Gun debate dividing community

I am a longtime resident of Virginia. I grew up in Alexandria, but truly fell in love with Virginia when we moved to Nelson County and the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains.

Virginia is renowned for many reasons: We have produced eight presidents — more than any other state. We have a world-class public college-university system and a leading technology and economic corridor. The Blue Ridge region, in particular, is home to well-known writers, artists, musicians and actors.

Nelson County itself is a diverse community of artisans, academics, sportsmen and families of all sizes — from the young to retired seniors. As a former educator with acquaintances across the county, I can attest that as a community we strive for the common goals of respecting one another and living in harmony.

These goals have been challenged by proponents of so-called “Second Amendment sanctuaries.” The drive to establish SAS across the state has fanned the flames of divisiveness. In Nelson County, it has pitted residents against one another, while tamping out civility, respect and reasoned debate. So much for living in harmony.

Still, I am hopeful. Recalling the legacy of great statesmen from Virginia, I am hopeful that careful research, civil debate and common sense will lead our duly elected representatives to make well-reasoned laws to protect all Virginians. I am hopeful, too, that we in Nelson County will follow those laws for the good of our community. It’s our legacy.



Gun column ‘over the top’

Chuck Amante, thy name is hyperbole. (Nelson County Times, “A clarion call to defend liberty,” Dec. 19)

No one wants to take your guns away; they simply want to reduce gun violence. Universal background checks will not take your guns away unless you believe that everyone should have access to a gun no matter their mental state or previous criminal record. Red flag laws will reduce suicides and domestic violence. Even an assault weapons ban would grandfather everyone who owns them. There is no “slippery slope” to taking your guns away.

You can rail against the godless Democrats all you want to, but do you think they are so stupid as to try to take your guns away? Plus, a very large percentage of your neighbors in Virginia support gun legislation. They can’t all be the enemy.

Your column also seems to suggest that the prime reason for keeping your guns is so you can participate in an armed insurrection. I thought we already did that once, and that is why we have a constitution.

Lastly, you end your column with “Sic Semper Tyrannis,” which is what John Wilkes Booth said before he killed Abraham Lincoln. Is that the company you want to keep? Perhaps you should take your “Sic Semper Tyrannis” and apply to the current occupant of the White House where it might do some good. Wouldn’t you be better off sitting down with other good people and have a rational discussion about curbing gun violence?



Writer: School security lacking

After walking into Nelson County High School unchecked this past year, I can no longer remain silent.

I addressed this issue with a school official in May 2019. In order to prevent school shootings, you must secure the perimeter. Don’t let the shooter, or potential shooter, get inside. Right now, there is no deterrent. I got in as the buses were unloading. As of this past November, we in Nelson County now have one thing in common with schools across the nation in that we never thought it would happen here. Complacency will get you killed.

I have made a request through the School Board to Superintendent Martha Eagle to ask the governor for support. Yes, that means the Virginia Army National Guard. Soliders will take securing the perimeter seriously. Had this been in place, the student caught in November would have never gotten in. The Guard has enormous assets, and we citizens help fund it with our tax dollars.

I have also spoken with Sheriff David Hill, and he has his resource officers in place and they do their job, but more is needed. The Guard can be on the inside too.

I know there will be those who disagree with me. They will say it “looks” like a militarized society. To them, I say, “Really? You don’t mind sending them overseas to their potential death.” I should know, I lost a solider who deployed with me to Afghanistan. I also know this, if your enemy (school shooter) doesn’t fear you, they keep coming.

We have a war here at home. We need to protect our children. The Guard can do it. They will bond and interact with the students. A potential shooter has to “think” about it now.

Superintendent Eagle, I hope the governor is receptive to your request, and he does not make money an issue. Young people are our priceless future.

To the parents and guardians of the students of Nelson County, you deserve an answer.


Piney River

Looking back; looking ahead

My first letter of 2019 will do a brief review of the year and then look forward to what we’d love to see in 2020.

The past year saw the continued craziness of the Trump administration capture a phenomenal amount of the media’s attention.

Recently, however, I did notice that the most outlandish of the president’s tweets, lies (The Washington Post has now 15,413 tabulated untruths by the president since he took office) and conspiracies don’t even make the news cycles. They are treated as not newsworthy everyday experiences. The impeachment possibilities, U.S. election possibilities and global advancement without U.S. involvement are more interesting to report on. And the world is moving on.

This past year saw renewable power become so cheap in Texas that some power companies are giving it away on the weekends and between 9 p.m. and 9 a.m. everyday. Octopus Energy in the United Kingdom actually paid some of its customers to use the power its wind turbines were generating on an exceptionally blustery weekend. Locally the Arrington-based Central Virginia Electric Co-op is planning additional solar fields and battery storage for off-peak electricity. I can’t yet picture the CVEC giving their power away, but then I never pictured that for Texas, either. And though plenty of coal still goes by Gladstone on the way to eastern Virginia power plants, I also expect that to dwindle away to almost nothing in the coming decade. If I’m fortunate enough to be still residing here on 2030’s New Year, I suspect the coal trains to be a memory only. Across the world renewable energy production is growing rapidly because governments are supporting it; unfortunately the U.S. is presently not doing so but even it cannot defeat the pure economic force of renewable power efficiency. It will quite soon be necessary to use renewable power to be successful.

And that can’t come too soon for the thousands in Australia who will be forced to evacuate their homes due to wildfire dangers. Australia, like the U.S., is dumping its excess fossil fuel production on the world markets so I have a hard time feeling sorry for them as they battle the disastrous effects of climate change.

In 2020, I’d like to see the General Assembly to follow the example of North Carolina and offer significant tax credits on renewable energy projects. It is amazing to see all the photovoltaic power production fields on a drive through North Carolina. Then to think that Richmond-based Dominion Power is stuck on already obsolete fossil fuel projects like the Atlantic Coast Pipeline. Will this monstrosity be an albatross around the necks of Dominion investors and ratepayers for decades? The Virginia ratepayers would be much better served by renewable energy infrastructure. In 2020, I’d like to hear that the ACP project has been trashed and investment funds re-assigned to the offshore wind farm Dominion is supposed to be planning.

Finally, 2020 gives the U.S. perhaps its last chance to change from an inwardly looking uninvolved republic back to the global example it once was. We can do so much better by replacing our infantile president with someone of global stature who will help the common people instead of just using them as BS repositories. Someone we can follow with our heads held high instead of always looking down in shame and disgust as we endeavor to avoid the piles along the way. We can do so much better.



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