School police role

The placement of armed police officers in public schools at the elementary school level by Mayor Keith Summey is seen as over-reaching by some on the Charleston County School Board. But not addressing security concerns at our public schools is not acceptable either.

As the parent of a Charleston County student, I welcome almost anything that provides my child with an additional layer of safety. The issue should not be whether this level of security is necessary, but how it is provided.

I believe that every school — public and private — needs an armed police officer at its primary entrance. They should not be in uniform so that they do not become sitting duck targets themselves.

Their only job should be screening visitors and their belongings. They should not be seen as additional resource officers or student disciplinarians. Visitors to schools should be limited to parents with children attending the school and those conducting business directly with the school, who have been pre-screened and given appointments.

These measures cannot cover every contingency, but they would minimize the likelihood of more massacres.

It does sadden me that our children have to attend school with these kinds of measures in place, but we have to face the fact that we no longer (and frankly never did) occupy the world of the Cleavers and the Cunninghams.

Instead of criticizing Mayor Summey’s initiative, perhaps the Charleston County School Board needs to discuss, not the “if” of armed police officers in our schools, but the parameters under which these officers would operate.

Administrators at the district level should have been the initiators of such measures, not simply reactionaries to actions by local political leaders. Placing armed police officers at all schools’ entrances needs to happen sooner rather than later, before our community experiences the horrors of a school-related massacre.

Sharon Cook

Cashew Street

Charleston

Pack mentality

During his first term the president asked that people not rush to judgment — that they go slowly until all the facts are in and that people not jump to incorrect conclusions.

This is exactly the course Rep. Tim Scott took in response to the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School.

Talk about double standards. No sooner had his wise advice been heard than a fast and seemingly furious attack was launched, maligning the good character of the soon-to-be senator.

A letter to the editor said, “It appears the do-nothing Tea Party conservatives in South Carolina’s congressional delegation will have an ally in preventing any progress in moving the country forward.”

If spending the country into poverty is progress (our national debt grew to $16 trillion during President Obama’s first term) a reality check is needed.

Let’s stop blaming Bush, who had to work with a Congress controlled by Democrats both in the House and Senate during his first term. Also, when terrorists killed 3,000 plus Americans on 9/11 by flying planes into the World Trade Center twin towers in New York City, were we to stick our heads in the sand and hope it would all go away or to take a stand? Taking a stand was costly, but Americans and the world are safer. Still all our problems are blamed on George Bush by left wingers with one-track minds.

Two questions. Were conservatives responsible for the fiasco in Libya where a U.S. ambassador and three other Americans were killed? Where were all the knowledgeable “move on” nut jobs when Fox news was fighting to get the release of former U.S. Marine Jon Hammar who was locked up in a Mexican prison? Where were NBC, MSNBC and other “lean forward” news agencies?

Steve Jarrell

Miami Street

Hanahan

Violence in movies

On Dec. 22, something among the trash on the second page of The Post and Courier caught my eye. The headline: “ ‘Django’ mostly a blood-spattered bore.”

The review goes on, “Bullets, bullwhips and beatings produce slo-mo geysers of blood. ‘ ... I kill people and sell their corpses for cash.’ ” The film features a couple of Oscar winners, Jamie Fox and Christoph Waltz, who won his statuette for “Inglourious Basterds.”

Mr. President and all in Congress taking donations from the film industry, not another word about guns until violence in movies and video games is stopped. Shame on you! I wonder if Hollywood thinks what recently happened in Connecticut was a blood-spattered bore.

Butch Parker

Brick Landing Court

Mount Pleasant

Shameful facts

Thank goodness for Washington Post columnist Harold Meyerson’s willingness to “do the math” and publish figures which prove a shameful fact:

Our country, arguably the greatest and generally most compassionate in the world, has the highest rate of gun homicides among advanced nations.

Amid all the rhetoric and rationalizations with which we are certain to be bombarded in the coming year, one no-brainer stands out:

When guns are easy to get, it’s easy for the mentally deranged to shoot us and our children with them. Pulling the trigger of a gun is a lot easier and more impersonal than taking a life any other way.

I would also like to see statistics comparing the number of self-defense shootings with the number of accidental ones involving family guns; for example, those involving mistaking a family member or friend for an intruder and those in which a child has picked up an “inaccessible” gun and either shot himself or a playmate with it.

Vivian Smith

Whispering Cypress Drive

Charleston

Differing opinions

The Post and Courier has published two columns on successive days regarding the possible appointment of Chuck Hagel as Secretary of Defense — Rich Lowry opposing and Thomas Friedman supporting the nomination. Israel was at the core of the differing opinions.

Perhaps their personal histories explain their differing views. Lowry’s entire writing career has been in the cocoon of our country of comfort and privilege. Friedman was awarded an advanced degree in Middle Eastern studies from Oxford, and spent his early reporting years in Lebanon during their civil war, which was literally on his doorstep; followed by his next assignment in Israel.

The critical dynamic and consequences of the relationship between our civilian and military leadership are well described in Thomas Ricks’ new book, “The Generals.”

With John Kerry and Chuck Hagel in the cabinet — both of whom experienced the bitter taste of the poorly conceived and poorly managed Vietnam War (I am a veteran of that era) — we would have a civilian leadership capable of weighing potential of further military misadventures from the perspective of those who lived it. Friedman and Hagel have the life experiences that enable them to assess current events with a historical viewpoint, a critical attribute badly needed in today’s uncertain times.

Richard Gross

Oakmarsh Drive

Mount Pleasant

Beauty defaced

Recently I stopped by a local coffee shop and in front of me in line was a young woman with the face of an angel and perfect, translucent skin. She was well dressed. It is easy to imagine that when she blooms into full womanhood she will catch the eye of every man and be the envy of every other woman in a given room.Her conversation and smiles when speaking with her companions suggested that she is a cheerful companion who would be welcome by all persons of good spirit.

Yet there was something wrong.

Her beautiful face was intentionally disfigured by way of metal beads having been inserted. She apparently does not yet realize that beauty is one of life’s rare and fleeting treasures that should be cherished as long as it exists and not assailed. I hope somebody will give her some good advice.

WALTER D. CARR

Campbell Street

Charleston