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February 21, 2018     The Monroe County Reporter
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& ED ITORIALS Declare among the nations, and publish, and set up a standard; publish, and conceal not; Jeremiah 50:2 4A 2016 and 2017 winner: Editorial Page excellence 2016 winner: Sports Photography excellence 2016 winner= News I~hoetog raphy excellence 2016 winner: Front Page excellence 2()17 winner: Best H umor Column - On the Porch ON THE PORCH by Will Davis Turning boys into men i reaSSistant principal at T.G. Scott Elementary hool in Forsyth has probably shot more guns in places than anyone in Monroe County. n a previous career, Chad Sanders travelled globe as a hunting guide, sometimes filming for popular hunting shows, and even hunting with come- dian Jeff Foxworthy. You don't get gigs like that if you're not a pretty good shot. In Sanders' new second career, as a speaker at Wild Game Dinners, he shares incredible stories about those hunts, including a harrowing encounter with hippos in Africa. Ask him to tell you about it ifyou get the chance. After that experience, Sanders can probably handle third graders pretty easily. Anyway, after 17 people were killed in last week's school shooting in south Florida, all sides are throwing out ideas of how to stop this trend of kids getting killed in schools. Some have opined that we should ban certain kinds of guns to address this problem. But others rightly note that the Second Amendment to the Constitution clearly forbids Congress from doing so. Besides, many of the most violent places in the country, think Chicago, have the strictest gun control laws. Others have suggested that we end the designation Of schools as gun-free zones. After all, most mass murders of this kind have taken place in gun-free zones like schools, theaters, university campuses and even (absurd I know) military bases like Fort Hood. After hijackers converted commerc'ml airliners into mis- sties on 9-11, some airlines gave pilots the ability to carry a concealed weapon on them during flights. Of course pilots are already screened for moral and physical fitness. So if they want to volunteer and are willing to take a law enforcement class, they can carry a pistol that would pro- vent, say, Muslim terrorists armed with box cutters from hijacking the plane. I don't think we've had a hijacking in the U.S. since. Some have suggested such a policy for the schools. The idea is to let teachers who are interested and have experi- ence with guns take a class, and the authorize them to carry a concealed weapon. Would Chad Sanders be willing to do it? I don't know. But when my youngest son enrolls at T.G. Scott in August, I know I would feel really good if I knew Sanders was them with a gun. The alternative is what we've been doing. Some nut like Nikolas Cruz goes into one of our gun-free zones with mur- der in his heart. And he's the only one armed. There's no deterrent. There's no answer to his gun, and our children are left defenseless, like sheep to the slaughter. I whole-heartedly endorse the idea of letting teachers and administrators volunteer to carry a concealed weapon in our schools. I don't know if the Georgia legislature has the guts to aUow it. But they should. Our kids would be safer. If only we can put hysteria aside long enough to admit it. Like gun control, other solutions to school shootings also tend to run up against our Constitution. Social media seems to be giving more young people a burning desire to be famous, whatever it takes. But how do you limit social media without infringing upon the First Amendment? You can't. But them is something we can all do. You know, 50 years of the feminist movement has left boys in big trouble. If girls can do anything that boys can do, as X,a ~.~x.~.~ the culture says, then whafs the point of a boy? The truth is, boys were made to do special things well. What?!? I know, we're not supposed to say it. But boys need to be told they have a purpose. They're important. The feminist movement has been so "successful" that many boys feel sidelined, like they're nothing but trouble. So in a day when more women are going to medical and law school than mer boys need to hear the message that they matter. They have a purpose that no one else can fill. So ffwe know any troubled boys --~ maybe a loner, the kid with the rough family background, we ought to ask ourselves: What can others, especially men, do to help that boy find his way? Teach him to work on cars? Take him to ballgames? We nee~l to roach out to the thousands of boys falling between the cracks. Ifs important not just because it might prevent another Parkdale High School shooting, but because our families and our communities rise or fall on whether we succeed at turning our boys into successful men. the Monroe County www. MyMCR.net is published every week by The Monroe County Reporter Inc. Will Davis, President Robert M. Williams Jr Vice President Cheryl S. Williams, Secretary-Treasurer OUR STAFF Will Davis Trellis Grant Publisher/Editor Business Manager publisher@mymcr.net business@mymcr.net Richard Dumas ~ ~ Diane Glidewell News Editor Community Editor forsyth@mymcr,net news@mymcr.net Advertising Manager Creative Director ads@mYmcr.net graphics@rnymcr.net Official Organ of Monroe County and the City of Forsyth 50 N. Jackson St Forsyth, GA 31029 Periodicals Postage Paid at Forsyth, GA 31029- POSTMASTER: Send address changes to: THE MONROE COUNTY REPORTER P.O. Box 795, Forsyth, GA 31029 SUBSCRIPTION RATE: In County: $35 Out of County: $48 Single Copy: $1 Deadlines noon on Friday prior to issue. Commenls featured on opinion pages are the ~eation of the writers, the do not necessarily reflect the opinions of The Reporter management Publication No. USPS 997-840 PEACH STATE POLITICS by Kyle Winofield e Aguy from Blue Ridge, a guy from Dawsonville, a guy from East Cobb, woman from Johns reek and a woman from Dacula walk into a bar-- I mean, a press briefing- to talk about a bill. They're all Republicans. Care to guess what the bill's about? ff you guessed "expanding mass transit," you deserve an extra cookie for dessert. And a trip down memory lane to recall just how radical this scene would have been even a few years ago. Back in 2010, as lawmakers crafted the measure creat- ing the ill-fated (in most parts of Georgia) T-SPLOST referen- dum, '"cransiC might have been as much of a taboo among con- servatives as ' mxes." That bill passed with only grudging acceptance that the metro Atlanta region might try to build some tran- sit projects. Five years later, a bill to pump $1 billion more each year into transportation infrastructure included an unprecedented, yet still relatively small, $75 million in bonds for transit. So the aforementioned group this past week- House Speaker David Ralston and transportation Chairman Kevin Tanner, Cobb Commissioner Bob Ott, Fulton Commissioner Liz Hausmann, and Gwinnett Commission Chair Charlotte Nash- broke real ground.in the way the state approaches transit as a mode of ta~ansportation. Tanner's bill, HB 930, is the prod- uct of that long evolution from 2010 and much earlier. (A similar bill by his counterpart in the Senate, Sen. Brandon Beach, will also figure heavily into the discussion.) There is not a transformative amount of money connected to the bill, although that could change. But both Tanner and Beach aim to create a regional board to coordinate and connect the 11 separate systems currently serv- ing 13 metro Atlanta counties, as well as plan- ning expansions of the network they loosely compose. Tanner's bill in particu- lar gives the 10 counties not served by MARTA additional options for funding and building transit routes; while leaving MARTA intact. It's designed to give counties more flexibility in whether and how they handle transit. Given how distant a possibil- ity this seemed within this very decade, what changed? There are several answers, from worsening congestion to shifting public opinion, But four factors stand out. First are the changes at MARTA under its board chairman, Robbie Ashe, and recently departed CEO, Keith Parker. MARTA no longer bleeds money each year. That, along" with the agency's efforts to rein in what Parker called '2muckleheads" who detracted from other riders' experience, gave it and transit more generally a better standing in legis- lators' eyes. Second is demand from business. Nothing has driven the Deal admin- istration and the General Assembly more than economic development, and prospects for relocations or expansions have made it clear the)) want more transportation options for their employees. Third is a shift in emphasis away from heavy rail and toward options such as bus rapid transit. Given metro Atlanta's lack of density and everywhere-to-eVerywhere com- muting patterns, significant addi- tions to heavy rail is not only time- consuming but cost-prohibitive. The emergence of BRT as an alternative changed the debate. Finally, there's synergy with the state's road-building plans. BRT isn't much cheaper than rail if it involves building new, dedicated lanes. But the state's growing net- work of tolled express lanes, in which cars can pay to ride but buses can use for free, offers a plat- form for better, faster bus service. Piggybacking off those projects allows transit to expand not only cheaper but faster and further than it would otherwise, making it more attractive to policymakers. Not to mention that having roads double as transit infrastructure allows more flexibility if autonomous vehicles become as ubiquitous and transformational as forecast. Put it all together, and that's how we made the long trip from 2010 to today. Kyle Wingfield writes for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, the Monroe County Reporter and other newspapers. Reach him and read more at www.bit.ly / Kyle Wingfield. JUST THE WAY IT IS by Sloan Oliver ast week, we reviewed the history of the Vietnam War (VW). This let's review Why United States got involved in Vietnam, and some of the lessons learned. Looking back, 50 years later, most would agree that our involvement in the VW was a mis- take. However, like any historical event, the VW cannot be viewed in isolation. It must be put into the context of its time, and of the larger geo- political picture. EVERY WORLD leader in the 1950's and '60's well OLIVER remembered the hor- rors of World War II - the deadliest and most terrible war in history. However, in the decades that followed, evil still existed in the form of the Soviet Union and communist China. As the 1944-45 Soviet Army defeated the Nazis and advanced west across Eastern Europe, they occu- pied country after country - and never left. Eastern Europe came under a harsh form of Soviet communism. Tens of millions of people were imprisoned behind what Churchill called "an Iron Curtain." Gulags and re-education camps were established for those brave (or foolish) enough to resist the Soviets. There was no escape. The "domino theory" was used to explain how if one country became communist, so too would its neigh- bor, and the next, and so on. THE DOMINANT geo-political factor in the world, from 1945 to 1991, was the Cold War and the ever present threat posed by the Soviet Union. The war in Southeast Asia was a side show to the main event. Yes, tens of thousands of soldiers were dying in the jungles of Vietnam but tens of millions could die if "the main event" ever erupted into war. Communism was on the advance and most Western Nations thought that the Soviets and China must be confronted wherev- er they threatened freedom. Most realized that Eastern Europe was lost to communism but elsewhere it must be challenged. It was feared that the Soviets and China would do to Southeast Asia what they had done to North Korea. The Domino Theory was playing out. So, in 1954, when the French pulled out of Vietnam, President Eisenhowei thought that if a few hundred advisers and some military equipment could pre- vent another country from falling under communist rule, well, that was a price worth paying SO, ADVISERS were sent to Vietnam, and the stage was set. The wisdom of sending advisers was confirmed when the Soviets brutally put down the Hungarian Revolution of 1956. The fear of Soviet domina- tion was very real, especially after the Soviet Union launched Sputnik, the first satel- lite in orbit, and after they put the first man into space. Fear of Soviet domination was further confirmed when they tried moving missiles into Cuba in 1962. Not surprising, in the 1950's and early '60's most Americans remembered WWII and demanded that communism be confronted on all fronts - especially when com- munists tried to conquer a coun- try. All of these events were fac- tors that played into the decisions to get involved in Vietnam. AFTER ANY war, there are always lessons learned. The first lesson learned from Vietnam is that the fighting mefi and women were not to blame for the war. That seems obvious now, but that wasn't the case back then. Y'letnam War protesters, angry at politicians, took out their anger on the military. Returning soldiers were spat upon, called '%aby kill- ers", and labeled as psychos and drug addicts. All of these false labels were hurled at soldiers by cowardly protesters and a dishon- est media. The soldiers who fought in V'mtnam displayed courage and bravery that stand them well with any generation of American fight- ing men. They won every battle and displayed remarkable cour- age doing so. Despite the turmoil back home, the soldiers kept their' morale high and their faith in the , greatness of America. ANOTHER LESSON learned from Vietnam was how to fight a war or, more correctly, how not to fight a war. The VW was micro- managed rom the White House. Kennedy, Johnson, and Nixon all decided to fight a 'q imited war" that handcuffed the U.S. military. Generals had to get permission to bomb North Vietnam or to chase fleeing NVA soldiers into neighbor- ing countries. The military was not allowed to "take the fighf' to the enemy, in that the military was not allowed to invade North Vietnam. Imagine the difficulty of wirining our Civil War if Lincoln had prevented Generals Grant and Sherman from invading the South. The South would have won. Well, no surprise that we lost the Vietnam War partly because the military was not allowed to invade North Vietnam. In future wars, we must fight to win. Give the generals a clear mission, and the men and resources required. Then, get the ' han ' out of the way and our military will defeat the enemy. PERHAPS THE largest casu- alty of the war was, and continues to be, the federal government. Prior to the VW most people believed the government and what the government told us. The Tet Offensive and the release of the Pentagon Papers confirmed that the federal government had been lying for decades. We're still feel- ing the effects of those lies and still being lied to. ONE OUTCOME of the VW has been the all-volunteer military (AVM). The AVM has served us well for 45 years, largely because military engagements and wars, since Vietnam, have been rela- tively small. The downside of the AVM is that only a small percent- age of Americans ever serve in the military. In many parts of the country, there is a huge discon- nect between those who serve and those who don't, with many people not knowing a single person who has ever served in the military This disconnect was highlighted recently by the comments of California Democrat, Gregory Salcido who called the military, "lowest of the low" and '%unch of dumb s ." Salcido's comments were despicable but not surpris- ing when one considers the overall attitude of American leftists, and many Democrats, towards the military, the flag, and the National Anthem. WEEKLY Quote: Vietnam veterans, '"thank you for your service." I'd love to hear some of your Vietnam stories and lessons learned. Please email. Sloan Oliver is a retired Army officer. He lives in Bolit gbroke with his wife Sandra. Email at sloanoliver@earthlink, net.