We offer this timeless piece which was first published in The New York Sun in 1897, when editor Francis Church was faced with the following letter from a little girl named Virginia O'Hanlon:
• It's sad to note that 2013 has been an "average" year when it comes to mass killings and victims in the United States. There have been 29 mass killings with a total of 147 victims, which is in line with other years since 2006. A few decades ago, nobody could have predicted such sobering figures; now, unfortunately, we Americans live with the threat of such violence on a daily basis.
A Greenville legislator has pre-filed a bill in the General Assembly that would prohibit motorists from driving slowly in the left lane, thus holding up traffic. It would also ban drivers from using cell phones in the left lane and would make it illegal to drive five miles per hour slower than the posted limit while in the left lane. And it would outlaw ever driving in the left lane except for passing other cars.
One of the things that Democrats in Washington have done successfully over the past couple years is planting the obstructionist label all on the Republican Party. In reality, Democrats on the far left are just as unyielding as Republicans on the far right, and there's plenty of room for blame when it comes to Congress' failure to compromise. Still, we're glad to see House Speaker John Boehner finally stand up to Tea Party-motivated members of Congress and call them out for being obstinate.
• The Chronicle-Independent offers a tip of its hat to Rigdon Boykin, Ann Bass and everyone at Kimbrell's Furniture on completing renovations to its Camden store. The $350,000 spent on the project isn't just an investment in the store, but an investment in downtown Camden. Camden Mayor Tony Scully called it a "transformational vision, showing us what's possible." We agree, hoping not only that other property owners will upgrade their buildings, but that Kimbrell's lead will entice new businesses and developers to invest in Camden as well.
Guns in schools is always a touchy subject, and of course it was newsworthy when a Camden Middle School student recently was apprehended at school with a loaded .38 caliber revolver as well as a box cutter. We have all read too many incidents of horrific school shootings across the country, so parents and other citizens are sensitive to security in schools. Local law enforcement authorities say school administrators handled the situation well and praised the school's staff, headed by principal Byron Johnson, for doing "a great job."
The state of Alabama recently took a step towards righting one of the most egregious miscarriages of justice ever perpetrated in this country, issuing posthumous pardons to three members of the "Scottsboro Boys," who were wrongly accused in 1931 of raping two white women on a train. Eight of the nine charged were swiftly convicted and sentenced to death by an all-white jury, with a mistrial being declared for the ninth, 13-year-old Roy Wright.
• A new study shows that dementia is going to be even a bigger problem than originally thought, estimating that 135 million people will have the disorder by 2050; that's a 17 percent increase above previous predictions. Dementia -- with Alzheimer's Disease being the best known type -- has stubbornly fought the best efforts of scientists to discover a cure or a way to slow the progression. These new figures are a stark reminder that for all its advances, medicine is still an inexact science.
During a turbulent year at KershawHealth, one theme has been consistent: that patient care has not deteriorated and that the hospital's staff has continued to provide high-level medical services and compassionate care for patients. That's no doubt been made more difficult by the turmoil surrounding the facility's top management and board. Now, with a new executive having been hired to run KershawHealth on a temporary basis, it's time to focus on returning the hospital to profitability and "settling things down."
One of the many problems in politics today is that many elected officials begin to believe they are smarter than the electorate and feel they should be able to make decisions that contravene public attitudes. They justify this, of course, in a myriad of ways. The recent resignation of a Colorado state senator is the ultimate in arrogance when it comes to ignoring the voters and trying to circumvent the will of the people.
• We note with sadness the death of Kershaw County Deputy Sheriff Rob Evans, who collapsed and died as he was directing traffic at Wateree Elementary School; he had served as a school resource officer in Lugoff for seven years and was active in a wide variety of school and community functions. Evans, 50, was well liked and did a good job of establishing rapport between his department and young children.
There won't be many people in Kershaw County who'll be neutral about the South Carolina-Clemson game Saturday, as both teams come into the rivalry ranked in the nation's Top 10. It should be a great contest, with the entire nation watching. South Carolina Coach Steve Spurrier and Clemson Coach Dabo Swinney have been unusually complimentary of each other in the days leading up to the game, with both of them talking about how much they respect the other. In the past, there have been sharp words between the two, but everyone knows that part of that has ...
The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) last week said it would lift its ban on cellphone conversations on airliners, but the ruling doesn't mean that non-stop jabbering will automatically be permitted; rather, it simply allows the airline companies to decide whether they want to sanction cellphone use or not. In doing so, the FCC finally acknowledged what most experts have preached for years: that the use of electronic devices doesn't actually interfere with a plane's communications and controls systems. There will no doubt be lots of passengers happy that they don't have to turn off their iPads ...
• If you're planning to visit family members in another area of the country and dread facing huge crowds in airports during Thanksgiving, consider this: within a decade, 24 of the busiest 30 airports in the nation will become as congested twice each week as they are on the Wednesday before Thanksgiving. That's the prediction from a travel-industry study, and Charlotte's Douglas International Airport is among those included. So if you're flying next week, console yourself with the fact that soon, the bedlam you're facing will be an everyday affair.
If you don't believe that politics changes in a heartbeat, you need look back no further than the past few decades, when pundits and prognosticators predicted with certainty that one political party or the other had died, never again to be resurrected.
Kershaw County Council was scheduled last night to hold first reading on an ordinance which would allow Sunday alcohol sales in the county. Both the towns of Camden and Elgin have in past years changed their laws to allow Sunday sales, and businesses in unincorporated areas are now left at a disadvantage in not being able to match those sales.
• As the C-I continues to report on the Briana Rabon murder, there is a lot of speculation about how she and her accused killer, Stephen Ross Kelly, knew each other. Officials have, so far, only said that they both attended Lugoff-Elgin High School and were acquaintances, but not involved in a romantic relationship. Rumors abound, however, which we always check out but rarely get confirmation for publication. That's fine. Frankly, it's best that rumors stay out of the newspaper as we let the investigative and judicial processes take whatever time is needed to bring justice for Briana and ...
The last couple weeks have brought astounding new developments in treatment of babies born with AIDS, raising for the first time the hope that perhaps a treatment has been found that will eradicate the disease in newborns who are born to mothers infected by the HIV virus. The first such case was reported last year, but there was skepticism among many in the scientific community. Earlier this week, a second similar case was reported. The first child, dubbed the "Mississippi baby," is now 3 years old and still virus-free; the second one shows no signs of HIV nine months after ...
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