A new low
I am beside myself with sadness and disgust at the story and photo in Wednesday’s Post and Courier depicting Lowcountry gun “buyers rushing to purchase semi-automatic, military-style rifles such as the AR-15 used in the deadly Newtown, Conn., elementary school massacre.”
While innocent children of Newtown and the teachers who tried to protect them had not yet been laid to rest, these paranoid masses are out in droves trying to be sure they don’t miss out on the opportunity to secure “the guns they want to own.”
According to the article, “It’s not just the AR-15 rifles that are selling fast; it’s the ammunition and the 30-round magazines associated with them.” Area gun dealers seem quite proud of sales that “went through the roof.”
The coldness and insensitivity of treating this gut-wrenching nightmare like a Black Friday shopping opportunity is beyond reprehensible and beyond comprehension.
I am a gun owner, but I have never been more reluctant to admit to being a resident of the Lowcountry. After this article, “low” has taken on a whole new meaning.
Deer vs. children
Why is it considered unfair to take the plug out of your shotgun when you are hunting for sport, but if you mention limiting the number of cartridges in an assault weapon, which can be used to kill first graders, you are instantly branded un-American by the NRA?
What is a fair price for the right of Americans to own one of these high-capacity human slaughter machines we call assault weapons? Twenty first graders — 30, 40 — your own?
Time and I-526
I agree with a recent editorial critical of Charleston County Council’s 5-4 vote to complete I-526.
Part of the justification for council’s decision rested on S.C. Department of Transportation maps depicting what the area’s traffic would look like in 2035 — with and without I-526.
These maps were confusing because they showed little improvement in congestion after spending the better part of a billion dollars.
NOAA has maps showing the projected rise in sea level for the same area in the same time period. With the shrinking coastlines they project, it seems irresponsible for government agencies to encourage over-development of the islands that extending the highway would bring.
NOAA claims that what we used to call 100-year storms are becoming once-in-a-decade events, and with a national debt of $16 trillion and counting, underwriting this accelerated growth using federal flood insurance will not be sustainable. Another hurricane season that includes the likes of Irene or Sandy could bring a new economic reality to the coast.
Proponents of the expressway say zoning is the answer to controlling growth. But a recent edition of The Post and Courier was emblazoned with the remnants of Folly Beach County Park on one page and, on another, a proposal for 384 new four-story townhouses on Harbor View Drive. Zoning did not help there.
Ironing out details for an I-526 extension will require another four or five years before construction can begin. Meanwhile, half of the Limehouse bridge goes unused, the Stono bridge still funnels traffic into a two-lane bottleneck and the intersection at highway U.S. 17 and Main Road is as impermeable as ever. I find it hard to believe that future State Infrastructure Bank proceedings will not revisit the much less expensive alternative of improving these existing roads. Focusing on 16 lanes of bridges onto the increasingly vulnerable shores of Johns Island would also be environmentally unwise. Mitigating the impact of an interstate highway over miles of irreplaceable wetlands will be much more complicated than the recent relocation of sweetgrass basket stands on a widened Johnny Dodds Boulevard.
Time will tell if the traffic solution that was “40 years in the making” really made sense, but according to every credible climate study to date, time is definitely not on our side.
Magical thinking aside, “good guys with guns” in every school would inevitably cost somebody a lot of money. Do you suppose the NRA would put its money where its mouth is, and support a tax levy or annual license fee on assault-weapon and ammo sales to cover that cost?
Also, what kind of message would pistol-packin’ school guards and teachers send to our kids? According to the Violence Policy Center, states with low gun ownership rates and strong gun laws have the lowest rates of gun death and, conversely, states with weak gun laws and higher rates of gun ownership had far higher rates of firearm related death. To me, that says a lot.
Let’s treat assault-gun violence as a public safety as well as a constitutional issue, starting with those facts. Our kids are our future.
Oyster Bay Drive
A lot of money, time and effort has been spent trying to lessen effects of coastal erosion. Federal, state, county and city governments have been involved.
The issue has been driven by a desire to meet future growth and has included land masses and river systems from the mountains to the seashore.
In the 1930s, upland lakes were dammed to allow highways. As a result, water was released into the Cooper River system, increasing the flow from 750 cubic feet per second to 17,000 cubic feet per second.
The Charleston Harbor entrance jetty is to blame for the erosion of Morris and Folly islands. The harbor channels were later deepened to 45 feet and now must be deepened again to receive larger ships.
I carried out a two-year civil engineering study to study the direction and speed of currents along Folly’s shoreline. The flow is southward 24 hours a day at a speed increased because of the jetty and displacing much more material on the bottom.
I submit that a groin at the end of Folly Island will have a positive effect on the islands, including the bird keys also. Sullivan’s Island has a submerged one that has been successful for over 130 years.
U.S. Coast Guard (Retired)
On Sept. 21, 2011, Gwen Gillenwater, executive director of the disAbility Resource Center, a non-profit organization devoted to empowering people with disabilities to live independent self-sustaining lives, accompanied 17 individuals with disabilities to a rally concerning Medicaid in Washington, D.C.
It was an enlightening experience. The obstacles of access alone would have discouraged most people, but this group would not be deterred.
Among the many officials they met with, Rep. Tim Scott and staff were particularly attentive to hearing about the needs of people with lifelong disabilities. He posed for pictures and later sent each person an autographed copy.
Rep. Scott and his staff gained a better understanding of the mission of centers for independent living. He saw people who wanted to work, who wanted to travel, who needed health care. These are simply people who want the opportunities other Americans have.
Since then, Rep. Scott’s staff has regularly referred people to our disAbility Resource Center. Rep. Scott understands the vital role that Medicaid, Social Security and Medicare play in maintaining a better quality of life for South Carolina citizens with disabilities.
Disabilities know no color, gender, age or religious boundaries. They will affect everyone in our society at some point in their lives.
We know that as senator, Mr. Scott will represent our community well because he knows that disabilities have no political affiliation.
Board of Directors
disAbility Resource Center
North Nassau Street