Easy solutions

We can argue about our problems, whether they are economic, political, racial or other, but I have a rather simple program toward the solution. It will still take quite a while to see the results, but let's get started:

. A mother and father who are married to raise children.

. Daily parental involvement in educating and monitoring children.

. An education at school and at home.

After that, it will be up to the individual, but the chance of success will be much greater than what is happening today.

Roger K. Steel

Marsh Hen Drive

Seabrook Island

Guns in bars

I don't often agree with Brian Hicks' opinions; however, I totally agree with his Jan. 26 column. I was one of only 18 representatives to vote against allowing weapons in establishments that sell alcohol. It has been my experience in life that alcohol and guns don't mix.

I have never been in a restaurant where I, or my family, felt unsafe. If that were a concern I would simply go to another restaurant.

I am a defender of the Second Amendment and believe you have the right to possess guns. I own rifles, shotguns, and pistols. My sons have numerous guns that are primarily used for hunting. There are just some places that I think guns should not be allowed, and bars are one of them.

I understand the Tampa, Fla., movie theater shooter had a concealed weapons permit and was a retired police officer.

REP. Edward Southard

S.C. House

Berkeley County

Dennis Boulevard

Moncks Corner

Tree debate

The debate over removing trees or installing a cable barrier in sections of the 1-26 median between Summerville and its intersection with 1-95 rages on. As with all things of a controversial nature, one is well advised to do his own research. I recently drove I-26 to and from the Highway 11 exit near the North Carolina border, and to follow is what I observed:

Most of 1-26 passes through rural areas, and along those rural miles it is scenic whether the median is forested or in sod. The section between Summerville and 1-95 is not all forested. Some of the forested median sections are already protected by guardrails, and it is reasonable to expect that those sections would remain so if S.C. Department of Transportation follows through on the proposed project. The entire median will not be clear cut.

Pines are the predominate tree, and most have grown to saw timber size. While saplings can act as a restraining cushion when hit by a vehicle, a vehicle encountering a large tree can result in injuries, some fatal.

Vehicles will continue to wreck in the median. How and why they do is a separate issue not properly a part of the median-clearing debate. It is being employed as a red herring by one side of the debate.

Another red herring is alleged glare from headlights and sunlight. The median is wide enough to prevent headlight glare, and there will be days when the sun's rays will be at issue no matter what might be done in the median.

What is of importance is what happens once a vehicle enters the median: Is it good public policy to accept some injuries and deaths in order to preserve the esthetic value of existing trees? Or is it better policy to remove trees along designated stretches of 1-26 and install cable and other barriers where it is documented that there are safety needs? This writer believes addressing safety issues should trump esthetic concerns.

Walter Carr

Ashley River Road

Charleston

Ethics rules

Let me put it this way for people who are confused by the discussion of ethics rules in S.C.

The conflicts of interest allowed by this state's current ethics rules would be grounds for immediate discharge or criminal indictment in private industry.

Terry Tsurutis

Bull Street

Charleston

Don't spank

Charleston Police Chief Greg Mullen hopes to form a special family violence squad that would address the hundreds of criminal domestic violence cases in the city every year. This is an excellent idea, but the police need more help than that to stop family violence.

Unfortunately, inflicting pain on children to get what an adult wants is approved by much of our society. Spanking children as a form of "discipline" is a common practice in many families, passed on from generation to generation.

Some justify it by the contemptible advice from Proverbs in the Old Testament: "Spare the rod and spoil the child." Some ministers have been known to encourage it from the pulpit.

Some school districts in South Carolina even allow teachers to paddle children. Numerous studies show that children who are spanked are more likely to fight with their schoolmates and siblings.

And why wouldn't children who are hit and humiliated for years grow up to be spouse and child beaters? They have learned from their parents' violent examples that the way to get what they want, or express their anger and frustration, is by inflicting pain on others.

A lot of people have no idea how to peacefully raise well-behaved children. Parenting skills don't come automatically, and new parents usually follow the examples of their own parents.

There is a crying need in our community for parent education. Every school should have ongoing parenting classes to help stressed-out parents learn effective and peaceful ways to raise children. Help for parents should be free on demand and easily accessible from child psychologists.

At least 34 countries have banned corporal punishment entirely. Using police to stop the cycle of domestic violence after it has occurred is commendable, but far short of what is needed.

Sharon Fratepietro

George Street

Charleston

Communications

Francis Marion University historian John Britton recently published a seminal work on information technology, "Cables, Crises, and the Press," which chronicles the impact of undersea telegraph cables on world politics and the press.

Where diplomatic messages once traveled by ship, cables linked six continents by the late 1800s. A revealing crisis involved a Spanish general in Cuba who was executing crew members, including several U.S. citizens, from the ship Virginius.

Instant communications allowed diplomats in Washington to intervene with their counterparts in Madrid (as well as dispatch a British gunboat, with a larger U.S. warship en route) to save 50 of the crew, after just as many had been murdered.

The feverish pitch of diplomacy detailed by Professor Britton in the Virginius situation makes you wonder what happened over 140 years later in Benghazi, where the flow of information could not have been an issue.

But rather than point the finger at politicians, my personal take on the situation involves command and control problems, which can be either "too many layers" or "too many players."

"Too many players" was clearly the Benghazi problem, with administration underlings paralyzing any real action. Benghazi should have been averted by people at the top realizing that their intervention was required. Three players at the highest level of the administration, the militar, and the diplomatic corps could have addressed the issue, just as Secretary of State Hamilton Fish took charge of his problem in 1873.

William McLellan

Kilmarnock Way

Charleston

Storm warning

Let's applaud our local and state officials and workers for their good judgment in alerting us about the impending danger of the recent storm.

I am sure that some folks were inconvenienced, but this whole region was prepared and responded to avoid the mess that we saw happen in Atlanta.

Let's all give them a big cheer and thank you.

Michael Newman

Montagu Court

Charleston