Think first, to find

path to compromise

Editor, Times-Dispatch:

Once again the Sunday Commentary page was full of absolutes about gun violence. “The only answer is this...” and “Why do people think that?” and so on.

The gun issue, along with abortion and immigration, is on a growing list of national issues that are part rational and part irrational (emotional). We, led by our political leaders’ words and actions, act as if the issue only has a rational aspect and ignore the irrational, while our leaders use emotion to scare us into sending them money, electing them again and so on.

Let me make one suggestion before we all try to do something good: Think first.

The emotion on each side of this issue is fear. It is the same fear in each person on each side, even though the reasons for it differ.

The good each us tries to do can easily look offensive to the other side and their actions to us.

Let’s pretend for just a moment that our leaders pushing hard on these issues, left and right, benefit from a divided populous.

Taking one more logical step, let’s suppose the only way through is to find compromise, so we can ease the fear on all sides and begin to find rational solutions to eliminate the source of our fears.

Stephen Mandas.



a natural instinct

Editor, Times-Dispatch:

Self-protection is inexorably ingrained by nature into every living thing. It is the first law of nature for all life. Life cannot exist without it. An animal or human seeks out food and shelter to protect its life. In nature, animals constantly watch to avoid predators and are gifted with the fight-or-flight response if threatened.

In human society, the greatest threat to an individual, other than sickness or accidental injury, is his or her fellow humans.

Nature has provided humans with the choice to deal equitably with their fellows or prey upon them.

Unfortunately, some humans decide to prey, which means their prey must have a means of defense.

Even in today’s society the means of self-protection is still necessary.

Such protection must be at least as adequate as the weapons used by the predator. This means the use of firearms of equal power.

If law-abiding people are to maintain some semblance of peace and security, the right to be equally armed is a necessity and will remain so as long as humans have choice.

William H. Ballard Jr.

Colonial Heights.

Pay raise proposal earns

kudos from retired teacher

Editor, Times-Dispatch:

As a retired teacher, I was glad to learn about Virginia House Speaker Kirk Cox’s recent announcement concerning teacher pay in Virginia. During his remarks, Cox, R-Colonial Heights, committed to working with the members of both parties to bring Virginia’s teacher pay up to the national average. Currently, teachers in Virginia are paid less than those in many other states. Cox’s actions will help attract and retain well-qualified teachers for our classrooms.

Cox is committed to a strong K-12 education system in Virginia.

His hard work has resulted in a reduced number of SOL tests, four teacher pay raises in six years, and dozens of new school safety initiative.

Likewise, Cox has long supported state lottery money going back to school divisions, without strings attached, so that local school boards can decide what is best for their communities.

I am excited to vote for Cox in November because of his continued support for teachers and public education.

Sharon Mullaney.

Colonial Heights.

Proposed landfill causes

a stink in Cumberland

Editor, Times-Dispatch:

The commonwealth is now part of the Million Ton Club.

What is the Million Ton Club? Well, it’s an exclusive club in which a municipal solid waste (MSW) facility accepts more than 1 million tons of MSW each year.

Virginia has three landfills with that distinction, in King George, Waverly and Chester. In addition, the proposed 1,200-acre mega-landfill in Cumberland County could be the fourth.

As states in the Northeast phase out new landfill permits or expansions, the waste generated there continues. The waste is shipped to states such as Virginia, Pennsylvania and Ohio.

Each of these states has sparsely populated regions that can avoid the harshest “not in my backyard” confrontations, allowing for larger daily permit sizes than can typically be granted anywhere in New England or other smaller states.

With this in mind, of the roughly two dozen million-ton landfills identified, Ohio, Michigan, Virginia and Georgia join California as the states with more than one site that qualifies.

Waste is big business in Virginia. These waste companies promise substantial revenues to the counties and municipalities. Sometimes our elected officials don’t see past the dollar signs.

When the Cumberland County Board of Supervisors approved a proposed landfill in 2018, Kevin Ingle, the chairman of the board, commented: “It’s just really, really hard to turn down a business that’s offering the kind of money flow they are.”

Let’s keep our slogan “Virginia is for Lovers,” not “Virginia is for Landfills.”

Ralph Mullins.


Reader believes

SOL tests are ‘useless’

Editor, Times-Dispatch:

In a recent front-page story, the RTD reported that because of irregularities in SOL test administration at Richmond’s Carver Elementary School, the test scores have been rendered “useless.”

I would submit that all SOL tests are useless and thus so are all scores.

Burwell Robinson.


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