Newspapers more vital than ever

The weekly newspaper in my wife’s hometown in southwest Arkansas published its final edition recently after 121 years. For about 50 of those years, it and another weekly which eventually merged with it were owned and operated by her family. My late father-in-law was editor and publisher when my wife and I met and married. It’s like losing a family member.

So many local newspapers have disappeared. In my hometown in southwest Arkansas, the daily newspaper went belly up many months ago. It has been replaced with a new publication by folks I’ve known for decades; I wish them every success.

My dad’s first job after returning from World War II service and finishing college was as a sports writer for the San Antonio Express in Texas. He went on to a career as a high school English and journalism teacher and later as a professor of journalism at two small colleges. He sent many of his students to successful and distinguished careers in the field. Journalism and newspapers have been part of my life for as long as I can remember. I can still smell the printer’s ink and hear the clatter of the presses.

I cannot imagine starting my day without coffee and the local newspaper. Lynchburgers should know that their local paper, The News & Advance, is one of the best around. I have relatives in much larger towns whose papers carry only national wire service news, leaving their readers uninformed about local issues that matter most to them. The News & Advance does a superb job of informing residents of the city and of the surrounding counties. The editorial page publishes letters, columns and political cartoons from all sides of the spectrum. The N&A sports editor writes clever headlines that make me laugh regularly.

Yes, you can read articles online for “free” (although every click generates revenue for the business). But a subscription brings you more and helps support something that is definitely worth supporting. You need the news. But the news needs you, too.

A citizen of a participatory democracy should be an informed citizen, and a good local newspaper is the best way to become one. Support your local newspaper, wherever you are. Subscribe!

NEAL SUMERLIN

Lynchburg

Safe haven for guns

I’d like to commend Campbell County and numerous others for taking swift action in declaring themselves a Second Amendment sanctuary in anticipation of the oncoming anti-gun insanity from state Democrats. I’d also like to thank Rosemary Urban for reminding us all in her Nov. 21 letter to the editor that we did in fact “do this dance” when Obama was in office ... and it worked. His radical gun banning agenda was successfully stopped. Now, this fight will continue in Virginia.

Fresh off their election win, Virginia Democrats are wasting no time showing mega donor Michael Bloomberg what he got for his money. As expected, they’ve pre-filed Senate Bill No. 16, and it is every bit a piece of tyrannical, oppressive, anti-freedom trash as one can imagine. The same anti-gun hysterics of Gov. Ralph Northam and Democrats have already been seen in New York and California. Arbitrary restrictions on cosmetic features of weapons or magazine limits have absolutely no effect on crime whatsoever.

Additionally, see the Virginia State Crime Commission’s Final Report on Mass Killings and Gun Violence dated Nov. 12 which states: “Our commonwealth is one of the safest states in the nation. Our firearm mortality rate is below the national average. We have the fourth-lowest violent crime rate in the country.” It also goes on to say: “We have achieved this ... by enacting sound, evidence-based public policy through thoughtful legislative dialogue.”

Virginia is not New York. Virginia is not California. Virginians will show Bloomberg he has wasted his money.

DONALD GRAHAM

Rustburg

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