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Voice of the people

Dec. 26, 2012 @ 10:10 PM

U.S. not prepared for mass disasters

We were shocked by the destruction caused by Hurricane Sandy. But are there agencies in charge of evacuating large number of people out of harm's way; helping people get their lives back together in the aftermath; or rebuilding damaged homes? Unfortunately there are no such agencies in the U.S. People are left on their own. Protecting people's lives and livelihoods are second fiddle to corporate profits.

New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg says it would be too expensive to bury power lines underground. Such a project would cost $10 million dollars. But Mayor Bloomberg is worth $20 million. So, Mayor Bloomberg could easily bury the power lines in his community out of his own pocket and still have $10 million left over. That would have prevented the numerous power outages there.

In comparison, Cuba has set an example in emergency preparedness. Cuba has numerous resources in handling disasters that the United States does not have. In Cuba, the military is used to get people out of harm's way. That is far better than the U.S. military, which is used to occupy other countries and steal their resources.

Charles W. Britz

Huntington

Adding gun checks would be a start

I do not believe anyone in America can fathom how anyone could take an innocent life, let alone a whole classroom of innocent children and teachers. I believe many are looking at the gun issue rather than the assailant's mental situation.

I have been concerned for years that some types of medication (mood altering) drugs may be partially to blame. In almost every mass shooting incident, the assailant had mental problems and was believed to be not taking his medication properly or had quit taking it.

I shared the concerns with our elected West Virginia delegation in Washington right after the Virginia Tech shooting, and I faxed a similar letter to our delegation on Dec. 12. In this letter, which was prior to the recent school shooting, I again asked the Congressional delegation to establish a task force to see if there was a common drug or combination of drugs that were used or had been used by each assailant. I also asked that a new computer information center be established that deals with individuals who take certain mood altering drugs. This way the FBI could not only run a criminal history check but also a mental history check before a person is sold a firearm. In the recent school shooting, neither check would have been effective. I do not know what the answer is in every situation, but the two checks would be a start.

I know some in the medical community will find this an invasion of privacy, but I am trying to be objective and see the safest and most efficient means possible.

May we all continue to pray for those affected by the recent shooting -- and that our WV delegation will be the leaders seeking a balanced approach in finding a cause and a cure for this evil.

Charles R. "Chad" Shaffer

Kenova

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