Permanent scar

An article recently noted that student protests over the appointment of a new president are ending at the College of Charleston. That may be the case, but the damage done by the college trustees is just beginning.

We met the New England parents of a highly competitive prospective student this week here on a college visit. They must have been wondering whether it was 150 years too late for their daughter's possible school to be led by someone in a Confederate uniform. How many qualified students may now choose to go elsewhere given the trustees presidential choice?

How many qualified prospective faculty members will look elsewhere for an academic home, given the lack of academic leadership at College of Charleston, due to political influence that clearly impacted the college search, since none of the top five candidates was selected?

Will more donors now choose to send their support elsewhere, reflecting a lack of support in the trustees and new president, something that already has begun?

And how many state politicians, who pushed their colleague for the college presidency over the objections of a highly qualified search firm, will offer support to that colleague, now that he has given up his political power for a larger paycheck?

Student protests may be winding down, but the damage to the college and the community will be long lasting.

Dennis Black

Basildon Road

Mount Pleasant

Wave defense

There is a lot of excitement surrounding the Wave Dissipation Device (WDD). The S.C. Legislature is in the process of enacting a bill that when signed would allow the WDD to be considered a possible solution to specific beach erosion problems. Before any deployments it would have to be approved and receive permits.

The structure's design is elegant in its simplicity. It reminds me of a large Lego set.

It is a temporary fix that can be rapidly removed. It is aesthetically pleasing, especially when compared to 500-pound sandbags, rip rap, revetments or groins.

The WDD crossbars (reinforced PVC piping) between the anchor posts allow some of the wave force to pass through, thereby breaking and disrupting the wave force on the shore and sand dunes (stopping erosion). Some sand can be deposited behind the crossbars.

One critical feature is that normal wave patterns down the beach are not disturbed.

Dismantling (such as in turtle nesting season) does not destroy the WDD. It can be deployed to another location. Once deployed, impacts can be evaluated and studied.

Intelligent decisions can be made based on empirical data gained from test deployments. Bear in mind that the WDD will not stretch for miles, but for yards, and only in selected hot spots where erosion threatens buildings, golf courses, bridges or highways.

The WDD is the first new solution I have observed. Ongoing test deployments should provide valuable data to be evaluated.

I salute the fair and balanced coverage that The Post and Courier, as well as members of the S.C. Legislature, have given this promising initiative.

Guy L. Hecker Jr.

Maj. Gen., U.S Air Force

(Retired)

Palmetto Drive

Isle of Palms

Putin's blunder

As much as we might yell and scream, it is likely that Russia will win again in Ukraine. It is unlikely that NATO will send troops into that non-NATO country. It is also unlikely that Ukrainian troops will be able to take back Russian-speaking areas of Ukraine. Even less likely is the use of American troops.

But longer term, Russia is inviting disaster. The economy of Russia is about the size of France, or slightly larger than that of California. Almost half of the operating income of the government comes from the sale of oil and gas to other countries. Europe is very likely to substitute the gas and oil they use from Russia with other more secure and politically reliable sources.

The U.S. will be the biggest oil and gas producer in the world next year. Gas can be liquefied and shipped. Trade embargoes and the decline in foreign investment will also hurt Russia. Already more than $62 billion has fled its economy this year alone.

Russian economic growth this year is expected to be zero. A country with an economy approximately 15 percent the size of the U.S. economy, or 7 percent the size of the economy of the U.S. and the European Union combined, is unlikely to be able to support a huge military to keep up with NATO,

And NATO has announced that it will be moving more troops into NATO countries that were formerly members of the old Soviet bloc in Eastern Europe. It also spells disaster to lose trade with the U.S. and E.U. combined.

I think it is fairly certain that, longer term, Putin's strategy is a big loser. Russia will continue to sink as an economic and therefore a military power. You can't have the latter without the former. And the country's economy is already unimpressive.

William A. Johnson

Serotina Court

Mount Pleasant

Final choices

Our ability to choose - to think about a situation and select an option - is basic to what we are as persons. We decide how we spend our time, money and attention - what we wear, what we eat, how we make our living and with whom we spend our time.

Some of our most important decisions, however, may not come daily or monthly or yearly, but at the end of our lives. Decisions about the type and extent of care we receive need to be clear to our health care providers even if we are unconscious and unable to tell them.

In South Carolina, the Adult Health Care Consent Act gives hospitals and physicians a list of people to ask about your wishes if you are unable to communicate them. However, this list gives equal voice and opinion to family members who may not know or agree with your choices, and consequently, they may not be carried out.

The durable power of attorney for health care is a state statute that allows you to name, in order, whom you trust to make your health care decisions if you were unable to. This document, available for download at http://www.state.sc.us/dmh/consumer_resources/powerofattorney.pdf allows you to state your choices about end-of-life care. Once completed, signed and appropriately witnessed, copies can be kept at your home, with your doctor and with those you trust to be sure that your choices and dignity are protected.

Now is the time to think about end-of-life health care wishes. No matter how old we are, we should discuss our thoughts, beliefs and choices with those we trust.

We owe it to ourselves, those close to us and our society to address this issue promptly and clearly.

Walter Limehouse, M.D.

John Roberts, M.D.

MUSC

Ashley Avenue

Charleston

Share a smile

I recently visited a resident at a local nursing facility. As a retired nurse, I know the importance of acknowledging people with a smile, a gentle touch or kind words. What I saw that day leads me to share a little bit of advice to caregivers and visitors alike.

A few residents were sitting by themselves with no one to talk to. No one stopped by to say hello, give a smile or a gentle squeeze of the hand. It could have been you or me.

Although some of the residents may not know of our presence, they are still alive and need that personal connection. We really don't know what goes on in others' minds. Give them the benefit of the doubt and treat them as you would a family member or friend.

It may be you or I some day. I sure would want someone to stop and say, "Hi," or give me a hug or two.

As I was leaving, one resident thanked me for coming.

It made my day.

EILEEN WILSON

Popular Hill Drive

Cross

Don't blame us

Thank goodness the legal ban on affirmative action began north of the Mason Dixon Line.

LENNY BRANCH

Northcutt Boulevard

Mount Pleasant