Last Word, Feb. 17

Shooting in Florida

To all those who write in demanding rights to carry in schools, churches and other public places: do you also demand similar rights for convicted criminals, the mentally ill and those with restraining orders? Should they be allowed to build up arsenals of assault weapons? Anyone who votes for people supporting such rights is complicit. It's time to stop this madness.

With the death of the 17 schoolchildren in Florida by an expelled student with a rifle, it is time to outlaw the owning of rifles and added long magazines. The NRA can no longer justify anyone owning this weapon. A legal suit also should be filed against the principal, school superintendent and board members for failing to provide adequate security to protect students while in school. Look at what you go through when attending games in college and pro sports. Losing a child stays with you forever. Let your representatives and senators in Congress know about this.

Yet another school shooting, this time in Florida. Wait, this being a school, wasn’t it declared a “Gun Free Zone”? Didn’t the shooter know this and decide not to do it? Time to wake up and do away with “Gun Free Zones” and allow those teachers to protect themselves and their students by carrying concealed.

Everyone has an opinion of what to do about these shootings. Here is mine. I'm a Republican, but I believe any and all automatic rifles should be prohibited from everyone except the military. This is a no brainer. There is absolutely no excuse for Congress not to legislate this. I also believe the only way to prevent a person for whom you have many clues and reports of disturbing behavior provided to officials and law enforcement, is to infringe on his/her right to free speech or the First Amendment. No one is willing to fight this.

Aren't we done yet with mass shootings? Aren't we able to stand up to the gun lobby? Can't we at least reinstate the lapsed ban on assault weapons? More hearts, families, lives are broken — on Valentine's Day. And Congressman Rob Wittman talked about "heart health" in his message to constituents on that very day, when what we really need is legislative attention to protect us from being shot at in public places. It's preposterous to think that arming teachers in the Florida school (as gun advocates would have it) would have stopped this young shooter. However, legislative action on military-style weapons is at least a step. It’s time stand tall and raise our voices.

How many students have to be killed before we put reasonable restrictions on guns? It is disconcerting to see people openly carrying guns when you go to the grocery store.

Yet another mass shooting yesterday, again with an assault-style rifle. I could say this nearly every day and be correct. And we do nothing about it. As a patriotic American, I am ashamed of how our stupid our country looks to the rest of the civilized world. If our president were as able to make America great again, as he says, he would lead in actions to fix this. But taking on the NRA and leading to a fix would be far above his abilities, so he will just stick to his tweets. As it is, we certainly do not look great.

Forty-five days into the new year and today in Miami, Florida, we had the 12th mass shooting in a public school in America. That is more than one every three school days. The response from the Republican leadership will be as it has been in every other murderous event, "let us pray." Prayer without sweat is nothing but noise. Hold your representatives at all levels responsible. If America follows the NRA and allows teachers to be armed, the next slaughter will be even worse because without hundreds of hours of intense weapon training, armed teachers will cause more carnage. Ask any combat veteran how they reacted the first time they were fired upon, and most will tell you none of their training prepared them for the fear and confusion of combat.

I don't even have to wait for the NRA and their supporters to say it's too early to talk about gun control. Too bad it's too late for 17 dead children at Parkland High School.

Congressman Taylor, I know you consider yourself a pretty tough cookie, so please stand up and become the leader I hope you want to be. Apparently more than 90 percent of Americans want sensible national universal background checks for gun sales plus no loop holes to avoid those checks. This includes a strong majority of NRA members. These are very safe voter margins for you. These checks would not be the complete answer to our national school shooting scandal but it is something on which a majority agree, and it would be a big help. Won’t you become a congressional leader and help save the lives of America’s youths who are being gunned down in their own schools?

I feel totally unprotected and helpless while taking adult classes at the College of William and Mary, as it’s against school policy to carry my permitted concealed handgun. If a shooter was to enter a classroom, how long do you think it would take a police officer to arrive? Surely not in time to save lives.

Secret cupid

To the secret cupid who on Valentine's Day put a gift bag of chocolates in the bottom of mailboxes on Arthur Hills Drive in Colonial Heritage, thank you so much for your act of kindness. It made my day.

Tourism sales tax

I am 67 and have voted Republican all of my life. If Mr. Norment insists on pushing through a tax increase for the Williamsburg area, I will do everything I can to support a Democrat and elect a Democrat to remove him from office. It is time for Mr. Norment’s term limits to take effect. I’m already paying an increased transportation tax to pay for Norfolk’s light rail and midtown tunnel expansion. Don’t be fooled into thinking the transportation tax is widening I-64. That is a different pool of money altogether. Now you want me to pay for tourists to use my hometown? I don’t think so. Let them pay their own way. Travel and see some of the tax rates charged for hotel rooms and other services. The local residents don’t pay for tourism. The users/tourists pay it.

Hungry birds

It has been a while since many wrote about the missing birds at their backyard feeders. Just letting you know they were all at my house all winter. I've had to add feed daily all winter.

Great performance

I went to the Williamsburg Players’ production of “Lucky Stiff” last weekend and it’s the best show I’ve seen there. If you like to laugh, want to hear some spectacular singing and see a creative production, get there before it’s gone. What an amazing, talented cast. The Players have really upped their game with “Lucky Stiff,” and I look forward to more of the same in the future.

Minimum wage

There seems to be some bad information floating around regarding tipping employees in the food service industry. We own a restaurant in Williamsburg, and the law requires us to pay our tipped employees at least minimum wage. In other words, if the employees’ hourly wage plus tips does not equal $7.25 per hour for each hour worked in the pay period, we are required to pay the difference. This includes bussers. If your employer is not meeting this requirement, it should be reported. You should be paid back wages and you should demand they do so moving forward. Our servers and bussers typically earn well above minimum wage; however, there have been instances when they do not, and we are happy to make up the difference. We all have bills to pay.

I agree with the caller that would like the minimum wage for bussers. Because if you’re making minimum wage, the waitresses don’t have to tip you as much during the winter when it’s very slow. So the bussers should get minimum wage all year long.

Road worries

When is the intersection of Airport Road and Mooretown Road going to be expanded? There’s constant traffic backup over the railroad track. It looks like they cleared for a turning lane on one side, but never did anything. This intersection desperately needs right and left designated turning lanes and then a straight through. Please take a look.

Tax-cut bonus

I'm happy for the woman whose daughter got a bonus that will pay two months of her car loan. The problem is mortgage rates have now risen as a result of Trump's tax cut, costing a new home buyer $2,000 more a year on an average-priced home and the next car loan this woman takes out will be higher as well.

I'm glad to hear about the single mom who is getting a bonus from Home Depot thanks to the recent tax package. I'm sure CEO Craig Menear is also enjoying his compensation, which amounted to $11.5 million in 2016. And while mom's one-time bonus and short-term tax breaks are great, Mr. Menear's pay increase and stock profits will be permanent. Let's check back and see how both are doing when the multi-trillion dollar tax scam reality hits in a couple of years.

Well done!

Just want to recognize the various companies who put down new pipes in the Carver Garden neighborhood. I miss all the panels of each truck going up and down the different streets. Our neighborhood is always quiet and trucks made it seem like something was going on. And it was. Each morning it was so cold, and the workers did their job like it was a hot summer day. They did an excellent job. Thanks from the lady on Drew Road.

Thank you for paying my way at McDonald’s last Tuesday. You made my day! I plan on sharing the joy.

On Feb.10, I was invited to a Sweetheart Breakfast at St. John’s Baptist Church on Penniman Road. It was the best occasion ever looking forward to Valentine’s Day. The men decorated the dining area so beautifully. They even served the breakfast. The meal was so delicious and tasty. The music was great and the gentleman who was the soloist sung his heart out. I can still hear him. It was a very fun morning and everyone was so happy. The men really made all the women feel like sweethearts. It was a joy to have met Pastor Hudson. Thank you.

Looking for …

What can be done with a lovely, solid ash baby crib with the sliding side? We would like to give it away, but so far no one will take it. Tried a consignment store, Goodwill, with no luck or advice. Can anyone help?

Looking for someone to do pillows for a porch. Thank you.

Does anyone where Dr. Wozniak has moved her practice from Olde Towne Medical in Williamsburg? Thank you.

This is concerning two items that were lost and found in the Williamsburg area on Valentine’s Day, Feb. 14. One is a disc recording found in the Golden Corral parking lot in the evening. If you can call and identify the title, I can tell you where to find it. The second is a gift card that was lost by someone on Merrimac Trail. I called the company and they said there was some credit left on it. So, if you call and identify the gift card, I can tell you where you can get it. 757-229-1613. I will be glad to return the lost items to the rightful owners.

Political cartoon

I wanted to comment about the Retired in Williamsburg cartoon that talked about sermons becoming so political. If anyone has read and studied the Bible, they would know it is very political. And even then we were fighting Muslims versus Christianity, and because some Jews were fighting more liberal Jews and the politics of who — do you follow this ruler’s laws or do you follow God’s laws. The Bible is very political. So Fred Siegel just maybe needs to study it from beginning to end and see that things really aren’t getting more political, they’ve always been that way in the Bible.

“Retired in Williamsburg.” As a member of a church that was started in the 1600s, Mr. Siegel is well aware that, historically, the church and government were intertwined. Rectors used scripture to help clarify everyday life. This is still true. However, today’s life is overflowing with politics more than ever, which may be why we need to hear more about it from the pulpit. Just saying ...

Recommended

Just wanted to commend Grace at Barber & Beauty of Williamsburg. For the very reasonable price of $12, you get a haircut — both men and women — shampoo, hot towel and shoulder massage. Also, Grace will give you a card that she punches. After five haircuts, you get a free one. Grace is at 1313 N. Mt. Vernon Ave. in Williamsburg, 253-208-2764. Thank you, Grace. My haircut is great.

I highly recommend All Smiles Roof Cleaning and House Washing for stunning improvement to roof cleaning/house washing. The person’s name to contact is William Allen and the phone number is 757-634-0112. Thank you.

I would like to compliment Kelly Musselman. She’s with Sentara Home Care. She’s an RN, and you won’t find a better one anywhere. She is really terrific and has a pleasant personality with it, and very knowledgeable. Thank you.

If you’re in need of or have been searching for a dog trainer, I highly recommend Ken Keller of K-9 Obedience on Command at 757-240-6652. My dog and I have worked with Ken and have achieved superb results. Ken’s excellent dog-training skills are matched only by his people-training skills, because the really good trainer needs both. He uses science-based, positive training — positive reinforcement and lots of it. Whether your dog has behavioral issues or just needs obedience training, I hope you will give Ken a call to see how he can help both of you. In working with Ken, I’ve learned that an obedient, well-adjusted dog makes for a happy dog and, yes, an even happier dog owner.

Public outcry?

Where are the Black Lives Matters group when the black Indianapolis football player Jackson got killed and there’s no hullabaloo over it? This is kind of discriminatory, isn’t it? The guy was actually an illegal alien who had been in the country twice before and got deported. Is this hypocrisy?

Up in Washington

What were the chances that Gov. Ralph Northam would go to Trump and beg for money for the ports? We’re only in February. That was 100%. Of course, we have to dredge. Of course, we have to improve our ports. We could be one of the greatest ports in the world. I couldn’t agree more. He’s right, but it’s interesting how he ran on the ticket that he wasn’t going to work with President Trump on anything. Am I thrilled we have Northam? No, but at least he has the brains to figure out that he has to do something about the ports, and he’s going to have to go and kowtow and humble himself before the president of the United States and present a plan. Why wasn’t it dredged before this? I’m sure with President Trump in, we will get the dredging done and we will get things where they need to be so that Virginia can prosper.

After reading the comments in Saturday's Gazette, under the State of the Union banner, I pose the following question: Nowhere in the Constitution does it require the president to tell the truth in the State of the Union address. We just assume that he or she does. Nowhere in the Constitution does it prohibit a member of Congress from calling the president a liar in order to disagree with what is heard. So the question becomes: Who was correct, the president or the congressman?

I'd say “The Swamp” is overflowing and the White House is sinking and may need repainting.

Trump tweeted last Friday morning that due to a Democratic filibuster in the Senate, Republicans “were forced to increase spending on things we do not like or want in order to finally, after many years of depletion, take care of our military.” Please, the man doesn’t even know that it was Republican Sen. Rand Paul (Kentucky) conducting the Friday morning filibuster.

On behalf of the American people, I would like to thank Paul Ryan and Mitch McConnell. Between the Trump tax break for the rich and the two-year budget the Republicans recently passed, they have added over $3.5 trillion to the national debt. So much for fiscal responsibility.

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