Holiday cheer

On Christmas morning, the true charitable spirit of North Charleston and the Metro Charleston area was on display. Where else could you find 250-plus volunteers gather to help children most of them did not even know?

North Charleston police and fire department officers led these volunteers through neighborhoods and passed out toys to more than 600 pre-selected children.

These families were identified by police officers and fire department personnel who had answered calls throughout the year and found children in need. There were families broken up by violence, residential fires and even prison sentences for one or both parents.

Toys also were given to more than 500 children who had been missed by the many agencies that try so hard. These children found out that the police and their community care about them.

Special thanks to all the volunteers, the citizens who donated to Toys for Tots, other area police and fire departments that participated, and Channel 2 News and Rob Fowler who assisted in making these efforts happen.

Sgt. Gary Zimmer

Toys for Tots Coordinator

Judicial Services Supervisor

North Charleston

Police Department

City Hall Lane

North Charleston

Tackle new threat

On 9/11, two planes crashed into the World Trade Center. We had no idea they were coming. Since that day, travel hasn't been the same, our foreign policy has been redirected and our trust in our allies (and even ourselves) is at a low point.

We've spent billions (and more on the way) in attempts to keep ourselves safe from any similar event, and some of those efforts have paid off. We didn't see those planes coming, and we didn't understand the fanaticism flying them.

But there are other "planes" headed our way, and we can see them. We have seen them coming for years now. Those "planes" are increasing debt, infrastructure decay and education degradation. Terrorists aren't flying them this time.

What's flying these "planes" is self-interest and indifference - perhaps our two worst enemies. We just don't seem to care, and when we do, we concentrate on the cost rather than the benefit. We've spent billions in places like Basra and Baghdad, Kandahar and Kabul. But try to spend on infrastructure or education and you hear cries of waste, tax and spend, and government interference.

Rebuilding our infrastructure and education systems are national problems with significant national interests at stake, but that doesn't mean they should be addressed with national solutions.

Investing in infrastructure, the backbone of commerce and an essential element in our economy and our national security, should be a national effort. We need new models for educating the labor and management workforce for this century. Implementing improvements in education is a local job; it can't be a one-size-fits-all approach.

Reducing our national debt is far more daunting, but not impossible. Neither party is touting the recent budget agreement too loudly. Pundits make the most of it for being an attempt for both sides to actually agree on something. Not a very high bar.

We have to make substantive changes to Social Security and Medicare (I am a beneficiary of both) if our grip on government spending is to be by more than a thread. What the budget agreement lacks is the courage to tackle our real national threat, insolvency.

These "planes" are in plain sight, and we still have time to change their direction. But not much time.

Skip Crane

Seabrook Island Road

Johns Island

Where are they?

In a Medal of Honor presentation ceremony, Ronald Reagan asked, "Where do we find such men? We find them where we've always found them - in our villages and towns, on our city streets, in our shops and on our farms."

Hopefully, we will always find those men and women, and they will continue to put their lives on the line to keep safe those in political power who would see fit to deny them promised rewards for faithful service.

A Navy retiree at 70 years of age, I am past the recent decision by those politicians to cut retirement benefits to those under the age of 62.

But, down the road somewhere, if they decide they need some of my money more than I do to finance some scheme or other, I'm sure I'll be on the losing end.

Where do we find such men? You probably won't find many in the House, the Senate or the White House.

CARL E. SMITH

Sea Lavender Lane

Summerville

Gun laws

In a Dec. 22 editorial you have once again made an entirely nonsensical plea for "rational gun laws." You prattle on about tragic gun violence, particularly in schools, without offering one law that would have prevented the violence. A gun is an inanimate object and is incapable of any action on its own.

Why don't people who really care about "gun" violence demand laws that punish criminals who use legal objects in an illegal way? Why don't the media get on the case of liberal judges who let felons off with minimum sentences?

Let's face it, everyone wants to see less gun crime - all crime in general. But the answer is not to pass irrelevant gun laws that only seem to punish honest citizens and have no impact on the criminals who couldn't care less.

Please publish statistics on how many crimes were committed by people who purchased weapons legally and how many by people who committed their crimes with illegally obtained guns.

Since you are so convinced that the NRA wants to harm America, please list all the gun crimes committed by NRA members, licensed to carry weapons.

When politicians and the media stop using tragic school shootings as advertising events, and we develop laws to contain repeat criminals and all gun felons, we will see a drastic drop in gun violence, and support from the public.

Larry Wiessmann

Seabrook Island Road

Johns Island

Don't blame trees

It is a well known fact that trees will win in a collision with a vehicle. There are citizens who advocate removing these objects from the median of I-26, thinking it will save lives. Wrong.

Inattention, ignorance, incapacitation, ineptitude or intoxication take lives. Trees are not at fault. It is drivers who have to adapt, not trees.

It is a harsh reality and sometimes difficult to admit that people are the aggressors, not nature.

A plea to the S.C. Legislature and the Department of Transportation: Please do not make our highways look like the New Jersey Turnpike. Mental lapses or flaws cannot be eliminated or mitigated by legislation.

William King

Seagrass Lane

Isle of Palms

Health insurance

My company was sold, and I was downsized as a result, losing my health insurance as of last January.

Through the Healthcare.gov website I found an affordable policy, and I will now begin paying premiums. Yes, I will pay my premiums.

I did experience some delay and glitches with the website, but I was patient. I knew there would be glitches, and I knew they would be fixed. Nothing this large and wide-sweeping comes without problems.

In spite of all the lies and misinformation circulating by Republicans, the Affordable Care Act is a good thing.

The Healthcare.gov website is a clearinghouse for insurers to come together and offer the consumer a wide array of policies.

Other than my name, address and income information, there was no other "personal" info requested or given to contribute to a phony "security breach."

From now on I will be dealing with my new insurance carrier, not the government. I ask any reasonable person, why is this a bad thing?

Millie Moore

Hamlet Road

Summerville