October 23, 2020

You must be a hero

2 May 2014

WASHINGTON MERRY-GO-ROUND
Today’s Events in Historical Perspective
America’s Longest-Running Column, Founded 1932
By Douglas Cohn and Eleanor Clift

WASHINGTON – “Eternal vigilance is the price of liberty,” a phrase said or written in various forms by numerous people in the 18th and 19th centuries, should today also stand in altered form as, “Eternal vigilance is the price of safety.” Two wonderful stories confirm the point and tell us much more.

Are you one of the sheep or are you a hero? Chelsie Shellas is a hero in Wacsea, Minn. Bettye Windom and her sister Beth Insley are heroes in Port Gibson, Miss. Had they been among the sheep, today we would be grieving over two preventable tragedies. Only their vigilance saved the day.

Chelsie happened to notice a 17-year-old crossing her yard in a suspicious manner and she quickly called 911. Almost as quickly, police arrived and found John David LaDue in a storage unit filled with weapons, explosives, and plans. He was going to kill his parents and an unknown number of students and teachers at his high school in an apparent attempt to emulate the infamous 1999 high school massacre in Columbine, Colo. Only Chelsie’s vigilance stopped him.

Bettye and Beth were driving behind a school bus on Highway 28 in Copiah County, Minn., when they noticed smoke, but no flames, beginning to billow from beneath the bus. They honked, flashed their lights, and finally sped in front of the bus and braked to a stop. Neither the bus driver nor the three chaperones or 22 students on board were aware there was a problem. But Bettye and Beth, both vigilant and persistent warned them and scurried them to safety, just moments before the bus exploded in flames.

There have always been terrorists, disgruntled teenagers, and mentally disturbed people, but today they have automatic weapons, sophisticated explosives, and electronic devices capable of detonating them. With their ability to create mayhem and mass casualties, the world is becoming increasingly dangerous, which means our old manner of daily living, relying upon police and a few safety-conscious people for protection, is no longer enough. Today, these problems are everyone’s problems.

We are already warned by authorities to be mindful of suspicious behavior in airports, but how many people are equally mindful of their own backyards as Chelsie was or of a school bus on a street billowing a little smoke as Bettye and Beth were? The fact is that people from all walks of life need to adjust their thinking. Teachers need to watch for the disenchanted loners. Office workers need to be cognizant of the disgruntled people among them. We can no longer walk down the sidewalk or drive down the street blissfully unaware of our surroundings. Had Chelsea, Bettye, and Beth done so, dozens of young lives would have been lost.

And we must remember that the best anti-terrorist, anti-crime tool we have is the cellphone. Almost everyone has 911 in their grasp, and no one has the luxury of noninvolvement. We are all involved.

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© 2014 U.S. News Syndicate, Inc.

Distributed by U.S. News Syndicate, Inc.

END WASHINGTON MERRY-GO-ROUND

 

1 thought on “You must be a hero

  1. Your report on the Greece, NY case demonstrates your bias. Senator Moynahan taught us the we are all entitled to our own opinion, but not to our own facts. The officials in Greece solicited benedictions from those who were listed in the local yellow pages and offered the podium to any who wished to participate. They formulated a list from those who agreed to participate. They did not prepare or edit the benedictions. The Establishment Clause does not prohibit prayer in public places. The founders concern was that the state might impose a state religion – Anglicanism in particular, as had been the threat of George III. You arrogate to yourselves the thoughts of those who supported the opening prayers and unilaterally decided that the supporters would not either support or permit “someone else’s prayer”. HUBRIS!
    You then chastise the religious right for its stand against the abortion and contraception mandates of ACA, while earlier preaching about separation of church and state. The wall of separation is an out of context quite from Jefferson, not constitutional text. “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof;” is constitutional text. Mandating that people violate their religious beliefs in order to comply with federal law is a clear and unequivocal prohibition of the free exercise of religion. You may not like that constitutional fact and when the court decides, NARROWLY that ACA violates the First amendment, I am certain you will complain about Justice Kennedy, because he sides with the majority with you disagree. Curious that 5 -4 decisions that run against liberals is a narrow decision, but a 5 – 4 decision that supports a liberal position not only praises Kennedy for his wisdom, but trumpets the law of the land.

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