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Laura Galante: Statement On Mass Shootings In El Paso and Dayton

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In the span of a mere 13 hours this weekend, 29 Americans, including 4 children, were murdered at a Wal-Mart in El Paso and at an entertainment district in Dayton, Ohio. The El Paso shooting is the 8th deadliest in American history, and the Dayton shooting is the 250th mass shooting this year. Two other shootings earlier this week, one at a neighborhood Wal-Mart and another at a garlic festival, mean 34 Americans died in mass shootings this week alone.

We mourn and pray for the families who lost loved ones in El Paso, Dayton, Gilroy and Southaven, but we owe these families more than words. Law–abiding gun owners in rural Virginia know what responsible gun ownership looks like. It’s time our politicians took their responsibility to preserve both public safety and the Second Amendment seriously. We must act now to deal with this scourge at both the state and federal level.

In Virginia’s General Assembly that means enacting common sense measures like:

• Enacting Extreme Risk Protection Orders—so that when someone sees something and says something, law enforcement and a judge have the tools to act if someone is a danger to themselves or others.

• Expanding Background Checks—87% of gun owners support background checks. We must eliminate the background check loopholes, especially for online sales.

• Increasing mental health resources for schools and communities. Virginia has a serious shortage of mental health professionals and services. We need to address the shortage with improved access, especially in underserved areas of the Commonwealth.

This year, when presented with opportunities to address these same measures, Michael Webert failed us. He refused to consider Extreme Risk Protection Orders, which allow law enforcement to temporarily remove guns from people who endanger themselves or others. He voted against requiring criminal background checks on Internet sales. Webert voted to allow gun purchasers who could not pass a background check within 3 days to buy guns anyway. That’s not leadership; that’s abdicating your responsibility as an elected official.

Enacting these measures won’t stop all shootings but they will help. They will help more Americans come home alive from shopping malls, restaurants, festivals, schools and churches. “We have a culture of firearm safety and responsible ownership in the 18th District,” said Laura Galante. “It’s time our politicians became as responsible as the law-abiding Virginia citizens they seek to represent.”

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Opinion

Memorials: A prominent place for honoring

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For four decades we served our country, nearly 22 years stationed overseas. In many countries we visited memorials honoring those who fought and died for their home and country. While Germans share remorse for World Wars I and II, for example, they nevertheless honor their fallen soldiers with memorials that are often located prominently near the town center. The memorials, often decorated with wreaths or flowers, serve as a reminder of those who perished, the many lessons of humanity, and the consequences of wars.

The Civil War memorial in front of the Warren County Courthouse likewise serves to honor the fallen and the sacrifices of local families. It allows one to reflect upon the cost of war, the lessons of injustice, and the moral ills that plagued our country during those times. Although people interpret its symbolism differently, most see it for what it is: a memorial.

If one honestly supports democracy, then one should want the people’s voice heard. We believe the Board of Supervisors made the right decision to ask the citizens of Warren County through the ballot instead of taking unilateral action on a very politically and emotionally contentious proposal to remove the memorial.

Instead of the cost and emotional divineness of removing a memorial, maybe the citizens of Warren County could unite to erect a similarly prominent memorial to honor those who suffered under slavery in Virginia?

Dave & Toni Gosinski
Bentonville, Virginia

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Political stereotyping by Republicans called out by Democratic reader

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I met a Republican the other day who said he was left-handed. Employing the logic of the Republican Party, I can reasonably conclude that all Republicans are left-handed: If one is, they all are.

I am a Democrat. I am not a socialist. Joe Biden is a Democrat. He is not a socialist. Bernie Sanders does not belong to the Democratic Party. He says he is a democratic socialist and ran for the Democratic nomination as such. He was soundly defeated by Joe Biden. The Democratic Party chose a moderate to be their standard bearer.

I have even heard Democrats say that they have found Biden to be too conservative for their taste.

But the “left-handed” Republicans have become experts at setting urban against rural, black against white, and now in desperation as the election approaches, they are trying to sell the notion that all Democrats are socialists.

Democrats are no more all socialists than all Republicans are left-handed.

I first met Joe Biden in 1973. I have followed his career with great interest. Joe Biden has the temperament and ability to find the good in people, even those who oppose his views. He is a healer not a divider.

Tom Howarth
Warren County, Virginia

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We cannot afford to leave out truth

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Let me begin by saying I am not a politician, nor am I running for any local office. What I am, is an observer, and on occasion I have commented on issues by writing to the editor. My beliefs as a citizen of a local area, state, and country as it stands right now, is the freedom to speak logical and with reasonable understanding.

Why, I ask myself, does one person or a group of people think it is okay to destroy, cause havoc, and spread hate and discontent, and think this is peace and progress, is beyond me! What happen to the unified citizenry that made this nation so great in the first place?

Too think that bricks or stones, yes even statues make us into a righteous nation is plain ignorance about humanity. What does bring about what will keep us a great nation, a better human being, yes even a great town to live in, is TRUTH!

My simplicity of being an observer, is to find out and follow the truth! Not what someone else tells me, nor what their outlook of their perceptions on issues or matters are! This is what is so great about this country, I can pursue finding out for myself what is factual and true.

With local and state and nationwide voting this year, we cannot afford to leave out truth, nor be one-sided in our humanity. But if we seek truth above all, too let our hearts and minds seek what is knowing to be right that serves for the people, of the people and by the people? I believe we will be blessed by God, our Creator.

Tenia Smith
Front Royal, Virginia

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There is a more appropriate place to honor the statue soldiers than in front of the Warren County Courthouse

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I have to say that I am proud of Front Royal and all its citizens that are having a peaceful, respectful, and substantive conversation about moving the Civil War statue from in front of the Warren County Courthouse. I have heard both sides of the argument and considered them both.

If you take away all the emotion that comes with the history on both sides of the issue, for me the logic comes down to this:

If the soldiers that are named on the statue had won the war, Front Royal would not be in the United States of America. It would be part of a southern Confederacy.

The Warren County Courthouse is a living, working symbol of the American rule of law. The statue out front is not. Therefore, I believe there is an inconsistency to its location.

I understand wanting to honor ancestors of this area that fought and died, but I believe there is a more appropriate place to do that than in front of the Warren County Courthouse.

Voting YES on Ballot Initiative #3 would honor those ancestors in a respectful place to do that.

Kathleen Mancini
Linden, Virginia

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Justice is a must – EDA scandal not to be forgotten

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Warren County has experienced and been violated through a $21M embezzlement that appears to have extended roots beyond the EDA.  Our community has witnessed several arrests in relation to this crime and saw charges dropped, a sheriff’s loss of life, the resignations of a County Attorney, EDA Chair and other EDA Board members and a County Finance Director, the rotation and changes in our Judicial System, the retirement of a school superintendent, our new Board of Supervisors wisely releasing a long-time County Administrator, with an Assistant County Administrator and a Fire Chief’s announcements of retirement following, the county taking fiscal responsibility of the EDA without providing insight on the loss incurred.

All the while, the Town of Front Royal gathered and reported their loss along with the filing of a lawsuit.  Yes, I agree, Warren County can do better than this!  I commend and thank the new Board of Supervisors who have the courage to stand and make decisions for the betterment of our entire community – that is truly service above self!  Your diligent work in learning and perseverance is not going unnoticed!

The reprimands made to the new Board for their decision in declining a renewal contract for the County Administrator, makes me question what is known, or what one may be involved in?  In my opinion, the comment using military lingo to describe our past administrator was an insult to the men and women of our US Armed Forces.  It takes very strong and courageous people to wear the boots of the “Best of the Best”, as they willingly and tirelessly put their lives on the line – with some having given their all to protect the Freedoms of this Nation.  During this administrator’s tenure, he served on several Boards/Committees in the county, taxes were consistently raised year after year, an increased budget of $6.1M was submitted during this pandemic crisis, an empty and still empty warehouse building on Baugh Drive was purchased for $5M owned by the EDA, with a resolution that the county would pay; one signature being that of this administrator, costing the citizens $26K a month over the past few years and still going, the county has over $90M in bonds and has extended them through 2040, lawsuits were filed against the county, school property has been used as collateral for renovations on buildings and for the construction of the new Fire Department, as well as another building being used as collateral for the purchase of 2 new fire trucks.

Warren County has the potential to rise above and thrive – now and for generations to come.  This scandal needs to be fully exposed, corrected, and accountability being put on the shoulders of those responsible, regardless of their level of power!  Do not forget – Justice is a must and is – what’s right!

Leslie Mathews
Warren County, Virginia

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Thoughts on the Confederate statue removal at the Warren County Courthouse

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To the Editor:

On August 4, Tony Carter, a member of the Warren County Board of Supervisors, offered a motion that would put the question of whether the Confederate statue on the Courthouse lawn should be relocated to a referendum on November 3.

One opponent of the relocation said, “it’s in the bag.”

It seems obvious that they did not want any public comment on his motion, but word got out, and several people came at the last minute expressing their frustration that they had no time to prepare their remarks on a matter of some sensitivity.

Nonetheless, it seems poor sport to argue that allowing the people to decide the issue is wrong.

Were the public schools in Warren County desegregated in the 1950s by a popular vote? No, they were not. It was the State Supreme Court that protected minority children. In 1965, did the citizens of Alabama, by popular referendum, allow black people to vote?

Confederate statues and flags tell the country that the South had school integration and black voting forced on them. They never accepted black advancement.

Lynching used to be discussed as something that happened in “the bad of days.” In 2020, we saw the lynching of George Floyd on our television screens. His killing and that of others have caused people around the country, Virginia, and the world to take a hard look at their racist past and rid themselves of the stain. Will there be such introspection in Warren County?

If others think relocation of the statue is ill-advised, will they come forward to offer other changes as evidence that they hear the cry of black citizens?

Your move, Mr. Carter.

Tom Howarth
Front Royal, Virginia

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