oil companies, and it’s long past time to deal with these crooks one way or another.

But don’t expect any help from our incompetent government. The oil companies have them in their pockets. While our country’s and the world’s economics teeter on the brink of collapse, these bloodsuckers tout $40 billion profits. It’s not hard to see why. Who’s going to stop them? And as we continue to hear the fear propaganda machine telling us how we are going to run out of oil any day, it just keeps pumping away.

Do you know that this country hasn’t built an oil refinery in decades? Why, you ask? Because theoretically, the more refineries, the more oil can be refined, creating more fuel available, thus the price goes down. But you can bet the oil companies don’t want that. And as far as crude supply, there are huge, untapped oil fields in Alaska, the Arctic, the ocean and other places around the world. Why aren’t they drilling there? Guess, and it isn’t because of the Caribou herds.

This oil scam is one of the biggest cons ever perpetrated on mankind, and it’s time to end the game.

One of our wiser presidents once said, “Walk softly and carry a big stick.” Well, we’ve walked softly long enough, it’s time to use the stick.

— William Fussman


The secret of gun advocacy

I have been set upon by gun owners in this opinion column so this is my rebuttal. First and foremost, I do think new laws regarding an in-depth background check and registration of firearms purchased are absolute necessities. Yes, my letter was indeed meant as sarcasm. The very idea of taking more guns into our schools makes me wonder if people realize what they want to do.

I didn’t realize that there are laws requiring that all transactions by authorized gun dealers at gun shows have to be registered. I am now better educated as I did a search in Yahoo and learned about these laws. However, nothing governs the sale of weapons between individuals. I just read there were three accidental shootings at gun shows over a recent weekend and that included one in Indianapolis. These were loaded weapons taken into a situation where there were many attendees. Now tell me why this couldn’t happen if taken into a school.

According to President Obama there have been 900 gun-related incidents since Sandy Hook. Have we become a nation of kill or be killed by gun owners? If there are more guns on the street than citizens, why do mass killings continue? Owning a gun will not keep you safe.

What I want to know from gun owners is simple. Why do you object to the limitation of clips that contain more than 10 bullets and why would you object to laws governing the purchase of military style weapons? No gun owner in the U.S. needs these types of weapons unless you are hunting human beings. You keep screaming about your rights to own guns as guaranteed by the Constitution but what about my rights as an individual to be protected?

Nowhere do these new proposed laws indicate that you have to turn in any of your personal weapons. As for the lady who is going to go out and purchase a gun, she apparently has lost her mind. That’s all we need is more citizens, armed, with no knowledge of how to use a gun. I sincerely hope she doesn’t live on my street.

As for what the Tribune-Star prints in the Opinion columns, perhaps Mr. Kesler should re-read the First Amendment about freedom of speech. This column is simply that, an opinion. This opposition to gun control runs deeper than individuals thinking their rights are being infringed upon. Somehow, you gun owners distrust the government. You think the government is out to take away your rights. In your mind, you think the government wants to control you and make you its slave.

I think you have been watching Fox News too much. You think that Hannity and the rest of the supposed newscasters are telling you the truth. You accept what they say as the news. You think Rush Limbaugh has your interest at heart and the head of the NRA is protecting your rights. Let me tell you a dirty little secret. They are in it for the money. As long as citizens mistrust the duly elected government of this country and rush out and buy guns, everyone on the far right gets their fair share. They are leading you down the path to destruction and you are following without ever having a thought of your own.

I am sitting here at my computer and to my right is a gun cabinet filled to the brim with hunting rifles and handguns. I know they will remain there. If new laws registering guns is approved, I will be glad to take down their ID numbers and register them. I would rather register my husband’s guns than have them stolen and used in a crime or used to kill an innocent human being.

You gun owners think big brother is watching you and has some sinister plot to leave you defenseless. Grow up. No ATF agent is at your door to take your guns. These new proposals are simply ways to safeguard all of the citizens of this country, especially children from the cause and effect of owning guns.

— Shirley A. Thomas


Just another GOP-led attack

This letter is in response to Thomas H. Woodbury’s letter in January that stated that the “attack hearings revealed nothing.” Tom was referring to the attack on our embassy in Benghazi in September 2012. Tom’s short tirade on the attack was a continuation of the attack on Hillary Clinton by the national GOP bloodhounds.

The GOP witchhunt is based on the surprise attack on the embassy and the GOP’s never-ending goal to blame it all on her. What you won’t hear is that the GOP-controlled House killed a bill that would have provided an additional $300,000 for added security in all our embassies. That added security might have prevented the death of those four Americans.

The attack hearing held by the GOP/Tea Party bulldogs is in reality a smear campaign. Their goal is to prove there were signs an attack was eminent and that she took no steps to avoid it. The GOP centerpiece is that the incident was not initially reported as a terrorist attack.

Tom’s letter brought back memories of the only enemy attack that has ever taken place on American soil. That attack on 9/11 claimed the lives of around 3,000 Americans and happened on Bush’s watch.

Although there was documented proof from several inside the Bush administration that “al-Qaida was  up to something big”, Bush ignored them.

Bush later fired those who gave him that warning.

The GOP-controlled House refused to hold any hearings on Bush and the matter was swept under the carpet.

When it was revealed that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction that Bush/Cheney lied to Congress about to start the Iraq War, there weren’t any GOP hearings. There wasn’t any call to impeach Bush for lying to Congress as there was for Bill Clinton for the same offense.

The Benghazi hearings were an attempt to give all the blame to Hillary. The hearings were designed to place a black mark on her time as secretary of state. My total distrust of the GOP makes me wonder if the hearings were to establish a basis for attack ads if Hillary becomes the Democratic nominee for president in 2016. I wonder how the loved ones of the four Americans killed in Benghazi would feel about that?

— Ron Hastings


Working to make our schools safer

A big thank you goes out to County Sheriff Greg Ewing, City Police Chief John Plasse, the Vigo County Council, Mayor Bennett and Superintendent Dan Tanoos and his team for keeping our schools secure and our students safe.

Almost 16,000 students attend school every day in Vigo County and they and their parents, teachers and administrators know our leaders are doing everything possible to keep everyone safe.  

Additional officers in uniforms have been placed in all schools around the county. Sheriff Ewing has proposed to the Vigo County Council that the county and school corporation split the cost of adding additional officers in our building. This proposal is currently being taken under advisement.

Not only is the extra presence in our schools appreciated, but the amount of time our police officers put into training is commendable.  They train tirelessly in our buildings and elsewhere to prepare for every possible scenario. I am so happy to know that Terre Haute North Vigo High School and other schools in Vigo County are under their watch. Thank you.

— Robin L. Smith, principal

Terre Haute North Vigo  High School

Using the Bible as a weapon

I think I heard Jesus crying (again).

When I heard the question: WPWJA? (Which prom would Jesus attend?), I got the mental image of the Pharisees in “Jesus Christ Superstar” perched on scaffolding like vultures. Just as quickly came the image of Jesus lying back laughing, surrounded by people enjoying His company.

Brian McLaren wrote in “Generous Orthodoxy”: “It’s no surprise then that biblical Christians have thrived when we’ve used the Bible with the goal of becoming good people who, because we follow Jesus, do good works in God’s good world. And we have languished and wandered when we use the Bible as a weapon to threaten others, as a tool to intimidate others and prove them wrong. … Sadly, sometimes the very people who most love the Bible have been those who have used it for these other purposes. …”

Name tags have turned into ways to pigeonhole people and classify them with a broad brush. For a while now, I’ve tried (with varying degrees of success) to just be a follower.

— Jim Avelis